Published On: Tue, May 14th, 2013

special feature Kajah motorsport

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There are two types of car lovers. One group like the fast and furious, modern and sleek, super bikes and cars. But the second group are compassionate about old cars. But owning and maintaining a classic car is not that easy. Even in our state, there are many classic car fans and aspiring owners. These cars are also exhibited at a few places where a handful of connoisseurs gather. This time, we went to Guruvayoor expecting such an event.
Kajah Motorsport, under the ownership of leading business firm Rajah Group, had announced that they would hold a vintage car show and carnival in connection with the Guruvayoor festival. This seemed like an opportunity never to be missed.
It had been well after noon when we reached the Rajah auditorium in Muthuvatoor. A huge crowd which included car lovers and media persons had gathered here. Slicing through the crowd, the first thing that met our eyes was a horse cart from the eighteenth century. This beauty stood on a trailer right next to the entrance gate. This sight added fire to our engines, and pushed ahead to see the other wonders. The huge collection of cars from different eras was displayed in a neat form right infront of our eyes. It took our breath and heartbeat away. To witness a vintage car show and rally is like seeing great men from bygone eras coming alive infront of us. There were just fourteen cars which took part in the event. Also, Kajah Motorsports’ own creation Striker was present too.
The announcement for the flag off sounded. The gueast and visitors around the visitors crowded around the gate. The revered high priest of Guruvayoor, Brahmashree Chennas Dineshan Namboothirippad flagged off the event. The car to lead the pack was a 1935 model Austin 7 Ruby (a variant of Baby Austin). The Austin was made complete with the starting handle, a prominent landmark of vintage cars. Another amusing factor about the car was its horn. The horn was sounded by rotating it with the hand. Right behind was the 1948 model Peugeot 203. Even though this white car has a slight resemblance to the Morris Minor, the grille and bonnet look different.
We decided to walk the talk, or rather, ride the talk with the rally itself. Do you see a pretty wagon made out of wood and brass? That is the 1945 model Chevrolet MPV! We got into the MPV with one of the youngsters of the Raja Group, Shuhaib. The steering wheel and interiors are fully made of wood. The MPV’s seats or benches face each other. It was one of the people movers of olden times.

1945 Chevrolet MPV

This was probably the most unique vehicle in the parade. The round eyed lowrider has a split windscreen. The split is made out of wood. Parts of the body and seats are made carved out of wood too

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1946 Oldsmobile

America witnessed the beginning of muscular cars through Oldsmobile and Pontiac. What we see here is the 1946 model Oldsmobile 60 series. The Oldsmobile is roundish in shape which was the symbol of the forties. A big fourspoke grille gives the Oldsmobile a stern look. The elongated bonnet and an even longer and rounder mudguard give it a unique majesty.

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1928 Ford Model ‘A’

Right after the best selling model ‘T’ dethroned itself after eighteen long years of reign model ‘A’ was rightly crowned in the former’s place. Model ‘A’ exemplified the beauty of the vintage era. This is one of the rare vintage Ford models still ‘alive’ in our midst.

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1933 Chevrolet Eagle

It was the 1930s. Chevrolet’s competition with Ford was at its fiercest. Eagle helped Chevrolet secure the first position in the American car market. The one we see here is the four door version of the Eagle. The Eagle has 3.4 litre six cylinder engine.

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1946 Hudson Super Six

Upon hearing the name Hudson, the stern looking Hudson Hornet in the animated movie Cars would first come to mind. The Super Six existed in the arena even before the Hornet. The Super Six sold 61,787 units in 1946 alone being one of the Hudson Company’s bestselling models.

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1945 Ford

This is one of the most important models which came out after the Second World War. In the 1940s, we see that the models were not given special names and instead were known by their year. This model was the inspiration by which Ford later manufactured Mercury cars. The engine available those days were the 3.6 litre, 3.9 litre flathead V8 engine and the 3.7 litre inline 6 cylinder engine.

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1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster

The Chevrolet Fleetmaster was a rare model which was released only from 1946 to 1948. The three spoked grille which is laid along the whole length is a feature which distinguishes this car. the Fleetmaster has the same roundish side fenders which we saw earlier in the Oldsmobile. This car was powered by a 3.5 litre six cylinder engine.

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1926 Chevrolet Superior

This is the 1926 model of Chevrolet Superior which was first manufactured in Detroit in 1923. It was also known as Series V. The 2.8 litre four cylinder engine, which belonged to the vintage era, delivered an output of 20 hp at 2000 rpm. It had three speed transmission.

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1963 Potiac Parisien

The Parisien was yet another full size car from Pontiac which was known for its pony cars and muscle cars. The split grille and headlamps bore resemblance to another model Tempest. The Parisien was aimed at the market outside of America. This car had options of seven engines and four transmissions including two automatic ones.

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1954 Dodge Kingsway

This is one of the cars in the Dodge Kingsway Series, one of the muscular cars of America. But the Kingsway series cars were all rebadged versions of the Plymouth cars. Incorporating only a few namesake changes, these cars were aimed solely for exporting. It was said that the Premier Automobiles in our state had carried out the assembling for Kingsway and Savoy models.

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1940 Morris 8

This is the Morris 8 which was manufactured between 1938 and 1948. The 1938 model is quite different from the previous model that appeared in 1935. The front is beautified with the ‘waterfall’ style grille. The Morris 8 had a 918 cc four cylinder engine. It had 29 hp power and a maximum speed of 93 kph. The Morris 8 reminds us of the present day Ford Prefect.

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Kajah’s collection also includes a camper van used by the Indian military in the 1990s. The exceptional ground clearance and the heavy tires of this van was eye candy to the viewers standing nearby. The hovercraft which is used at Rajah Group’s ayurvedic resort Raja Island was present too. After the rally, the cars entered the Kajah garage one after the other. The two storied garage has many priceless car models which are waiting for restoration. Such a car collection could be a rare sight even in the whole of India.
A few moments ago, we saw a sight beside the exhibition area. A dodge truck from the war eras, the remnants of a muscle car which has decomposed beyond recognition, and a rusted bike and its side car. Atop this pile, a small piece of paper had this written: “We will be reborn, just like the rest of them”.
This is an old world challenge, one which was filled with determination and willpower. Our eyes welled up for a brief moment there. Just like humans, cars have a lifetime of achievement, after which they spend their time in such exhibitions. The effort taken to save these cars from extinction is commendable. For some people, having a vintage car gives more meaning than owning any other car.

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