Srinagar: The first vintage car exhibition in Kashmir received a spectacular response on Sunday with people thronging the venue where nearly 100 cars of olden times were displayed.
The Kashmir Off Road group organised the show at Nigeen Club, which also featured vintage two-wheelers.
Latif Ahmad Bhat, 60, one of the participants, said he was excited as he drove his car – a 1960 Fiat – from home to bring it to the venue.
“It was called Prime Minister’s car in Kashmir because Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad bought it in 1950s and drove it in a rally in Srinagar. It became a craze among people and then my grandfather also bought one,” Bhat said.
“I am lucky to inherit this car. I am trying hard to keep it for my next generation,” Bhat said.
Another participant, Ashfaq Mujeeb aka Adam, who displayed four of his cars, said: “The event will make people aware about vintage cars and they will start looking at cars in a different way.”
He mentioned the 1966 Chevrolet Impala, the 1960 DeSoto and the 1942 Fleet Master as cars being particularly close to his heart. “These are both vintage and luxurious cars. The first owners have kept and maintained them like their children, which is why we see them glittering today,” Adam said.
“I am also in the process to restore a 1936 Austin which was damaged in the floods (of 2014),” he said.
The oldest car in the show was a 1942 Chevrolet Fleet Master. Ali Sajid, the founder of Kashmir Off Roads, told Kashmir Reader that the car was still in drivable condition and its owners do drive it.
“This show is something which we always wanted to organise. It takes us down the memory lane. We often forget our history and heritage, which are what identify us. Such shows will bring back those memories. The event is special for children as they learn about their past,” he said.
Other landmark cars included Volkswagen Beetle (1966), Morris Minor (1952), Chevrolet Impala (1966), Nissan Jonga and Fiat (1960). There was a huge footfall of visitors, mostly families and teenagers.
“It is a joyous day for me, as I am watching cars of my grandfather’s time,” said Fida-ul-Noor, a Class 8 student.
Another student, Salman Ali, said he was a car enthusiast and was thrilled with the event. “My favourite car was the Beetle, as it was cute and well maintained. Its colour was also my favourite,” he said.
According to the organisers, 10 vintage and classic cars in running condition and 20 off-road cars were displayed at the event.
Tourism Secretary Sarmad Hafeez inaugurated the exhibition which was jointly organised with ‘Kashmir Off-Road’ by the Tourism Department.