New Delhi: It’s not often you see a 1934 Ford B or a 1970 Rolls Royce Silver Spirit cruising on the roads of India. But the number of people collecting vintage and classic cars is steadily growing. Dimpy Kapoor, who’s the founder of the Automotive Heritage Trust and is the owner of 20 vintage and classic cars, says there are over 100 collectors in India. “These are beautiful cars”, says Kapoor. “Driving them makes you feel like a king, like you’ve reached somewhere.” While there is no common marker in India, the Automative Heritage Trust loosely defines ‘vintage’ as a car manufactured prior to 1939, while a ‘classic’ could include cars manufactured up until the early 1980s. A range of cars including brands like Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge, Chrysler, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagon, Rolls Royce, and many more, are being collected across India.
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From the time of the maharajas, these cars share a piece of Indian history. “There was a lot of wealth in India during the 1940s and 1950s. It’s sad that a lot of them disappeared after the maharajas weren’t maharajas”, says Arjun Sharma, Director of Select Citywalk. “If they [the cars] could speak, they could tell you a lot of stories,” he says.
Kamal Shahani has collected 8 vintage and classic cars over the last 30 years. The owner of a 1937 Plymouth was sold to a Kabadi-wala (junk-dealer) for Rs8,000. Shahani bought it from him for Rs26,000 in 1989. He says that since they are expensive to maintain, many people who own them want to get rid of them.