A 1948 American giant Blue Plymouth lovingly called Nilu by the car lovers in the city will be a star attraction of The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally 2023.
The rally will be held at the Eastern Command Stadium on Sunday January 29.
This blue Plymouth had belonged to none other than Hemanta Mukherjee.. After his great success as a music composer in Nagin, Mukherjee purchased this Plymouth. Hemant Kumar was then the most popular composer and Nagin was a super hit movie. It had established him as a top class music composer in Bombay much before he became a popular composer in Bengal.
Plymouth was his favourite car and when in Kolklata he used to drive his favourite vehicle often accompanied by his wife Bela and two children, Ritesh and Ranu. Noted poet Subhas Mukhopadhyay who was Hemanta’s classmate in Mitra Institution in Bhowanipore and his wife Gita had often travelled in the vehicle on long drives. Old south Kolkatans still remember Mukherjee driving the car, with his left hand on the steering wheel and with the right hand he was tapping the hood, may be he was humming one of his favourite songs.
Mukherjee had used the car till early 1970s. The car was huge and Mukherjee found it difficult to park the vehicle, Also, the price of fuel was going up and the 6 cylinder giant used to consume petrol much more than the Indian car. Mukherjee replaced Plymouth by a Fiat.
The car was purchased by the famous Lahiri family of Rajpur in south 24 parganas. The present owner of the car Mr SK Lahiri fonly remembered that his newly wed wife had come to the Lahiri family in the vehicle.
Mr Lahiri went abroad on assignments and the car was left in Rajpur garage. The engine of the car upto the plug were submerged in 20W engine oil and this had made the engine alive.
The car was grounded for nearly two decades. After his foreign assignments were over Mr Lahiri came back and settled in Kolkata and his dream to run the car once again.
After much persuasion he got in touch with Dhananjay babu , an old mechanic who used to look after the vehicle. The electrical part was looked after by Guno babu, a well known man in the car circuit who had his workshop opposite the Sarat Bose Road market. Mr SK Lahiri, himself an engineer did not import any part and the car has been maintained in pristine condition and the originality has been maintained.
If the car could talk then it could have told many untold stories about Hemanta Mukherjee and how the Lihiris have taken care of his 75 year old youth.