There can perhaps never be a better platform to showcase man's deep bond with automobiles than The Statesman Vintage and Classic car Rally where emotions and passion for the ageless beauties come together for a trip into history.
The early morning chill and the coziness of the warm blankets proved to be little before the enthusiasm of the vintage car lovers and their owners who gathered at the Eastern Command Sports stadium at Fort William on Sunday.
As the clock ticked 8, the ground was virtually packed with the vintage two and four wheelers and shutterbugs trying to capture the images of the beauties who had ridden like queens on the city’s streets, decades ago.
“We have been participating in the rally for the past 25 years.We drive all the way from Chaibasa in Jharkhand to take part in the vintage rally. It takes nearly two days to get here,” said Gurmukh Singh Khokhar, whose 1933 Austin won the trophy for the longest distance driven by a car to participate in the event.
Avanti Murarka Jhunjhunwala who had driven her Austin 7 (1926) to the rally said the four-wheeler was gifted to her husband's family by the maharaja of Bikaner sometime around Partition.
“It was just a heap of metal when it was transported from Rajasthan. I had to spent a lot of money and time to make it motorable. My family have been taking part in the rally for decades and now I am in the driving seat.”
The car rally also offered the rare chance to dress up in yesteryear’s finery. “It is a perfect opportunity to travel back to time. It makes complete sense to drive while wearing the costumes that our ancestors wore,” said Supratim Basu, a classic car owner.
The rally was flagged off around 10 am by Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command at Kolkata. As the vintage cars hit the streets,people lined up along the route trying to capture a selfie with the timeless wonders,while the audience inside the stadium were enthralled by Bollywood songs.
Some of the cars also broke down while trying to cover the distance.
The prizes were distributed by Antara Kumar. Among others, The Statesman Trophy for the best overall performance of the day went to a 1934 Alvis owned by Pramod Kumar Mittal, while the trophy for the best overall performance for a classic car went to a 1961 MG-Midget owned by Samir Chaudhuri.