The fifth Cartier “Travel with style” Concours d’Elegance concluded yesterday, with a bedazzling spread of the finest vintage and classic cars in India covering the palace grounds of the Taj Falaknuma in Hyderabad. The Concours is arguably the most prestigious and authentic vintage car and bike show in India, with curators and collectors from across the country displaying cars and motorcycles going all the way back to the dawn of the automotive age.
The cars and motorcycles are then assessed on their quality of restoration and preservation by a slew of some of the most accomplished men and women in the world, including the likes of Giacomo Agostini – the most successful motorcycle GP racer in history, Professor Gordon Murray – creator of the legendary McLaren F1, FIA President Jean Todt etc.
For 2017, the judges assessed cars across multiple categories including American and European pre-war classics. There’s also a more specific American Aerodynamique category – a perfect example of which is the gorgeous, snub-nosed 1936 Cord 810, restored by Viveck Goenka –designed during the heyday of the American art-deco era. European and British roadsters, the likes of which can never exist today thanks to federal safety regulations, also peppered the Falaknuma grounds along with Veteran-vintage, pre-war and post-war motorcycles (both American and European)– the sort that require a bit of carbide to light up the headlamps, and tendons of steel to get the kickstarter going.
The Concours d’Elegance taps into India’s centennial tradition of vintage car ownership, preservation and restoration – a collection which accrued after over two centuries of British rule in the country bringing the maharajas in contact with some of the most luxurious automobiles in the world (India is home to some of the biggest vintage Rolls-Royce collections in the world). Thankfully a lot of them have taken painstaking efforts at keeping the cars in mint condition – a challenge that requires innumerable man-hours and not inconsiderable financial resources. Case in point: a 1949 Bristol 400 – which was resurrected from its ashes – essentially a heap of rusted metal bones found deep underground in the suburbs of Mumbai. The emerald-green Bristol you see here was put together in an astounding 8 months after her ressurectors secured blueprints, spares, fabricated body parts and one half of an original chassis from across the globe. You might want to add a near-maniacal fondness for all things automotive to the list of pre-requisites for such a hobby.
Published at Mon, 06 Feb 2017 09:11:15 +0000