Modern-day automobiles took a back seat, so to speak, as vintage-era cars and motorcycles ruled the streets of Kolkata for a few golden hours on Sunday morning as The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally celebrated its Golden Jubilee.
A total of 191 participants were part of this year’s rally, which got to see vintage beauties such as a 1912 Standard Coventry and 1919 Crossley, both owned by Pramod Kumar Mittal, a 1913 Gebruder Stoewer owned by Ananda Chowdhury, 1937-38 Rolls Royce owned by Suraj Kumar Kamani and others, a 1961 Vespa VBA owned by LtCol Nitin Sreshtha, a 1962 Triumph Spitfire owned by Saikat Dutta, among others.
The winter morning provided a perfect setting as the vehicles shone, reflecting the loving care and maintenance by their owners who walked an extra mile to give the vehicles the last minute polishes that would make each of them stand out from the others. If the automobiles wore their best looks, the owners were in the best of their attire, with some dressed in period costumes for the fancy dress competition. A pink 1970 Volkswagen owned by Ms Brinda Ganguli Sarkar and driven by Mrs Sudakrishna Mukherjee, both of whom had dressed up in pink, made a mark.
The rally was flagged off at 8:45 a.m and the vintage cars and bikes rolled out on the city’s roads. As the vehicles drove past the gawking crowds, the roads became selfie zones. Onlookers, including traffic sergeants and pedestrians, clicked pictures and shot videos to share with their friends and family.
A pedestrian tried to stop an Austin car near Purna Cinema Crossing to be able to click some pictures. Similarly, an elderly spectator who was filled with joy to see history come alive, saluted the drivers of the vehicles.
While the journey of the vehicles remained mostly smooth, a 1926 Red Austin and a 1947 Wolseley faced some issues due to overheating of the engines. Despite that, the 1947 Wolseley bagged an award in the newest category (Heritage) of the event.
Speaking at the event, Mr Ravindra Kumar, editor and managing director, The Statesman, said “This rally that started long back, has reached its 50th year. It is indeed a special occasion for us. I have a long list of people to thank that includes the vintage owners and all officers and ranks of the Indian Army who have been helping us with all the required logistics for the event. Despite a political rally being held today in the city, the Kolkata Police has extended all support from their side to ensure the vehicles move safely through the designated routes.I also extend my gratitude towards the chief judges who play a pivotal role in the vintage rally selection every year.”
Mrs Antara Kumar distributed the awards.
Check out the list of winners in the vintage & classic cars and motorcycles categories.