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Posted at: Jan 8, 2017, 1:00 AM; last updated: Jan 8, 2017, 1:00 AM (IST)

Beauties from yesteryear

More than 100 gorgeous cars leave you drooling at the Auto World Museum in Ahmedabad

Kavita Kanan Chandra

The Auto World Museum at Ahmedabad is the largest and finest private vintage automobile collection on display in India. This is one museum where your kids will never get bored. It will leave men (and women who love mean machines) yearning for the timeless beauties. After all, the classic collection of 106 vintage cars is worth drooling over!

The models of yesteryear automobiles from USA, Britain and Europe are showcased with complete information on the name of car, year of manufacture, country and coach work. Many of these cars have custom built auto-bodies from renowned coachmakers such as Hooper, Barker, Gurney-Nutting, Fleetwood and Labaron. Before the World War II era, the privileged few would get elaborate hand built coaches for the chassis of ultra-luxury cars from these coach-builders. Many Indian royals owned such cars, adding a signature style and unique element to them. For them cars were more of a status symbol rather than a means of transportation.

The classics on roll at the museum include brands such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, Buick, Jaguar, Austin Ruby, Lincoln, Packard, Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Cadillac, Mercedes Benz, Plymouth, Dodge, Fiat and Minerva among others. There are ceremonial limousines, classy convertibles and sleek sports cars. A motley collection of buggies, horse drawn carriages, utility vehicles, motorcycles and even a dog cart are there. The vintage vehicles in vibrant colours and vivid styles and their versatile range enamour you.

The museum is a fruit of the passion of vintage car enthusiast late Pranlal Bhogilal, an industrialist who, in 1960, embarked upon a buying spree from the Indian royalty and other sources. Even in Mumbai, where he lived, he drove in each of his 240 vintage cars. The cars spanning from 1906 Minerva (Belgium) and 1906 Mors (France) to more recent — 1972 Lincoln — are all in driving condition. Pranlal decided to open the museum for public at his farmhouse in Ahmedabad. Much to the delight of visitors, they can also take a ride on the wheels of nostalgia as a Chrysler and Plymouth are kept for the purpose.

Spread across 2,200 acres of land in the midst of leafy greens and manicured lawns, the colourful cars stand bright and shining in spacious pavilions. The staff is hawk-eyed, keeping a tab on visitors lest they enter the rope enclosures or touch the cars. They are required to maintain a safe distance, for each one of these vintage cars is worth crores of rupees.

However, it is merely a look at them that gets you excited; each one of them is simply gorgeous. The resplendent Rolls Royce, the stately 1958 Cadillac that stretches 20 feet and little cars in fetching yellow, green, red are ravishing. A pretty purple 1928 Austin, 1946 Sunbeam Talbot, 1924 Morris Cowley, 1937 Riley Sprite and 1951 Fiat are awe-inspiring.

If you have an inkling of their manufacturing history, you would notice the finer details. For example, the Chrysler logo has undergone many changes. In the forties, they introduced a new emblem with the seal placed onto a heraldic shield with a crown on top, Chrysler inscription and silver wings supporting it. You get to see it here in the 1948 white Chrysler convertible. The style of writing Ford remains unchanged, whether in 1910 Ford ‘T’ or any latest model. You could see the early 20th century cars having headlights lit by kerosene or those with wooden wheels.

If you prod the caretaker, he might even give you interesting trivia. Each car has an anecdote spun behind it. Like the CEO of Maybach offered five latest models in return for a 1955 model, but Pranlal wouldn’t budge. How could he part with any of these; he loved them like a child?


FACT FILE

Museum timings: 8 am to 9 pm all seven days a week

Entrance fee: Rs 50 (above five years)

Photography: Still and mobile camera: Rs 100; Video/Movies: Rs 500

Vintage car rides (driver provided by the museum): RS 500 (per four adult persons or six children)

Museum time inside (entry to exit): 1 hour 30 minutes

GETTING THERE

Auto World Vintage Car Museum, Dastan Estate,
Sardar Patel Ring Road, Kathwada, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Phone: 079-22820699 

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