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The Historic Vehicle Movement in Karnataka, India is in full swing. The Karnataka Vintage and Classic Car Club (KVCCC) is one of the oldest clubs in the country, established in 1979. In order to appeal to a young audience in a country that has more than 50% of it’s population under the age of 30, the club recently elected an entirely new committee under the guidance of its senior members. What is special about this committee is that, it not only has a large youth representation, with it’s youngest Committee Member being 28 years, but is also proud to be the first club in India to have a women Vice President.

To celebrate this welcomed change, the club organized it’s very first outstation Classic Car Drive and Treasure Hunt of 360 kilometers, inspired by a recent event organized by their neighbours, the Ceylon Classic Car Club. Since the club was experimenting with this new format, participation was limited to 20 vehicles. Cars and bikes from across the city sent in their entries. Participants ranged from the early 1930 Austins to the roaring cats, the Jaguar E- Type, Jaguar MK VII, to the gorgeous American Buick, everybody’s favourite Beetles, the MGB, the flamboyant Lincoln Zephyr and the trusted Landmaster, Fiats and Lambretta.

29 th July was the day of the event. Agreeing to an early start, cars drove in to the meeting point outside Bangalore City. The weather was perfect, the sun was just rising and a cool breeze wafted about. Excitement loomed all around as participants were briefed about the sequence of events.

Vehicles were given a Bogey Time of exactly 2 hours to reach their first pit stop. A minute early and they lose 2 points, a minute late and they lose 1 point. In addition, clues were set at approximate intervals of 5 kilometers. These clues involved paying close attention to sign boards, running into stores to collect souvenirs, multilingual hints to decode landmarks, and so on. Each right answer led to 2 points and bonus tasks of collecting local bus tickets and taking selfies with the ever-so- friendly cows led to a whopping 4 points, each. Watches were synchronized, questions went back and forth and finally with a loud cheer the group was set to take off. Vehicles lined up for the flag off. Cars were seen with participants, especially the little ones, all huddled up together, leaning over the front, eagerly opening the clues and peering out of the windows to be the first to spot them.

Two hours had flown by and before we knew it cars were driving into their first pit stop. Participants were waving their filled answer sheets with immense pride. Children were running up proclaiming how they “didn’t miss even one answer”! Once the sheets were submitted, everyone was eager to compare notes and share stories of the mini adventures that they had just encountered in order to gain those golden points.

After breakfast, participants were now warmed up for Part II. ‘What’s next? What’s next?’ was the constant murmur that went around. The second stretch had beautiful highways with minimal traffic so the drivers got to enjoy the sounds of their engines as their cars effortlessly cruised along. Vigorous hand waves, winks and grins were exchanged.

The final destination was a 2 hour and 30 minute drive from the pit stop. As the cars were approaching the end of the drive, the scenery changed. The road opened up to a magnificent view of the large Krishna Sagar Dam with beautiful gardens overlooking it. Right in the middle, was the grand heritage palace hotel, awaiting us with loud drums, music and garlands for our arrival. One would think four and a half hours of driving in the hot sun would dampen the spirits, but not for our participants. The rhythm of the drums got everyone moving to the beats and joining in with the festivities.

After a leisure lunch and rest, it was time for the final part of the event, the ‘Pagal Gymkhana’. In an empty ground, cones were laid out and participants had to reverse, zig zag and circle their way through them.

Every single member was pepped up, thanks to a loud countdown. Adrenaline pumping sounds of high revs and the sweet smell of burning petrol filled the air. With a final shout of ‘GO!’ they were off swaying and sliding and having the time of their lives with their true loves, these beautiful vintage vehicles. It was the end of the day, but the enthusiasm seemed to have only gained momentum.

At the end of the day, it was more than just a treasure hunt or a classic car drive. It was an experience that built immense solidarity, affection and fondness between a group of extremely passionate individuals. There was immense respect for each other’s cars and for completing the challenge. Whether the participants were aged 4 or 80, everyone was competing with incredibly sincerity and enthusiasm.

New friends made, old friends caught up and fond memories made that would linger on.

The icing on the cake was the witness of a new generation of passionate youngsters who would ensure the preservation and protection of these timeless automobiles for years to come.

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