MYSURU: It is not very often that you see old vehicles on the roads, but Mysuru, one of India’s most popular tourist destinations, is witnessing an increase in the demand for vintage scooters.
The old city, which has a number of Lambrettas, Priyas and Vespas, besides Lunas and Jawas, is where buyers are heading.
The prices of these old scooters have skyrocketed in the heritage city as many foreigners, Goans, and residents of Hubballi, Bengaluru, Belagavi and neighbouring Maharashtra come in search of collectibles.
Many foreigners, camping in Goa and Mysuru, buy vintage scooters here and sell them to people in the UK and other countries in Europe.
Though the city had many 1960s-70s vintage scooters, they were considered scrap-worthy, and sold for throwaway prices. While some owners wanted to buy newer models, others had no parking space. Many owners found it difficult to run their vehicles because of the non-availability of spare parts.
However, with the surge in demand for vintage scooters, owners are repairing their vehicles and are refusing to sell them like before. Some in Mysuru are shelling out good money to get their old beauties in shape.
Taj, a mechanic on Ramavilas Road, has repaired more than 40 scooters of the 1960s and 70s vintage. He said he sources some of the spare parts like headlights, kickers and chasses from Bengaluru and Delhi. He said more than 25 scooters have been purchased by foreigners in Goa, and by customers from Bengaluru, Hubballi, Madikere and other cities.
One vintage scooter buff you seen in Mysuru is Mock, a foreigner. He has bought more than 15 scooters, and got them repaired before taking them to Goa and European destinations. The customers buy scooters bearing the registration number of the state and ensure that all the records are up-to-date. They even live in the city for three to four months to supervise the repair work and ensure they get the ‘right’ vintage look, he said.
Taj said many people come to mechanics like him because the others only want to work with newer vehicles and make fast money. “However, I have a sense of satisfaction when I work on a vintage scooter. I ensure it requires very little maintenance for at least the next five years,” he said.
Taj’s brother Sadiq Pasha has another take on the issue. He feels in the case of vintage scooters, the returns are less as most of the money goes on transportation and purchase of the spare parts.
Youth, who have a craze for speed bikes, have also developed an interest for vintage scooters. They feel that if they move around on these vehicles, they get noticed faster even at crowded junctions. “People should develop a love for vintage vehicles, said Babu, who paints on vintage scooters and bikes, adding that the youth of today have developed a craze for Yezdis too.