KOZHIKODE: Keeping an elderly travel companion is like having a trustworthy guide throughout the journey, so is the experience of the 554 members, who have joined under a Facebook group, ‘Vintagers Calicut,’ with vehicles which were built more than 30 years ago. Founded almost a year ago, the mission was to share the knowledge and experience regarding vintage vehicles and enquire about the spare parts, which are not available like the new vehicle parts in the market.
The group conducted rallies on Republic Day and Independence Day and is planning to hold a trip to Wayanad during the Onam holidays, to promote the message of afforestation.
“The oldest vehicle in the group is an Austin, manufactured in 1938. Praveen Kumar, doing business in the city, is its owner. There are around 30 cars in the group. We want to see India retaining its position in the market. Lambretta and Vespa had ruled the Indian roads at one time,” says group admin Nidhin Kandamparambath.
“There is another group in Kayamkulam called ‘Rare Enginez,’ which is also interested in vintage vehicles and we discuss with each other about the availability of certain spare parts. If somebody from that group seeks a particular part available in Kozhikode, we buy and send it to him or at least make sure that the person has received it, and vice versa,” says Nidhin.
“Old spare part replicas are brought mainly from New Delhi. Here, they are available at Omega Store,” he says. The vintage collection lovers keep their vehicles purely due to their love for them and a period that revokes old memories. The average mileage for the scooters is 30 to 35 and for the cars it is 10 to 12.
“Many come asking for the vehicles for keeping them on rent in front of showrooms. But I haven’t given them. They may give `3,000 to `4,000 per month. But the vehicles may get spoiled. I bought them for daily use,” says Nidhin, who owns a Priya, manufactured in 1983 and a Vijay Super Mark II and Chetak, both manufactured in 1984.
The users say, when they ride these oldie bikes and scooters, they garner more attention. Youngsters and elders like them.
Though they keep an oldie vehicle at home, there are people who solely depend on their single car or scooter that they bought almost 30 years ago.
A K Dayanand, who retired as a Central government employee and who currently works as the monitoring authority for the Ministry of Rural Development, owns a 1980 model Premier Padmini and a 1985 model Bajaj Super, gifted by the Bhutan government. “For nearly 30 years, I have been using both these vehicles. Throughout my career, I had official vehicles and never thought of buying another car or bike. My children and grandchildren learnt driving in this car. We have an emotional attachment to these vehicles,” says Dayanand.
Nidhin says that though the town has women riding heavy bikes, they do not seem to be interested in vintage vehicles.
“Kick-starting might be one reason, and the vehicles sometimes stop functioning all of a sudden. And they do not want to be stuck midway and repair them,” he says.