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Old 27th February 2009, 19:04   #1
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Default Calcutta-Collector/Restorers-Shashi Kanoria

Shashi Kanoria is one of the first serious Collectors in Calcutta, moving from his love for racing to the vintage and classic cars in his early twenties. It was a family hobby cum business that has seen some of the finest cars pass their way. In the late 60's Vintage Rolls and their likes were being sold off or junked as their was no demand or appreciation for them. He tells of them being sold for R15,000 to R70,000, that today would be worth on 20-100 Lak in the same condition!

We had a similar situation in the 50's when there was relatively little interest in vintage cars in Canada and enthusiasts, (a good Ford Model A & V8s costing $25-100) were able to fill their garages and barns with some really great cars for next to nothing and a number of them found appreciative homes for them in the U.S where their was a much greater interest and deeper pockets. Three of my better cars, a 33 Ford coupe, 29 Chrysler model 66 & 32 Studebaker-Rockne roadster found their way South. A few of the collectors felt that the cars should stay in Canada but that was the reality at that time. I have heard similar comments here and while I applaud the efforts of the Statesman Newspaper to bring about legislation to prohibit the export of vintage cars the fact remains that many of these cars would have been scrapped.

To me the current issue is to recognize that our "Common Man's Cars" are fast disappearing and effort needs to be made to raise their profile and to lobby the government to open up the importation of much needed parts. The thread on establishing Judging Standards for Concours Events has been lively, informative, and very relevant to todays needs. Spark on TEAM MEMBERS!

Shashi renewed his old love affair about 10 years ago and drew upon some remarkable cars that he had carefully stored. Some of them he has re-restored to absolute perfection, others still in their as found condition have been meticulously restored such as his 1924 Rolls Royce that had belonged to the Maharaja of Udipur. While it didn't receive the recognition here at the Statesman Rally as it should have, it did receive it by it's new owner receiving one of the ten Trophies awarded at the fabulous Cartier Car Show in Bombay last fall.

He has a small garage/works that holds a number of his personal collection and the challenge he has faced is to find good skilled tradesmen and then to keep them busy the year around. Subsequently with his very astute eye and long standing connections has been able to find some great cars to restore and pass on to those who have the appreciation but not the skills, commitment, and time to undertake their own restorations.

It is indeed a Win, Win situation and for us who share the passion, half the fun is getting there and for Shashi the challenge of bringing back from the scrap yard a piece of our history and then return it to it's original glory. Being a full time Hobby he is very much a hands on person involved in every detail. He has a very artistic eye and my only comment is that sometimes he "guilds the lily" a little too much. However he is not alone and easily undone.

Like Sanjay, a close friend that helps out whenever needed, Shashi's family have the same passion with his son, Shrivardhan having been the other part of the team. I have heard of many collectors who unfortunately do not have other younger members of the family to carry on, and are now beginning to sell off some of their cars. I wish I was a few years younger and then I could put myself for adoption!

Their oldest car, both in age and ownership, is a 1906 Renault that was found in one of the back sheds on their Tea Estate in Darjeeling that is not only very rare but has been well restored apart from the leather seats that appear to original.

Lots of photos to post and will start with a few of the Renault and their works.

1. Shashi, his wife, my wife Jharna & Shrivardhan
2. 1906 Renault
3. 1923 Rolls Royce & 1914 Worsely.

Cheers
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Old 27th February 2009, 19:28   #2
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[quote=john a milne;1192257]

Seems posting is very slow this time of day so rather than losing everything, I deleted to the photos.

Here they are!
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Old 27th February 2009, 20:00   #3
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Today's not my day! One more time.
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Old 28th February 2009, 01:39   #4
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I believe the 1906 Renault is the oldest surviving car in India. Or is there an older car? I do recollect karl telling me something about a 1905..????
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Old 28th February 2009, 08:00   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrus43 View Post
I believe the 1906 Renault is the oldest surviving car in India. Or is there an older car? I do recollect karl telling me something about a 1905..????

