Retaining the original charm

Retaining the original charm

Vintage pride

Retaining the original charm

At first sight, it was the colour and the shape that caught Haji Amanulla Khan’s attention. After a closer look at the 1943 Willy, Amanulla was impressed with the way the body was built and decided to buy it. Many years later, Amanulla, now 65, admits without a second thought that among all his vintage vehicles, the Willy remains his prized possession.

However, the Willy was not Amanulla’s first purchase. He owned a 1937 Austin which he sold after a friend compelled him to do so.

“There were a lot of people who had an eye on the car and one fine day, I decided to sell it to somebody who really wanted to own it. I gave it to them because I was sure that they were just as passionate as I was about the vehicle,” he recollects.

Amanulla’s love for his fleet of old beauties is palpable when he gets down to explaining the nitty-gritty of each of them. “Everything about the Willy is original and there are several distinct features that truly set this vehicle apart,” he says. He points out that the Willy’s foremost speciality is that it is a left-hand drive and has a split wheel which enables it to run on a railway track. “These splits are still in perfect condition. It also has a siren, horn, carburetor and a wiper — all the parts are original and remain intact,” he says.

The jeep that was made in the US was extensively used during wartime. “This explains why it has a grease gun, petrol and radiator cap, first aid box and an injection kit. There was no rest for the Willy and these features helped it move around without a hitch,” adds Amanulla. Interestingly, the Willy also has an ammunition box, he informs. “I had to work with a few mechanics who were well-versed with the vehicle and some experts to get the jeep back in perfect shape. Some of the parts also had to be imported,” he adds.

There’s another 1942 Ariel with a side seat. “The bike is in perfect running condition. Some people think that only children can sit on the side seat but that’s not true, even older people can comfortably fit in there,” says Amanulla. He says that he always rides the bike in Bengaluru traffic and has never had a problem negotiating bad roads or even wading through traffic.

“We have retained the original colour and the parts have been greased to make sure it doesn’t get rusted,” he adds. He also has a 1942 Norton but what really takes the cake is the 1921 BSA in which the gears are operated by hand. “The bike does not have electrical lighting but a carbide lamp and the mechanical horn still works fine. This is a head turner and definitely one of my rare pieces,” says Amanulla, with a tinge of excitement in his voice.

Amanulla’s children too share his passion for vintage vehicles. About adding to the fleet, Amanulla says, “I haven’t ruled out the possibility of adding to the collection and will do so as and when I spot more beauties.”

(Amanulla can be reached on 9341720024)