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The Statesman Vintage Car Rally: City Beautiful’s ‘head turners’ set to dazzle in Delhi 

Ranjeet Jamwal | Chandigarh |

Known as “lal car” (red-car) in Chandigarh, Amarjit Singh Sodhi’s FIAT-500 C Topolini in his own words is City Beautiful’s “head turner”.

One of the two participants  from Chandigarh, Sodhi, 71, is excited about his first-ever participation in the 52nd edition of The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally to be held on February 11 in New Delhi.

One of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its production in 1951, Sodhi bought the Topolino in 1969 from a doctor in Delhi on his sister’s recommendation for Rs 3,750. “It was off-road for three years, but I have specially got the car ready for participating in the The Statesman rally,” he said.

Being the only such car not only in Chandigarh but also in adjoining states, no surprise Sodhi receives plenty of compliments and requests from kids to elders for a selfie or photograph every time get drives it on city roads.

“I repair it myself or call a mechanic home if required. I never took this car to a workshop. I am the founder member of the Chandigarh Vintage Classic Club and I have been participating in the rallies organised by this club for ten years. But this will be my first experience in a rally in Delhi,” Sodhi said.

Another participant from Chandigarh, Baljeet Singh Manco is founding secretary, Vintage and Classic Cars Club, Chandigarh, and has been urging fellow members to participate in The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally.

Vintage rally
Baljeet Singh Manco from Chandigarh with his Mercedes (Photo: SNS)

 

“We have a small number of vintage cars in Chandigarh.  The Statesman rally sees about 130 or 140 entries and participation by up to 125 cars.  And it’s a pleasure to see these cars because people’s  curiosity about these cars has come up in the past 15-20 years. People have now have started maintaining their vehicles very well. Some of the vehicles are in absolutely fine condition,” Manco, whose 1962 Mercedes Benz will be one of the cars participating in the rally.

He said The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally was a famous event and people are aware of it as it’s being held for over 50 years now. “In Delhi rally, people from neighboring places like Kanpur, Aligarh and nearby towns also come because it has become a very prestigious event. It’s great fun as everyone gets together and we can see each others’ cars and chat around and guide each other regarding their upkeep. My bother-in-law had come for this event from Germany in 2006 and this year too he has again come specially for the event and he will be riding with me in the rally on Sunday,” Manco said.