As far as I know 1903 Renault of Dharmasthala Veerendra Heggade is one of the oldest along with Mallya's 1903 Humberette.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/attach...n-cimg0275.jpg
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Old 28th February 2009, 10:10   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john a milne View Post
Shashi Kanoria is one of the first serious Collectors in Calcutta...
John I am delighted that you are profiling people who have been into vintage cars for years in Calcutta. Its really a wonderful thing and thanks for all the info and lovely pictures. Mr. Kanoria's cars are amazing. I personally would have preferred black walled tyres for the Rolls and all white/light grey tyres for the Renault

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I believe the 1906 Renault is the oldest surviving car in India.
Cyrus the Nizam's two Napiers are also 1906
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Old 28th February 2009, 12:21   #7
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Thanks John for sharing nice pictures, superb restoration job done, Great!
would love to see more pictures.

I wish Nizam's cars displayed in Hyderabad Chow Mahalla Palace will also be restored like this restoration.
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Old 28th February 2009, 12:37   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girishpv View Post
As far as I know 1903 Renault of Dharmasthala Veerendra Heggade is one of the oldest along with Mallya's 1903 Humberette.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/attach...n-cimg0275.jpg

Please check one more 1903 car in India,
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/pre-19...ereau-etc.html
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Old 28th February 2009, 12:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john a milne View Post
Shashi Kanoria is one of the first serious Collectors in Calcutta, moving from his love for racing to the vintage and classic cars in his early twenties. It was a family hobby cum business that has seen some of the finest cars pass their way. In the late 60's Vintage Rolls and their likes were being sold off or junked as their was no demand or appreciation for them. He tells of them being sold for R15,000 to R70,000, that today would be worth on 20-100 Lak in the same condition!

I have heard similar comments here and while I applaud the efforts of the Statesman Newspaper to bring about legislation to prohibit the export of vintage cars the fact remains that many of these cars would have been scrapped.

To me the current issue is to recognize that our "Common Man's Cars" are fast disappearing and effort needs to be made to raise their profile and to lobby the government to open up the importation of much needed parts. The thread on establishing Judging Standards for Concours Events has been lively, informative, and very relevant to todays needs. Spark on TEAM MEMBERS!

Shashi renewed his old love affair about 10 years ago and drew upon some remarkable cars that he had carefully stored. Some of them he has re-restored to absolute perfection, others still in their as found condition have been meticulously restored such as his 1924 Rolls Royce that had belonged to the Maharaja of Udipur. While it didn't receive the recognition here at the Statesman Rally as it should have, it did receive it by it's new owner receiving one of the ten Trophies awarded at the fabulous Cartier Car Show in Bombay last fall.

Cheers
Dear Mr. John,

It is possible to get some info about the cars which he has had and which he has passed on? I know that he had a Model T Ford, sold to Prem Nath the actor, and sold on to a collector in Mumbai, running in good nick.
He also had the yellow/black Sunbeam which was exported and appeared in a classic car magazine as a car bought from a Maharaja from Indonesia! It wore the same funny non original horns here in Mumbai when it came for a rally and again in the photo when she was sent out. This happened in mid or end 1980's, so she must have gone on a Dhow. How adventurous!
The Udaipur 20HP has gone to Bhubaneshwar. There may be more, but it seems that Mr. Kanoria kept the Wolseley and Renault, other he sells.
At one time he had a nice 1958/59 Buick.

Since you are in Kolkotta and have the time to catch up on collectors /restorers, in the 1970's a Mr. Roy and his brother were quite avid collectors, they even had a 540K. They saved a lot of cars, but I have no clue as to where the 540K is now.

