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Ladies’ day out on jeeps and Austins

Anjana | New Delhi |

It was a day to remember for five women participants at the 52nd The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally as they drove with passion to compete with their male counterparts. Three of them had participated in the Rally earlier but today was a day of glamour and gastronomy for them.

Neha Khan Siddiqui (28), the only woman to drive a 4×4 Willys (1948) Jeep, said she has been driving since she got married last year. She said, “As a token of love, my husband Kashif allowed me to drive the jeep.” Neha said it was a great experience. “It is a bit difficult to drive these vintage vehicles but the fun you get in driving these jeeps you will never  get in today’s jeeps.”

Neha, who lives in Chandigarh and came to Delhi only to participate in the Rally, said her husband has a collection of 12 antique two-wheelers and four vintage four-wheelers including a bullet-proof Mercedes, which used to be owned by Indira Gandhi’s husband Feroze Gandhi.

Two other sisters who participated in the rally believed that driving these vintage vehicles is the best thing as one can drive and enjoy the ride at the same time because the speed is manageable unlike modern cars.

Akanksha Sharma (24), who drove an Austin Chummy 1928, said this was her fourth time at the Rally. “It’s a wonderful feeling driving a vintage car. You get a lot of attention and it feels like going back to a different era,” she said.

She said she was a little nervous before driving. “While driving an Austin Chummy you have to be very focused and extra cautious as its brakes are different from modern cars.”

Her sister Aashna Sharma (21), who also took part in the rally, said it was a joyful and exhilarating experience. “I felt proud after driving the car. It was like a mission accomplished.”

It was her second stint at the Statesman rally. She drove a Fiat Balilla 1934. She said, “It is difficult to change the gears of Balilla. Moreover, there are no indicators and mirrors are only for show.”