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Art & Culture

Shillong Roads Go Nostalgic

Saidul Khan
Shillong roads dazzled with sleek and seductive looks as the vintage and classic cars with air pump horns, kerosene-lit

head-lights, elegant wheels, feather-packed seats, stylish windscreens and mind-boggling bottoms.

Born as far back as in 1904, Ford Model T, which featured in Richard Attenborough's celebrated movie 'Gandhi', rolled through the streets of Shillong on October 28 taking part in 'The Shillong Vintage and Classic Car Pageant 2007'.

"It was the first mass produced Ford, in fact it was also the world's first mass produced car. The car remains an icon today even after about 100 years of its existence," says Honsen Lyngdoh, owner of the historic four-wheeler.

Organized as part of the annual Autumn Festival, the vintage care pageant, organized after a gap of 27 years in the city was aimed at making "owners of such priceless vehicles take care of their precious possessions", said Ashoke Lyngdoh, the man behind the entire exercise.  

"We want to encourage people who own vintage cars to take care of these precious vehicles and not let these rot in the garage," Ashoke, who himself is the proud owner of a Morris 8 car says.

"This car was used by the British Army at the start of the Second World War as wireless cars," Ashoke informs.

Manufactured in 1927, the Austin 7 was born because of financial crisis that followed the First World War and the car was designed to be affordable to the masses and was one of the most popular cars in the 1930's, which the British Army affectionately called 'Prams'.  

Following Indian Independence in 1947, the United Kingdom's Standard Company brokered a deal with the Indian Government to set up a car making facility in Madras (Chennai) and the Standard Motor Products of India or Stampro was born in 1948.  

A Standard 10, manufactured in 1955 and owned by J P Baruah was one of the major attractions in the car pageant here.

"These old beauties should not be broken into scraps, for all of them have a history behind them. They are part of our collective heritage," underlines Cabinet minister R G Lyngdoh, chairman of the Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum, which organized the "Vintage Car Pageant" as part of the ongoing Autumn Festival.      

Pix: Saidul Khan