Motor Vehicles of yore dating back to the early 19th century, all set to zip past Delhi roads on Sunday, giving automobile aficionados a chance to witness automobile engineering marvels of yesteryears at the 54th edition of The Statesman Vintage & Classic Car Rally.

The pre-judging of the participating vehicles to check their road-worthiness and originality among other parameters began on 21 February and continued till 4 pm 22 February at Modern School, Barakhamba Road. In the prejudging session, vehicles were evaluated on the basis of age, originality, and maintenance by a team of experts. This year, more than 100 vehicles are participating in the rally and will contest for 55 awards in categories such as Most Elegant Car, and Best Overall Performance, etc.

The idea behind this rally is that the younger generation should know how the automobile industry transformed over the years, besides giving them an opportunity to witness these beauties.

Hiten Rathore, a spokesperson for the event, said today’s youngsters and women are showing keen interest in the sports as this year we got 23 entries from first-timers and eight women participants. The rally highlights the importance of restoring vintage cars as well. The young generation is keener in restoring and driving vintage cars.

“Our experience shows that all such events have become extremely successful and popular and a matter of keen interest for all automobile owners. It also gives an opportunity to youths and motivates them for future achievements. The event is sponsored by many organizations and individuals who are hardcore automobile lovers,” he added.

Anita, an onlooker at the pre-judging, spoke to us in between admiring the cars. “It’s really nice to see such wonderful cars. It is good to see so many people are proud to own these and maintain these so well. It’s actually a treat to the eyes,” she said.

“The hobby of vintage car collection can be enjoyed at many levels. I enjoy driving it. After all, cars are meant to be driven,” said Akanksha Sharma, who won the Best Lady Driver Award last year.

The young girl, filled with zeal, is ready with her 1928 Austin 7 Chummy, fondly known as the “Baby Austin” to drive passionately at the rally.

Talking to The Statesman she said, “For the last 5 years I have been participating in The Statesman Vintage & Classic Car Rally and have won the James Arnold Trophy twice and also won the Best lady driver last year. I have also participated in the ITC drive, North Delhi Vintage & Classic Car Drive, and various other rallies/drives over the course of five years.”

“Being born into a family of car enthusiasts, I have always felt a love for Vintage cars. I and my sisters are the 4th generation in the family who now drive these vintage cars. It is a feeling of great joy and pride to drive forward my family legacy. Driving a vintage car always transports me back in time,” she added.

Speaking about the history of car and maintenance she said it has a 793cc engine and still runs on the 6V electrical system. Her grandfather, Bhola Bhai Sharma brought it from a Petrol Pump in Delhi where it was a complete car lying for many years but not in working condition.

“It took my grandfather six months to restore it in our family workshop Krishna Motor and put it on road. In 1992 it participated for the first time at The Statesman Vintage & Classic Car Rally. It even won the iconic Bharatpur Trophy. My dad has driven the Austin Chummy to Jaipur, Agra, and Shimla for various rallies. It had won a special VCCP trophy by the Vintage Car Club of Pakistan for completing its uphill drive to Shimla.”

“The only distressing point is that we always struggle to find original spares as the spare parts are not easily available,” said Akanksha. But expressing her excitement, Akanksha said, “I drove a vintage car and it’s a thrilling experience. We will really be happy if more girls come forward as this is the time where you can actually explore yourself in a unique way.”