Monday, 2 December 2013

Classic Wheels Glam Up the Capital

By Humay Waseem

Vintage and classic cars have been a little known but zestful hobby of many tasteful and affluent people in Pakistan. We may not see these cars frequently being driven on roads in Pakistan but a highly impressive collection of about 300 vintage cars is present in Pakistan, some of them even dating back to the 1930’s.

A Fully Restored 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Present at The Vintage and Classic Car Show Islamabad
Tuesday, on the 26th of November, 2013 was the Vintage and Classic Car show at the Serena hotel in Islamabad. 20 vintage cars stood gloriously around the lush green garden with their proud owners. From Corvette to Cadillac, Rolls Royce to Mercedes, and Pontiac to Ford Mustang, all were present; fully restored in brilliant flashy colors. Car enthusiasts, media personnel, and friends and families of the Car owners were present to behold the glamorous heritage of Pakistan on wheels. The car show was organized by Vintage and Classic Car Club of Pakistan (VCCCP) which started in Karachi and has been in existence for the past 20 years having 3000 members, with the past 10 years being especially busy for club members with multiple rallies taking place all over Pakistan.

The 1954 Austin-Healey
StudioBloop was present at the show and spoke to some of the car owners and Mr. Mohsin Ikram, the founder and president of the Vintage and Classic Car Club of Pakistan (VCCCP).

Mr. Mohsin Ikram, himself a vintage car collector drove all the way from Karachi with his wife, on a green 1954 Austin Healey (pictured right). He told us, “The club has met our major objective of creating the awareness that car collection is a hobby that can preserve the heritage of Pakistan, like historical buildings, these cars depict history and should be protected.”

The show-stealer of the event, a 1959 Black Cadillac Fleetwood series 75 Limousine was owned by General Yahya Khan. The present owner of the car Mr. Mehmood, said, “I usually drive this car on weekends as it cannot sit for long, to de-carbonize the engine. I receive compliments on this car everywhere as it is so large and prominent and is the only one in Pakistan.”

He further added, “There was a documentary on this car during the days Apollo was going to the moon hence renditions of this car with flames coming out from the back were made. Everything inside the car is round including the clocks and the lights to give it an aero plane or rocket like look.” Mr. Mehmood also has a Buick 1940, a Cadillac 1976 El Dorado Convertible and a Volkswagen as part of his collection.

The Rocket-Inspired 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood Was A Crowd Winner
The Ambassador of Argentina, Rodolfo J Martin-Saravia, looked delighted to be amongst so many of Pakistan’s rare gems and symbols of historical pride. He commented, "I've always loved the beauty and history of vintage cars and this show brings me memories of myself as a young man. I see some really fantastic pieces over here. It's a beautiful day in Islamabad."

Mr. Salim an industrialist and a true car enthusiast said, “Since my school days I’ve always been into cars and the love of automobile but recently I’ve gone into the restoration of Mercedes Benz, anything that starts from 1974 and before.” Mr. Salim had two projects at the show, a Blue 1964 Triple Mercedes Benz CoupĂ© and a Burgundy 1972 280 SE 4.5 Sedan.

The 1948 MG Y
We spoke to the most senior and experienced member of the club, Mr. Javed Ibrahim Khan, a jolly man who sat next to his stunning Gold 1948 MG Y (pictured left). “I bought this car 30 years ago for my wife and there is a tragic bit attached to it, this car was parked for a long time in my garage until 3 years ago I decided to work on it, sadly during that time my wife fell ill and died, its more her memory that I drive it for now”

This congregation of restored vintage cars emphasizes the fact that vintage cars are an institution in themselves and deserve to be preserved as a thing of historical interest. The members of VCCCP are hopeful that one day they will be allowed the import of vintage cars with no consequences towards the national exchequer as not everyone has the time, effort and inclination to be a vintage car collector. It is a healthy, family minded hobby that anyone can enjoy.

Some club members drove all the way from Karachi to Islamabad while others drove from Lahore to Islamabad. They will next be driving to Peshawar, and Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir for similar Vintage Car Shows.

Humay Waseem is a Writer at StudioBloop and tweets @HumayWMD