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Old 20th April 2013, 19:13   #1
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Default Calcutta Vintage & Classic Car : Drives & Meet-Ups

It'd about time that we started to get together and plan some events that I keep reading about happening in other cities around India.

Apart from the Statesman Rally and the Tolly Car Show held in January, we seem to hibernate for the next 11 months!

Let's have what they call a "Cruse Night" once a month were we drive up and and down Park Street, show-off our cars and then hang out in one of the Restaurants.

I was able to borrow Gautam Sen's new book, Rolls-Royce - 17EX.
What a great read and contribution to shedding more light on the wonderful days when so many world class Edwardian and Vintage Cars found there way to India and I particularly enjoyed learning more about the glory days of Calcutta. What a history we have!

I was absolutely enchanted with the story of the Mitter Family packing up their family and servants in their five Magnificent Cars, one of them the unique RR 17EX and making the drive to their "Charu Villa" in the resort town of Hazaribagh some 400 km north west of Calcutta.

My wife Jharna and I are planning on retracing their trip when we return to Calcutta this coming October and visit some of the historic places along the way.

Any one want to join us?

Hopefully this thread will help bring us closer together and "come out of the Garage" and have a good time together 12 Months a Year.

What are some of your thoughts and ideas?

Last edited by john a milne : 20th April 2013 at 19:16.
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Old 21st April 2013, 16:54   #2
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Default Re: Calcutta Vintage & Classic Car : Drives & Meet-Ups

Wish you all the best John in this initiative. Typically we see that group get-togethers start becoming competitive after sometime. I envy you because you get live in the processed driven developed world in Canada and developing "Jugaad" world in India. However in this "Juggad" world, you could have a frustrating experience if you do not have your rules in place from the beginning. Based on my limited experience, I would suggest the following
  1. The purpose of this group is encourage the camaraderie between lovers of vintage and classic cars, any thing of historical value
  2. The group is open to any one who has a car say before 1975 including rodded cars.
  3. There are no sponsors or there is no competition/judging
  4. All costs of these get togethers need to be shared equally. If you agree to be part, then the is bill is shared equally, even if you leave early or do not eat your food etc
  5. I think the Mumbai model of fixing the location, bookings, back up etc of the drives and the participant confirming in advance and committing to their share of these drives is the best model. May be Kasli/Mole can share their experiences in arranging these drives.
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...... making the drive to their "Charu Villa" in the resort town of Hazaribagh some 400 km north west of Calcutta.

My wife Jharna and I are planning on retracing their trip when we return to Calcutta this coming October and visit some of the historic places along the way.
This would be wonderful. The key would be to pace the trip at the same pace the Mitter family would have done it in those days.

All the very best

regards

KPS
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Old 22nd April 2013, 14:37   #3
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Hi John, this is a great initiative and hope all goes smoothly. Please remember that in such a call the best is to stay neutral and all should be invited. No one is the leader or plan maker.

Look forward to the snaps from such drives and some hidden cars on the road also who don't usually attend rallies and events.

There though should be cap for number of cars coming for such a trip only in the point of control and their road worthiness. Never the less it should not be judgemental. Dutch is what everyone should follow and respect, ie equal sharing of the costs.


Cheers

Last edited by kasli : 22nd April 2013 at 14:40.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 09:15   #4
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Default Re: Calcutta Vintage & Classic Car : Drives & Meet-Ups

Good initiative John, though I must act as the spoilsport soothsayer and predict that such a thing will never happen. Here's why:

1. The vintage car scene in Kolkata broadly rests with a few elderly gents and their capable sons. Though all of them are on tbhp, I doubt any of them will take time out to indulge in such a "meet" unless it involves media and (dare I say it) commercial interests.

2. There are many small-time (read 1 or 2 car) owners/restorers. They are not on tbhp, and unless you can do some real networking, it will be difficult to find your utopian group in Kolkata.

3. In a city grappling with basic survival issues, a posse of vintage cars parked in the most prominent locale in town, unmanned (unless the owners all bring guards) is an invitation to trouble.

I still wish that my post acts as a catalyst and you do get your ideal group. Best of Luck!
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Old 23rd April 2013, 10:40   #5
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Default Re: Calcutta Vintage & Classic Car : Drives & Meet-Ups

My two annas, cents, pies, pence.......................

I would suggest that you, John, invite a few car guys as friends, decide on a venue and go for dinner in your old cars. You can tell them to get a few like minded friends along. No agenda, no purpose other than to drive and eat, talk cars talk cars again, and again. Maybe at that time slip in about your planned trip. Make the first a short one. As far as possible try to involve the better halves (ladies, not the cars). This way you will surely take off. In Mumbai, I did not attend the first meets, now I try to be there whenever possible. And many have joined in. And suddenly the ladies jell, they never knew their husbands friends, let alone their ladies.
There should be no general rules other than drive safely, be civil, and, as Kasli said, go dutch. Do not create a corpus, money tends to have a negative effect.
Do this in Kolkata, next thing you know you will be a group and interact with other groups.
This comes from what we have experienced, we are so cool and relaxed, club politics have become secondary with positive effects.

All the best, and
cheers harit
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Old 23rd April 2013, 20:00   #6
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Default Re: Calcutta Vintage & Classic Car : Drives & Meet-Ups

Dear Friends,

This idea coming from John Uncle is a boon in disguise. Its high time that Kolkata takes an example from the other cities with respect to the Vintage and Classic car meets. At the present moment it would not be a good idea getting into this due to the weather conditions. However, Post Durga Puja to Pre Holi would be ideal for such meets. I think Sunday brunches would be just perfectly suited. Initialy even if we could arange for 5 or more car owners with their respective cars, im sure this would gradualy pick up. This would be a good opertunity for our cars to have its share of run, and we like minded could have a nice time bonding. One of my Fiats would certainly be ready by then and I would definately love to be a part of such meets.

Keep Reving...
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Old 24th April 2013, 20:30   #7
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Default Re: Calcutta Vintage & Classic Car : Drives & Meet-Ups

Thanks for all the Encouragement, Good Advice and Suggestions.

Hopefully a few enthusiasts here will help start the "Wheels Rolling" and we can just enjoy some good times together along with our !st. & 2nd. wives!

Jharna, (1st wife) and I expect to return the beginning of October and are looking forward to participating and supporting whatever modest activities.

There's the small town of Port Dover, population of 6,000 about 80 miles from Toronto, where a few Bikers decided to hold a Friday the 13th Bike happening in their town and about 25 friends turned up. The year was 1981.

It has grown over the years and on their 55th event, July 13th 2012, over 75,000 bikes and about 125,000 enthusiasts from all over North America came for this one day event!

Who knows what might happen here in "Kool" Kolkata!
Personally if we can raise 25 enthusiasts I would think it would be a resounding success.
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