With the 51st Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally round the corner, 174 old cars are set to participate in the rally which is one of the oldest in the country. As many 14 new entrants will display their four-wheelers and two-wheelers at the rally this coming Sunday.
The rally will begin from the Eastern Commands Sports Stadium at Fort William and pass through the city streets before ending at the same place. Among the new entries, there will be a Rolls-Royce Phantom I model manufactured in 1925. Owned by Rekha Kanoria, the car is now looked after by her son Shrivardhan Kanoria for whom it has been a herculean task to restore the car over a period of seven years.
“This car was given to my father late Shashi Kumar Kanoria by my maternal grandfather late H. C. Agarwal in 1970s. The chassis was incomplete then. My father devoted a lot of time in maintaining and restoring the car. Ever since it came into my hands, I collected a lot of car parts such as rings, pistons from the UK where I was studying. It was restored by me out of mass scale fabrications. The restoration is a tribute to my father,” said Mr. Kanoria.
For Baladev Majumdar, his Ambassador is a family member. “The Ambassador has been in my family for over sixty years. Earlier then the majority of people did not have cars and this car was used by many neighbours and relatives during their weddings. After my grandfather purchased it, we travelled to many places such as Simlipal and Puri in this car. The car has travelled long distances and yet its engine has never failed,” said Mr. Majumdar who spends most of his retired life with the car.
Mr. Majumdar’s fondness for cars is shared by Dilip Kumar Jaiswal whose Desoto Diplomat was purchased in October 1964 from Delhi by his grandfather. “As a child I was very pampered and stubborn and I was only nine when he purchased it at the price of rupees 23,831 only. It was brought to Calcutta a month after it was purchased. This car is very strong and it has travelled almost all over India. Later my grandfather gifted it to me and I have kept it as if it is a new one,” said Mr. Jaiswal.
Captain P. Naha’s Austin dates back to 1938 and it was passed on to him from his father to whom the car originally belonged. “I went on many trips in this vehicle. It has been running smoothly all over these years and I recently repainted it. During its restoration, I purchased many parts from the United Kingdom,” said Mr. Naha.
Although the four-wheelers are the main attractions, the two-wheelers are not far behind. Hamza Bin Arif purchased his Lambretta three years ago from a neighbour whom he used to address as ‘uncle’. “The uncle passed away shortly after he sold the Lambretta to me and just before his death he requested me not to sell it to anyone. Although there are many cars in my family, I take special care to maintain it and I imported parts from Italy to restore it completely,” he said.