Vintage and classic beauties are all set to zip past Delhi roads on Sunday, giving automobile aficionados a chance to get up, close and personal with over a hundred premium cars during the latest edition of the The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally.

The golden oldies will line up and roll out from The Statesman House on Barakhamba Road in New Delhi on February 10, marking the beginning of the 53rd edition of one of the oldest annual vintage car rallies in India. The rally will take a 46-km route from The Statesman House, crossing Delhi and passing through a belt of Noida, traversing down K G Marg, India Gate, Mathura Road, Nizamuddin Ring road, Noida Link road, Greater Noida Expressway and turning back from Amity University to reach Major Dhyan
Chand National Stadium at India Gate via Purana Qila road.

The 1914 John Morris fire engine, owned by the Rail Museum, will remain the centre of attraction. It is the first vehicle to be flagged off as usual. The vehicles will be rolled out in order of age, with the oldest cars flagged off first to be followed by their younger counterparts along with a band that will play melodious tunes.

About 57 awards will be bestowed in categories such as Most Elegant Car, and Best Overall Performance etc under four sections. Vintage sections have cars manufactured up to 31 December 1939, while Classic section has beauties from 1940-56. The post-war section will see cars above 1500 CC and manufactured between 1945 and 1962, while another section “Others and 50Plus” will showcase cars made between 1940-62.

The Statesman Challenge Trophy, the CR Irani Memorial Trophy and the JMAI Trophy are among the prestigious trophies to be presented. The pre-judging of the participating vehicles to check their road-worthiness and originality among other parameters is taking place at Modern School, Barakhamba
Road. In the prejudging session, vehicles will be evaluated on the basis of age,
originality and maintenance by a team of experts headed by veteran judge R N Seth.

The scrutiny of the vehicles will continue till the evening of Saturday, 9 February. At the prejudging site, people could be seen enthusiastically enquire about the cars and their history from the owners, who not only responded to queries but also showed them the inside of the vehicles giving technical specifications of the vehicles. “Some of the vehicles are over 100 years old and require months of trials and service runs before they become suitable to be exhibited. We have to struggle to find experienced mechanics and original spares,” said one of the participants.

Vinod Gupta, a spokesperson for the event, said: “This year, more than hundred vehicles are participating in the rally. Of the cars that are likely to take part in the rally, 56 entries would be from vintage, 11 from the classic section and 19 belongs to post war section, 44 in Other & 50+ section, led by a 1914 John Morris Fire Engine owned by the Rail Museum.”

He added: “This vintage car rally is very popular among vintage vehicle owners and its popularity can be judged by the fact that we have participants from outside the city also showing their vehicles.”

Among the participants this time are a Morris-1948 and a Ford 1929 owned by Sanjay Satendra Pathak, besides a Singer Roadstar 1939 owned by Sunil Sahay. The owners are travelling from as far as Katni in MP and Muradabad in UP, respectively, for the journey.

G S Manco with Mercedes Benz 1962, Niha Khan with Willys 1951, Amarjeet Singh Sodhi with Morris Minor and Kashif Siddiqui Mercedes are coming from Chandhigarh.

“Apart from this, we also have 10 women participants. The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Club, the organiser of the rally, always looks forward to quality participation, recognize and ensure the heritage of beauties is displayed by
the ardent restorers and the owners,” said Mr Gupta.

“The motor masterpieces will cruise through the city streets where they will be assessed for originality and performance on the road section. The main attraction of the event will be the display of car for visitors at the National Stadium,” said another spokesperson, adding: “We do this in a spirit of friendly competition over some of the Delhi NCR most scenic roads, combined with delicious meals and always in an atmosphere of outstanding camaraderie.”