It’s like the saying goes, old is gold. Vintage items have a special value in people’s hearts as well as the market. Vintage cars, especially, are a much-coveted item today in the country. But with great value, comes great responsibility. Restoring old cars is an art and Team Beacon Kolkata caught up with Mostakin Jamadar, winner of the best-restored vintage car in Kolkata in 2015’s Statesman Vintage Car Rally.
How did you develop a taste for vintage cars?
My father had two vintage cars – one Chevrolet and the other one was a Dodge. He used to tell me about how smooth they used to be, that if you kept a glass of water on the dashboard, it would go undisturbed. Hence from a very young age, I have grown up with an interest in vintage cars.
Unfortunately, my father’s cars were destroyed in the floods of ’78, and he had sold the scraps at Mullick Bazaar. After that, I decided that I wanted to have a vintage car of my own, and I began actively searching for ways to make that dream come true.
How did you source and restore your first vintage car?
After a lot of searching, I found a Morris at Saltlake. Half of it was buried underground, so we went there and dug it out and brought it to a garage. After consulting with a mechanic, I began working on restoring it. Every day from 1 pm to 6 pm I used to work with the car, looking at designs online and trying to build it from scratch. The bumper, body and the doors are hand-made, they are copies of the original. It took about 9.5 months to complete, and this was back in 2012.
How does one acquire such a car that he/she wants to restore?
The whole process takes quite some effort, actually. You need to keep in touch with old mechanics in the city and sometimes they give us hints about places/houses where we can find such cars. Then we need to approach the family to talk about the car because usually the cars have been in the family for generations and people always don’t want to give them up easily.
Tell us a little bit about this particular car.
This is a Morris Minor. It was manufactured in Oxford, England. The engine is 803cc. And even though it’s a minor, it has four doors. This car won the best-restored car in the 2015 Statesman Vintage Car Rally.
What do you think of the millennial’s attitude towards vintage cars?
The current generation really loves these vintage cars. There is demand for them in the market. Whenever I go out with the car, I often get stopped on the streets because people want to take a picture with the car.
What’s your advice to anyone who wants to restore a vintage car?
You need to have strong willpower to restore a car and build it back up from scratch. Only time and money won’t be enough to suffice. You need to have sufficient knowledge about the car before restoring it. Apart from that, there are a few garages that restore cars but it doesn’t have the same impact as doing it with your own hands- that’s a different thrill altogether! My advice would be to invest your own time and resources in restoring the car, and not depend on garages to do it.