Bijoy Kumar, Adil Jal Darukhanawala, Karun Chandhok, Richard Meaden and Ted Kravitz
IDON’T KNOW WHAT TO BE HAPPIER ABOUT when news came in last month on the classic and vintage car and bike scene in India. Do take in the word ‘bike’ because this is most significant and which somehow, or more often than not gets glossed over by the glorious cars that we have in our land. OK, this isn’t about car versus bike or such but just plain outlining the fact that there is a thriving motorcycle heritage scene ongoing in the land. This has culminated in probably the first time any Indian entry in an international classic motoring event has resulted in best of show being won by an Indian-owned, Indian-restored Indian motorcycle!
The scene at The Quail – A Motorsports Gathering run in the Monterey peninsula in the last week of August this year to celebrate the motorcar and motorcycle at around the same time as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance was a red-letter day for the art of motorcycle restoration and celebration of our Indian craftsmen. The 1947 Indian Chief Roadmaster, formerly of the Maharaja of Patiala (and sporting his own personalised number plate PAT 1) was dazzling to say the least and not just because it was finished in sunshine yellow but also because it was exquisitely done up to as original as it could have been when it rolled off the Indian Motorcycle works some 70 years ago! Arjun Oberoi who bought the bike off the Patiala royals had entrusted it to Gurmukh Singh Sahl who painstakingly restored it to not just bag Best of Show at the 2017 Cartier ‘Travel with Style’ Concours d’Elegance in Hyderabad but his and Indian motorcycling’s big win came at The Quail. Doff my hat to both Arjun and Gurmukh and long may this spur many others to emulate them.
The second big detail that is just as sweet to the ears and eyes was the fact that the man who has done so much for the cause of the classic and vintage car movement – Rana Manvendra Singh of Barwani was honoured in grand style at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Now keeping aside the fact that I have known Manvendra for the last 34 years or so, I can clearly say that he in in his own understated manner has done yeoman service to the heritage car movement in India. That he was tasked with curating