Stoewer , the only of its kind in the world will be a prized entry at The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally 2023.
The 52nd edition of the rally will be held on January 29 at the Eastern Command Stadium.
Built in 1913 in Pomerania then in Germany the vehicle was bought by Iswarchandra Chowdhury, a Bengali zamindar of Midnapore. The car was shipped to Calcutta ( now Kolkata) by the manufacturer along with two mechanics and an engineer. The car came in eight boxes and the mechanics assembled the parts and gave the car a life at the port. Many people had suggested to Iswaschandra Chowdhury to buy Ford Model T then a popular American car of the Ford Motors but he refused on the ground that Ford would not be able to manoeuvre the village road that had existed in Bengal in those days. There was no bridge and the car had to manoeuvre a river to reach the village. This was one of the earliest cars bought by a zamindar in Midnapore.
After Iswarchandra’s death his wife Bishnupriya Chowdhurani used to travel in this car. The car was used to ferry the revolutionaries during the Quit India movement . It may be mentioned that Midnapore had produced the highest number of revolutionaries who were deported to the Cellular Jail in Andaman.
The car got grounded in early 1950s. It was restored by the late Pratap Chowdhury , well known vintage car collector and restorer. Stoewer has served four generations of the Chowdhurys. Pratap’s father Shantinath used to travel in the car with his mother. The present owner Ananda loves to drive this vehicle and take it out every Sunday when the weather is dry. He takes the car to Midnapore at least two to three times per year. His wife Moumita and daughter Adarshini are his co passengers and both of them enjoy the drive.
The wooden wheels have been replaced by iron rhims as wooden wheels are no longer available. The 1500cc , two cylinder vehicle has Acetyl in gas headlamps.
Stoewer Motor Company used to produce cars, by cycles, Quadra cycles and type writers. The factory was heavily bombarded during World War II. After the war ended Mercedes tried to restore the factory but did not do it due to huge financial involvement.
Had The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally was no there the vehicle would have been grounded long ago.