They’re everywhere – on sidewalks, waiting at intersections, balancing themselves on the narrow dividers, shooting at sight. No, this isn’t a scene from an action flick and we’re not in the cross hairs of snipers. It’s the exact opposite, in fact. On a pleasantly cool Sunday morning, we’re motoring down the Marine Drive promenade in a Volkswagen Beetle, attracting stares from all directions, bringing up the tail of the convoy at the 2018 Vintage and Classic Car Club of India (VCCCI) vintage car rally.
The VCCCI, one of the oldest vintage car clubs in the country, has played a huge role in encouraging the preservation and restoration of vintage and classic cars; and the rally is an annual spectacle car enthusiasts in Mumbai have enjoyed for many years now. It is worth mentioning that this year’s event was bigger than ever and we decided to play participant.
Renowned car collector Viveck Goenka, who participated with 12 cars, lent us his beige-hued, restored-to-original-spec 1956 Beetle for the drive. It’s one of the over 100 vintage and classic cars present for the flag off at the Horniman Circle in Mumbai, amidst lovely old buildings.
Despite it being a lazy Sunday morning, there’s some traffic on the roads; but the Bug is a nimble little companion, darting into gaps and chugging along smoothly. We pass the Impalas and the Rolls-Royces, and other road users are rooted to their spots, clicking away on their DSLRs and smartphones. The affable Beetle receives extra love from people of all ages - from the little ones who can barely speak to the elderly, all smile a little wider at the sight of the cheery-looking VeeDub.
It is as we cross the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and draw closer to the end of the drive that it all comes into perspective: this rally means something to everyone involved. The owners get to drive their prized possessions on fairly free Mumbai streets, and the bystanders are reminded of an era long gone; of times beautifully simple and – in motoring terms –verging on the extravagant.
Plenty of prizes were handed out, with some of the standouts being a 1903 Humber Humberette, which was the oldest car on the drive, Goenka’s 1936 Cord 810, a 1919 Citroen Type A and a 1936 Adler Trumpf Junior.
With inputs from Perseus Bandrawalla.
|Concours D’Elegance||Vintage Car — 1921 Steyr Type II ||Vivek Pittie|
|Classic Car — 1958 Edsel Villager ||Viveck and Zita Goenka|
|Best maintained||Vintage car — 1926 Rolls-Royce 20HP ||Amal Tanna|
|Classic car — 1959 Mercedes-Benz 300 Adenauer||Abbas Jasdanwalla|
|Recent classic car — 1983 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL||Rajiv Zaveri|
|Indian heritage class — 1957 Fiat 1100||Rohinton Vesuna |
|Best restored||Vintage car — 1936 Cord 810 ||Viveck and Zita Goenka|
|Classic car — 1949 Cadillac Series 62 ||Viveck and Zita Goenka|
|Recent classic car — 1964 Mercedes-Benz 220S||Rahul Patel|
|Indian heritage class — 1957 Dodge Kingsway|| Chhotbhai Jethabhai Patel|
|Resurrection prize — 1936 Morris 8||Vincent Cardoz|