FOR­BID­DEN FRUIT

India Today - - LEISURE - —Rahul Ghosh

Reg­is­ter­ing them in Delhi may soon prove im­pos­si­ble. But world­wide, vin­tage and clas­sic cars and mo­tor­cy­cles aren’t just his­tor­i­cal ar­ti­facts but also ap­pre­ci­at­ing as­sets. Thanks to the ma­hara­jas, In­dia boasts a mas­sive num­ber of th­ese ma­chines. Fi­rangs hap­pily flew into In­dia and snapped them up to spirit them back home.

A lot has changed since those days. By ban­ning ve­hi­cles over 15 years of age in a bid to curb pol­lu­tion, the gov­ern­ment last year con­demned th­ese beau­ti­ful ma­chines to the garage, dis­play case, or the crush­ers. Af­ter a long court bat­tle, vin­tage cars more than 50 years old can be used un­der ex­tremely spe­cial con­di­tions. But that’s hardly a vic­tory for fans of the clas­sics, cap­tured beau­ti­fully in Gau­tam Sen’s new cof­feetable book, The 101 Au­to­mo­tive Jew­els of In­dia.

One of the pi­o­neers of In­dian auto jour­nal­ism, Sen has gone to great lengths to un­veil 101 clas­sics that are ar­guably the best in the coun­try. Th­ese cars be­long to over 30 col­lec­tors, many of whom, sur­pris­ingly, are not ma­hara­jas at all. An even more mas­sive col­lec­tion of ex­quis­ite cars ex­ists out of the pub­lic eye, how­ever, as their own­ers re­main ex­tremely se­cre­tive about them and do not want to come into the lime­light at all.

(1939) SS 100 JAGUAR

The first SS car to use the Jaguar name, this is the only one to be ex­ported to In­dia

(1930) STUTZ MODEL M4 PAS­SEN­GER SPEEDSTER At the time it was bought for restora­tion, in 2001, the car had done just 10,360 miles

(1932) DELAGE D8 S The car earned the so­bri­quet of ‘King of the con­cours’

(1925) FIAT 501S CORSA Was ‘re­dis­cov­ered’ in the 1980s near Hyderabad. It had a tree go­ing through it

The 101 Au­to­mo­tive Jew­els of In­dia by Gau­tam Sen and Makarand Baokar Her­itage Pub­lish­ers pp 272

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