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I had a passion for old vehicles right from childhood: Tutu Dhawan

So now It is being replaced with an electrically operated power plant under the hood.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi | Updated :


Apassionate car enthusiast and a regular participant at The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally, 74-yearold Tutu Dhawan holds more than five decades of ‘hands on’ floor shop experience in the business of automobiles. Apart from being an awardee, he is a prominent name in the automotive industry in India. Dhawan shared his views on the vintage car scenario in India and his experiences at the Statesman Vintage car rallies. Excerpts:

Q. How many vintage and classic cars do you own?

A: I consider it a bad omen counting your beauties.

Q. What kind of problems do vintage car owners face?

A: The biggest problem stems from the non use of Vintage & Classic cars. This results in jammed moving parts. The brakes either get jammed or the brake pedal just goes to the floor with no braking action at all. Sometimes the clutch plate gets stuck to the flywheel. The car pressure plate cannot move and the gears jam.

Q. What inspired you to work for vintage and classic cars?

A: Right from childhood, I had a passion for old vehicles. I could identify them from far. I still consider these objects as works of art as the automobile was designed only from a designer’s concept and point of view and no two makers had any closeness of looks and appearance. Modern vehicles have mandatory aerodynamic requirements. They have to have a streamlined design and looks.

Q. Which vintage car is your personal favourite?

A: Actually, speaking even in those days when the automobile industry was at a very nascent stage there was a lot of variety of vehicles. There were cars for personal use, outdoor adventures, leisure trips. It depended upon the occasion, so I don’t have one favourite and like to have one best suited for a particular occasion.

Q. Which cars are better, vintage/ classic or the modern ones?

A: I don’t think there is any comparison between vintage and classic cars vis a vis modern vehicles. They have very different technology, looks, comfort, safety, and entertainment. They are like different worlds!

Q. Give at least one tip for vintage and classic car owners.

A: Keep your vehicle in use. You must drive at least twice or thrice in a month to ensure the battery remains charged and the mechanicals remain well lubricated. Besides, the tyres will also not have a ‘Flat Spot’.

Q. Since when are you participating in The Statesman rally? How has been your experience as a participant?

A: I have been participating in the Statesman’s Vintage car rally right from its inception in the 1960s till date. I find it family-friendly and also the most honest fair in decisions of giving credits and prizes to participants.

Q. What do you expect out of Statesman’s car exhibition this time?

A: I am expecting some very good and well-restored vehicles.

Q. Since it is not a rally but just an exhibition this year, what do you have to say about it?

A: Oh, I feel bad about this dedicated fraternity of vintage and classic vehicle owners. They will miss their annual intoxication of a lovely drive in an old car, jalopy, with family and friends and meeting likeminded people and exchanging a lot of information and awareness of restoration and upkeep of such vehicles.

Q. The authorities are constantly talking about rising pollution. Do you think vintage cars will still exist in the future?

A: In coming times these vehicles will start becoming even bigger collector’s items and an object of desire with prices of such items being comparable to rare antiques and precious items.

Q. What is the future of modern petrol and diesel cars with electricity slowly paving the way?

A: It has taken the world almost a century to realise that a Fossil fuel-fired internal combustion engine is one of the most polluting pieces of engineering that has contributed to global warming. So now It is being replaced with an electrically operated power plant under the hood. But to my mind, even this alternative is not hundred per cent environment friendly as firstly, we will have to enhance our power supply and create more powerhouses of which ninety per cent of them are going to be coal-fired thereby contributing to air pollution plus the chemical residue of the exhausted and old batteries is highly toxic that cannot be disposed of either in water or soil or burnt in the atmosphere. This logic is very well understood by the vehicle manufacturers and they are in process of finalising the ultimate technology that will be used for the future and that is the fuel cell or the Hydrogen fired power plant in the vehicles.

Q. How many awards have you won in the last vintage car rallies?

A. (Laughs) uncountable now!

Q. What is your most favourite part of the Statesman’s car rally and exhibition?

A: The statesman vintage car rally is more than six decades old. It has been a politics-free and most fair motoring event in India. This, I think, has been its uniqueness and strong point.