KARACHI: The 17th Annual Vintage and Classic Car Show-2020, organised by the Vintage and Classic Car Club of Pakistan (VCCCP), had over 100 historical cars on display at the Forum Mall parking lot here on Sunday.
Speaking to Dawn, VCCCP President Mohsin Ikram said that the car show had always been an event to look forward to by classic car lovers and enthusiasts. “It is also our way of preserving the best of the past, while reviving Karachi’s lost glory and promoting the soft image of Pakistan,” he said.
The historical cars included Rolls Royce, MGs, BMWs, Ford Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Mercedes, Corvettes, Chevrolets, Jaguar E-Type, Aston Martins, Volkswagen, Morris Minors, Austin Minis, trucks and jeeps.
Of course, Karim Chhapra’s 1922 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, owned originally by the Nawab of Bahawalpur, in which the Quaid-i-Azam had also been driven when he was taking oath as the first Governor General of Pakistan, was getting plenty of attention as always. But this year the 1948 Rolls Royce’s Silver Wraith Hooper limousine delivered to the first Governor General of Pakistan and which served him till his death was also generating as much attention.
But other than the big and grand vehicles there were also the ones that have been greatly loved and cared for by their owners over the years. Rumi Dossal had his 1966 model 1,098-CC Trafalgar blue Morris Minor. “It was originally imported by us through Kandawala Motors and has served the family well through the years,” said Mr Dossal, while adding that earlier it used to be their primary car though now they rarely took it out although it worked just fine.
“It costs me lakhs of rupees to order spare parts for it from the UK, as they are not available here any longer, but it is worth the trouble,” he said.
His better half, Tazeen, said that it provided a very smooth ride. “When I am sitting in it I feel as if I am sitting on a sofa at home or as if I am floating in a boat,” she said.
Ibaad Mazhar Lari was there with his green 1961 Austin Mini Countryman with wood frames. “This is probably the oldest Austin Mini in Pakistan, with its petrol tank also inside the car. It happens to be one of the 88 cars of its type in the world,” he said.
He also said that when he found the car it had just been standing at its original owner’s place for some 30 years. It was my 33rd birthday on May 9, 2015 and I just went searching for a classic car on OLX, and this is the gift I bought for myself,” he said, adding how he restored it thanks to help from VCCCP President Mohsin Ikram. “Even the number on its licence plate means something,” he said pointing to the car’s licence plate bearing the number B-3359. “See 9 was my date, 5 was the month May and I was turning 33,” he said reading it from the opposite side. “This car was really meant for me,” he declared with pride.
Retired major Ishrat Khan had brought his military green jeep, a veteran of the 1965 and 1971 wars. “This was a staff jeep in use of Lt Gen Wajid Ali Khan, who was also the minister-in-chief for health during Ayub Khan’s era. My father bought the jeep from him in 1974 when I was just 14 years old. Today my son Sher Khan, a student at the NED University, uses it,” he said. The jeep bore the red plate with three golden star at the front. “Of course, this is just for the car show. We don’t drive around in it with that plate on,” Major Khan laughed.
Another car that was gifted by a father to his son was missing its young owner at this show. Young Mohammad Hassan Kodi’s father had gifted him the tiny four-wheel electric car, the 1954 BMW Isetta, that opened from the front. Every year he would be there with his car, telling how his father, Mohammad Avesh Ahmed Kodi, was given the car by his grandfather after which his father used to drive it to college every day. There was a note pasted on the car’s front windscreen that read: ‘Late Mohammad Hassan Kodi passed away peacefully in his sleep on Feb 22, 2020. He was looking forward to participating in this VCCCP show and here we are with him in spirits ... please offer Fateha for the departed soul and pray for his maghfirat."
Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2020