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Vintage car journey — From showpieces to money spinners

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on August 13, 2013 Published on August 13, 2013

Owners are earning big bucks by renting out their vintage cars. — Shashi Ashiwal

You may think vintage cars come out once a year for a rally conducted by some car enthusiasts and old money tycoons. And that they will remain in the garage the rest of the year with faithful family retainers applying spit and polish to keep them sparkling and raring to go for the next rally.

No more. For, vintage is in. Twenty-four–year-old Abhishek Singh, an entrepreneur in Mumbai, is a proud inheritor of four classic old cars from his parents. He has found a business opportunity in these vintage cars. During marriage season, his favourite 1958 Buick fetches nothing less than Rs 1 lakh for just four hours! Of course, the trend of using heritage vehicles is still restricted to the wealthy, says Singh, who also runs an online marketplace for home-made food. Singh now wants to tap the vintage car opportunity online.

There are many like Singh who are earning big bucks by renting out their vintage cars. Yahesh, another car enthusiast in Mumbai, was so much in demand that he posted ads on online classifieds site Olx.in. It gave him quick visibility too. Amarjit Batra, founder of Olx.in, says there are about 3,000 vintage cars in India and many who own these vehicles such as Morris from 1948, 1947 Austin, 1958 Opel and 1964 Mercedes Benz, want to monetise them either by selling them or renting them for marriages or photo shoots. Also, many tourists are known to hire these cars for longer periods.

“It is fetching good money. We have seen about 300 listings within a year on our portal and most of these cars fetch a good Rs 2 lakh to Rs 25 lakh. Posting ads online is a better and efficient way to deal with these cars,” Batra says. People were searching for such rare cars online, providing a great opportunity, Batra added. For many, owning a vintage car or being associated with these beauties in any form is considered a status symbol, even gives them a feeling of royalty.

However, not every one wants to make a business out of it. S. S. Ahlawat, a resident of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, and a retired major general, had three vintage cars but decided to sell them as he was getting old and wanted someone who could take care of these cars just as he used to. He sold his cars online.

>priyanka.pani@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 13, 2013
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