The worries of vintage – La Semaine


Madan Mohan Yadav has always been sensitive to history and heritage. “I was born and raised in Khetri, which is famous for two things: copper and Swami Vivekananda,” explains the managing director of Deneb & Pollux, a tour and travel company. But the Gurugram-based vintage car maverick might be the third best thing about the former princely state.

During his visits to the local palace, a young Yadav, from a farming family, stood speechless before the living chariots of the Maharajas. There was one he particularly liked: the 1928 Dodge Victory Six. When Khetri’s 11th Raja, Bahadur Sardar Singh, passed away in 1987 without an heir, seven royal cars were moved to a mechanic’s garage.

In 2000, when Yadav, as a first-generation entrepreneur with a limited budget, was looking for an office for his startup, he got a call from the mechanic; the Dodge Victory Six was on the market. Bureau be damned, Yadav bought the car instead. He was then 28 years old. Over the next and a half years, he recovered the remaining cars from the raja.

Today it has an enviable fleet of 370 cars, 109 bikes, 150 trucks and buses, 43 jeeps, 56 vintage tractors and 45 cars. As the Managing Director of 21 Gun Salute, which hosts India’s only Concours d’Elegance, an international classic car competition, he is the only Asian to have judged eight competitions. “I have done my best to put India on the world automotive heritage map. All this on its own, with my own funds, ”explains Yadav, who won the“ Personal Achievement Award ”at the Historic Motoring Awards in London in 2018.

Renting vintage cars for weddings is a trend that started in Delhi and Mumbai a decade ago. Bollywood has fed him again.

He tells how a younger group with high disposable income in their early 30s are starting to invest in vintage cars today, an echo of their past. But what turns him on is the online market. He is part of a new initiative called Historic Auctions, along with Maharaja Manvendra Singh Barwani and six others. Historic Auctions will hold its first online vintage car auction in November. Everything seems to be going well in the charming world of vintage cars, with the pandemic hardly causing any bumps in the road. Except this bug.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways released a new set of rules for the registration and certification of vintage vehicles in a draft policy in July. While most stakeholders welcome this decision, there is one aspect of restricted use that has caused concern and confusion. A sub-clause reads as follows: “Vintage motor vehicles must not be driven or used on the roads for any regular purpose and must not be used for any commercial purpose whatsoever.” Business purposes also involve renting vintage cars for weddings, photoshoots, and vintage movies.

“It is illogical to say that these cars cannot be used for commercial purposes. This is a personal property and can be rented out as and when [owners] want to. I don’t understand how that could harm anyone, ”says Yadav, who wants to build a state-of-the-art museum for his collection by 2025 in Gurugram.

Rupali Prakash loves his British sports cars. She rode 1,400 km through the Rann of Kutch in her 1956 Triumph TR3. Her father, Dr Ravi Prakash, is said to be Bengaluru’s biggest vintage car collector. Rupali prefers not to discuss the size of his collection. People tend to focus more on size than passion, she says. “When you give people a number, they’re like, ‘Oh, how many cars do you buy in a month?’ », She adds, a bit irritated.

An active member of the new generation of vintage car enthusiasts, Rupali is an official of the Federation of Historic Vehicles of India and a youth advisor to the International Federation of Vintage Vehicles. An automotive illustrator, she runs Classic Chase, which restores and leases vintage cars.

For now, his company is solely devoted to merchandising and the rental of vintage cars. “We’ve had 1,000 events over the past eight years, with people who just wanted a piece of vintage cars. But now so many people are calling me and are disappointed to hear that we have suspended car rental, ”says Rupali, whose family is also planning to build a museum soon. “I have had couples who changed their wedding dates to be able to use these cars. This couple didn’t want any friends or wedding guests, just a vintage car to get to the temple.

Renting vintage cars for weddings is a trend that started in Delhi and Mumbai a decade ago. Bollywood has fed it again. In Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), the character of Farhan Akhtar longs to rent a blue 1949 Buick Super Convertible.

Rupali says there is now a huge market for vintage cars. “It’s a seller’s market,” she says. “Buyers are willing to pay for everything. An Austin MINI Cooper which cost 015 lakh can now go up to Rs45 lakh. It finds the sub-clause “no commercial use” “generic”. There is a whole ecosystem that survives through commercial use, she says. “How do you keep them even when no one else is allowed to experience them?” ” she asks. “Maintaining these cars is very expensive. They need to get out. They must be used. Why should it be reserved for owners only? “

Nitin Dossa, president of the Vintage and Classic Car Club of India, says there is no confusion. “A privately registered car is not allowed to be leased under the Motor Vehicle Act 1988,” says Dossa, who helped draft the new rules. “Likewise, if you want to rent vintage cars, you will now have to take another registration for public transport, such as the yellow license plate. You will have to make it work like a taxi service, in short. It is not necessary to re-register old numbers, but you can no longer rent them.

The new rules don’t bother Abdul Rashid Ghani from Jaipur. “These are just suggestions for consideration. It hasn’t become a law, ”says Rashid, whose family business Rent A Heritage has been leasing vintage cars for 25 years. His collection of 30 cars includes Fords, Dodges and a rare 1929 Erskine that belonged to an Agra-based doctor who practiced in British India. “But if it becomes law, vintage cars will disappear from the scene,” he says. “No one will maintain it. Whatever we earn by praising them, we put it back, keeping them alive. “

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