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Heritage Bangalore Vintage Car

Car: Austin 14
Year: 1939
Owner: Cheshire Homes India (King and Partridge oversaw the sale, they were solicitors to the estate of McGucken, who originally owned the house)
Story: Sulaiman moved from Coimbatore to Bangalore and started his career as a junior engineer. He bought his first car an Austin 14 (1939) for Rs 4000 in 1979. After buying the car he drove the car to 2 Stroke Motors. “They were known for their painting and body shop work. It was restored in no time and I was bitten by the bug.”

Wheels of Fortune

19 April 2012

For Bangalore-based Sulaiman Jamal a car isn’t just steel, paint, plastic, leather and rubber - it has personality and soul - and he cannot bear to see any of them corrode and die. He has made it his life’s quest to acquire vintage cars and have them restored to their original pomp and glory. It began in 1979 when he bought his first car, an Austin 14 (1939), wheeled it into a garage, and had it painstakingly restored. “Soon after I bought my first vintage car I was bitten by the bug, the love affair began and the search still continues,” he says. “Cars are either a passion or an investment. In my case I buy them because I love to restore them. The day you turn it into a business you stop enjoying it.” He houses his cars and bikes in a huge house in Whitefield, Bangalore. Unlike a lot of vintage car collectors, his purpose for acquiring the cars is to see them restored. Sulaiman has to physically inspect a car and form a ‘bond’ with it before he buys it and has changed his mind about cars in the past after he had seen them. “The car talks to you, sometimes I have given an advance on a car and then taken the money back because the car repelled me (Chevy Impala-1961). The owner obliged, so instead of the car I bought 200 clocks from the person,” claims Sulaiman. Being a sentimental man, Sulaiman believes in keeping in touch with the previous owners and allows their children and grandchildren to see the cars and even drive them. He’s not just crazy about cars. His love of restoration led him buy an old British Victorian bungalow close to his house. Once ready, the bungalow will house a lot of the antique furniture that he has sourced. He also acquires and restores bikes, furniture, musical instruments and clocks. Quite the maverick, he can play seven musical instruments, and also loves listening and talking about music. In his day job he spends time making bevel gears at his factory Bevel Gears India. TEXT: NELSON MOSES. PHOTOGRAPHS: LEONARD AARONS