Seriously rich people with a taste take great pains to keep their passion for vintage cars alive

Updated: Mar 2 2007, 05:43am hrs
What is it that makes head turn when we see a vintage car moving on the road Plenty. A royal look, gracious curves and a deep voice with raw power are some of the distinctions that set a vintage apart.

Says filmmaker and fashion designer Muzaffar Ali, "There was a time when only a few people owned cars. And those who did were the privileged ones."

He adds, "Cars came with a certain lifestyle, history and nostalgia." The director of the original Umrao Jaan and son of the erstwhile ruler of Kotwara adds, "As an artist, I get a lot of joy on seeing such a car. To me these vintage cars are masterpieces of design."

It is quite difficult to maintain vintage cars, though. Says Madhu Jatti, who owns a 1952 Mustang, "Since Mustang is an imported car, it is sometimes difficult to find spare parts."

Adds Shiva Jatti, Its one of the fastest cars of its time. It can go up to 130 miles per hour. I raced it up to 100 mph myself.

But people, who can afford, still like to maintain a vintage. Explains avid collector Charanjeet Singh, "It makes one stand different from the crowd."

Adds Tikka Shatrujit Singh of Kapurthala, who owns a Rolls Royce, "When you drive a vintage, you feel special. Why Because people attribute a certain graciousness and dignity to you."

He adds, "Each car has a story to tell and I really feel proud to own one." He is also the proud owner of a Dodge.

The passion cuts across gender. Says the Princess of Barwani, Vidita Singh: "I have grown up seeing these luxurious cars. Royalty in India has always been a patron of all things high end.

The love has been inherited by politicians, too. Says Dushyant Singh, a member of Parliament, "I love to drive vintage cars. We happen to own a few of them.

All of them participated in the recent Royal Heritage Drive, which was organised by the Heritage Motoring Club of India (HMCI). The drive, which stretched from Delhi to Jaipur and back, had all the participants filled with excitement.

"Covering the long distance in these vintage beauties was the most exciting part of the rally," according to Diljeet Titus, general secretary of HMCI.

Twenty-two vintage cars including the Austins, Cadillacs, Mercedes, Bentleys and Chevy of the 1930-50s made their presence felt on the roads during the rally.

Probably it was the love for the sport that made all the motorists to agree to undertake a tour to Lahore in October 2007.