The Joys Of Classic Motoring

A big part of the heart of ‘Parsipanu’ lies in hanging on to our old, classic cars! Each colony has its own share of these classic splendors, carefully wrapped up through the week or the month, to be unveiled only when you know you have a good six to eight uninterrupted hours to romance it! Having your own classic car as a pet project can make you fall in love with it. Parsi Time’s Automobile Specialist Cyrus Dhabhar explains…..

Cyrus Dhabhar copyWhen the lovely people at PT called me up a few weeks ago to write a piece for the New Year’s Special edition, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about – a piece on ‘how classic cars (and bikes) are just better and cooler than anything modern’. But, before I start to wax lyrical, let me get one fact straight: new cars (and bikes) are a million times more dependable and reliable than their classic counterparts.

As an 18 year old boy, my dad refused to let me drive one of his perfectly restored classic Fiats. Instead, I was given a choice. I could use my mother’s Maruti 800 or he would buy me a used and rather poorly maintained 1967 Fiat 1100 Delite. Initially I chose the Maruti for the sake of air conditioning, but the charm of that wine-red Fiat eventually took over. Of course, back then it wasn’t working well but the process of actually fixing your own car to make it work as well as it should, is in itself a learning curve, and an enjoyable one at that!

Taking something apart and then putting it back together, so as to make it work better than it did before, is a feeling that will make you swell with pride. And then, there is the sheer scent of an old car… the aroma of grease and petrol on your hands combined with the unmistakable scent of old and well-worn leather or rexine… is in my opinion far better than ‘that new car smell’ that everyone keeps raving about.

But nothing, and I mean nothing, gives me the same kind of joy and fulfillment than driving one of my old babies to breakfast on a Sunday morning. Empty South Bombay roads and the sound of a growling race-exhaust behind you, is something that I guarantee, will move your soul. I started this article by saying new cars are more reliable. Of course they are. And of course your old car will break down when you least expect it to and make a mess of your schedule. But that is where the fun lies! Trying to detect what the problem is and fixing it yourself without having to rely on Raju mechanic is what the experience is about!

Gone are the days when every Sunday you’d find Parsi men and boys washing their own cars or trying to work on them to make them better. Gone are the days where you tried out a combination of jets in your carburetor to find out which gave the best performance to your pristine RX100. But why should they be gone? Why can’t we bring them back? Buy an old car. Take a chance. Talk to someone who knows their old cars and work with them on the car to make it YOUR car – something that YOU made! And then be proud of it. There is no better feeling! Project cars are awesome and just in case this article does genuinely inspire you to go out and buy a classic Fiat, I would be more than happy to sell you one of mine!


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