Collecting vintage cars could be a hobby, a passion or even an obsession. Attraction for vintage (produced before 1929) or classic cars (up to 1965) is on rise in India. Vintage car enthusiasts make loads of effort collecting and maintaining their beauties.
Association of Indian Car Collectors
Heritage Motoring Club of India (HMCI), headquartered in Delhi, is an association of passionate vintage car collectors across the country. Members of the association own approximate 3,000 cars across the country. The association, which was formed in 2001 by passionate collectors, publishes a quarterly magazine Classic Wheels on vintage cars. HMCI organizes several vintage car rallies. It offers a platform to vintage car lovers to meet and interact. It promotes various activities and events to help vintage vehicle owners to take care of their possessions. Lectures and seminars are organized by the clubs and sale of spare parts is also held.
Vintage Car Museums
Pro Bono Publico, a private vintage car museum having more than 50 vintage beauties, is located at Jaunapur in Mehrauli region of Delhi. The HMCI has plans to set up a 2 lakh sq ft museum in the National Capital Region (NCR). It would host more than 200 cars. Vintage car museums in Ahmedabad and Udaipur are other two renowned vintage car museums.
The affluent class is gathering craze for vintage cars in India. Some like to flaunt an impressive line-up of vintage cars in private functions. These cars have also found demand in movies, especially in the ones which show their times. Hotels are also inducting vintage cars in their fleet to service high-spending guests.
Rolls Royce could be rented anywhere between Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 a day. Vintage cars like Cadillac and Buick go for Rs 15,000 a day, while an Austin could be hired for between Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000. Prices of vintage and classic cars are escalating at the rate of 15-20 per cent every year.
Vintage Cars in India
India was a substantial market of vintage cars before 1947. Rulers of the princely states patronized these luxury cars in those times. Statistics show that a fourth of the Rolls Royce production fed the Indian market between 1912 and 1947. It was the burgeoning demand which lured General Motors to set up an assembly line unit in Mumbai way back in 1927. In the next decade the unit produced approximate 11,000 cars, including Buicks, Chevrolets and Vauxhalls. However, the princely states ceased to exist post independence. Most of these vintage cars where then taken out of the country to feed the demand of vintage car collectors in Europe and US markets.
As per estimates, 1000 to 3000 vintage cars exist in India today, valued at Rs 350 crore (Rs 3.5 billion). Some of the biggest vintage car collectors in India own the rare Mercedes 540 K and the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, both valued at more than Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million).
Vintage Car Rallies
Collectors of vintage cars in India hold regular rallies for their cars. These rallies have been instrumental in inculcating people’s interest in these cars. One would find all old beauties like Rolls Royce, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lincoln, Beetle, Plymouth, Cadillac and Ford competing in these events. These rallies give the vintage car enthusiasts an opportunity to meet like-minded people. One can also buy vintage body parts and vintage auto parts from manufacturers from across the country.