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The Statesman Vintage Car Rally: John Morris wins heart

Junaid Kathju/SNS | New Delhi |

A dazzling red hot body with some glittering gold parts, John Morris 1914 fire engine, was the centre of attraction at the 51st Statesman Vintage and Classic and Car Rally (VCCR) on Sunday.

Known for its eloquent looks, the fire engine currently displayed at the National Rail Museum caught everyone's attention. And maintaining its record, the fire engine won the trophy in the oldest vehicle category.

Women, children, elders were seen taking pictures with the vintage fire engine.

"It is a great experience to see this machine. I have never seen a fire engine like this before," Sameer, a vintage car enthusiast said.

The centenarian vintage fire engine was manufactured in 1914 by famous fire engineers John Morris and Sons Limited, Salford, Manchester. The fire engine happens to be one of the two earliest such machines known to exist in the world. The other one of the two now rests in England.

Uday Singh Mina, Director, National Rail Museum, said that the machine is still intact with all the original parts and in working conditions.

"All its gears are fully functional and it can still douse the fire," Mr Mina said.

Mr Mina said after 46 years of service in railways, John Morris was phased out in 1960. It was Yashpal Gupta, a former railway officer, who again restored its glory in 1981.

Mr Gupta talking with the Statesman said that it took him great efforts to restore the fire engine.

"It was in a dilapidated condition when I overtook it for restoration. I had to call people in England to get its original parts to make it work again," he said.

Belonging to the erstwhile Nizam State Railway, the vintage fire engine can deliver 500 gallons of water per minute and has four cylinder motor fire engine with 80 horsepower under its hood. It can attain a top speed of 40 miles per hour.

"It is the treasure of our country and needs to be looked after for future," Mr Gupta added.