About the ban, Statesman may have been trumpeting about the ban, but in came into effect after the personal efforts of some vintage collectors. I very much doubt that the politicians read newspapers, if they did they would be more sensitive to the grievances of the public.

looking forward to your posts.
Cheers Harit
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Old 28th February 2009, 15:59   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harit View Post
Dear Mr. John,

It is possible to get some info about the cars which he has had and which he has passed on? I know that he had a Model T Ford, sold to Prem Nath the actor, and sold on to a collector in Mumbai, running in good nick.

Since you are in Kolkotta and have the time to catch up on collectors /restorers, in the 1970's a Mr. Roy and his brother were quite avid collectors, they even had a 540K. They saved a lot of cars, but I have no clue as to where the 540K is now.

About the ban, Statesman may have been trumpeting about the ban, but in came into effect after the personal efforts of some vintage collectors. I very much doubt that the politicians read newspapers, if they did they would be more sensitive to the grievances of the public.

looking forward to your posts.
Cheers Harit
Harit

I don't don't have a sense of what cars have passed his way apart from some of them now being apart of the Mitel Collection here in Calcutta may be 10-15 years back that are reasonably maintained and show up at the Statesman and will post any photos I have. Unfortunately a lot of photos were on my old computer that "crashed and burned".

There was an extended period when Mr. Kanoria mothballed his cars and was not particularly active, but now retired, has become involved again as a full time hobby. He is the most fastidious, "hands on person", that I have met in India and his attention to detail is almost obsessive, but that is the nature of an avid collector with an extensive knowledge and experience. He has built up a good restoration team which is one of the biggest challenges any of the restorers face; to find them, train them and keep them.

I envy him being able to devote so much time to his passion that we all share and to see his collection of cars that he has had for so many years, some, still to be restored.

Last fall his son went to England for his MBA, so things have slowed down a bit at their garage cum workshop. The Fiat and Citron were finished off just before the Tolly Show taking over a year to do up. They found a very nice but tired 1930 big "6" Chevrolet touring that is nearing finish and is looking awesome. About 60% finished is a 60's Rover and a MG something that the body work is almost finished but is stored somewhere else for lack of space. Shashi had owned it a long time ago and came across it somehow in very poor condition. Seeing what they did on the MG TC, I am looking foreward to seeing all finished when We return next Fall.

It's great that Shrivadhan has the same passion as his father and a lot of the cars they are adding to the family collection are his, and will be able to continue the family tradition.

Who were some of the V&C enthusiasts that started the ball rolling?

John
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Old 28th February 2009, 22:22   #11
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Here are few shots of the 1923 Rolls Royce,
The first from the Cartier Show and then when it was first shown at the Statesman Rally three years ago, and some detail shots taken while it was being detailed for last years last year.

I quit agree the white walls were unnecessary and detract from the car.
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Old 28th February 2009, 22:25   #12
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A few more detail shots.
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Old 3rd March 2009, 07:59   #13
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Some more photos taken over the past few years in their rather small garage workshop,
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Calcutta-Collector/Restorers-Shashi Kanoria-1.jpg  

Calcutta-Collector/Restorers-Shashi Kanoria-3.jpg  

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Calcutta-Collector/Restorers-Shashi Kanoria-4.jpg  

Calcutta-Collector/Restorers-Shashi Kanoria-2.jpg  

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Old 3rd March 2009, 08:28   #14
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A few photos of the 1914 Wolseley Limo-Landaulet and the 1923 Rolls that many years ago he used as his daily driver.
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Calcutta-Collector/Restorers-Shashi Kanoria-3.jpg  

Calcutta-Collector/Restorers-Shashi Kanoria-calcutta-065.jpg  

Calcutta-Collector/Restorers-Shashi Kanoria-5.jpg  

Calcutta-Collector/Restorers-Shashi Kanoria-4.jpg  

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Old 3rd March 2009, 08:46   #15
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Some poor shots of a very rare 1923 Moon from the U.S. and photos of the Citron starting restoration up to the first test drive late December getting ready for the Tolly and Statesman Car shows.
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