THERE WAS excitement in the air as engines purred to life and owners and mechanics gave their vehicles last minute touch-ups before flag-off at the Western India Automobile Association’s annual vintage car rally on Sunday.
Kumail Mukhi’s 1963 Mark I Austin Mini Cooper was among the tiniest cars at the rally, but one of its biggest draws.
“What I love about this car is that she drives like a go kart and has unbelievable handling. It feels as if she is on rails,” said Mukhi, who bought it when it was in an extremely shoddy state, gathering dust in a local garage. “I have always been a fan of the Mini and when I saw the condition this car was in I just knew I had to restore her to her original specifications,” he said.
Mukhi said he sourced the parts from England and re-did the entire metal work in the car before getting it re-painted to its original coat of ‘Surf Blue’.
The rally consisted of over 200 vintage cars and bikes. Owners interacted with one another, and discussed and shared the restoration and maintenance work carried out on their respective vehicles.
“It is a lovely community and we all help each other in restoring our cars, sourcing parts, sharing contacts of mechanics and much more,” said R J Patel, owner of a 1989 Mercedes Benz 560 SEC Coupe, a 5.6 litre V8 that churns out 300 horsepower. “This is known as a German muscle car and compared to the other vehicles at this rally, she is relatively young,” Patel said.
Like most owners, he refers to his vintage beauty in the feminine, but has named it after a man.
“I have named her Vader after my favourite fictional character, Darth Vader from Star Wars,” said Patel. In keeping with the theme, he has removed all chrome touches from the car, painting it all black.
“I bought this car when it was a complete wreck four years ago and restored it. I am still building and there are many more pieces to be fitted into this jigsaw until I am satisfied. I would love to drive her to work everyday but she sips a lot of fuel!” he said.
The rally — there was also a 1914 Wolseley amongst the 200 or so cars — was flagged off from Omkar 1973, Worli, by Nitin Dossa, Chairman, WIAA, Viveck Goenka, President, WIAA and Chairman, Indian Express Group, Babulal Varma, Omkar Realtors & Developers and Rahul Maroo, Omkar Realtors & Developers. The vehicles, many of them carrying placards to spread road safety awareness were driven to Churchgate in South Mumbai before making their way via the Sea Link to Sofitel, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). Also spotted admiring the vintage beauties was renowned industrialist and car lover Ratan Tata.