There is no dearth of vintage cars in India. In fact, ours was a country of car lovers. From the Maharajas of the pre-independent India to wealthy collectors, many people have acquired exotic automobiles and restored them to their former glory. Now, you can witness the bygone era of automobiles through these vintage car museums in India.
Cars have come a long way since Karl Benz invented the automobile in 1885. They have evolved from expensive toys for the privileged to transportation essentials. One might also argue that in the process, modern cars have become too clinical, losing the sparkle that once defined automobiles. And so, people still ogle and drool at the sleek, chic aesthetic of vintage cars. Petrolheads, particularly, love classic cars because they are simple vehicles devoid of any driving aids. The driver has to put all the focus while using them.
Vintage car museums in India —
Vintage and Classic Car Museum, Udaipur
If you want to see vintage cars in their natural habitat, you have to check this museum in Udaipur. Nestled amidst palatial palaces and luxury hotels, the Vintage and Classic Car Museum in Udaipur is sure to take you back in time. This museum features cars collected by Rajasthan’s wealthy Maharajas. As you would expect from a royal collection, there are as many as four Rolls Royces, two Cadillacs, and several rare examples of Mercedes Benz models. Other brands include MG, Ford, Morris, Vauxhall and Jeep. Some of the cars in the museum date back to 1900, and all of them are in running condition. Also on display are old chariots and a defunct Shell fuel station. A small café makes the experience all the more special.
Auto World, Ahmedabad
Pranlal Bhogilal remains one of India’s best-known car collectors. At the peak of his obsession, he had over 200 cars, including 36 Rolls Royces! All the cars are located across his numerous estates in the country. He established a museum in Ahmedabad, which is open to the public and houses over 100 of Bhogilal’s rich collections. Apart from over a dozen Rolls Royce, his collection comprises lesser-known brands like Lagonda, Packard, Hispano, and Hudson. His collection is dominated by high-end British and American automotive brands. You can also see some fine examples of coachbuilders such as Figoni & Falchi, Baker, and HJ Muller. A few motorbikes and carriages complete this massive collection.
Ashvek Vintage World, Goa
Situated on the Panjim-Madgaon highway, Ashvek Vintage World, was established was set up by Pradeep Naik to make the youth aware of automotive history. The museum restores old cars to running condition, and some of their cars are used for photoshoots and weddings. Some unique cars in the museum include a stretched VW Beetle and the Vidal Tempo of 1936, which served as a command car for the Nazi Army. Other noteworthy cars include Chevrolet Fleet Master, Mercedes-Benz 170, Austin 128, among others. In addition to maintaining classic cars, Ashvek also organises vintage car rallies in Goa.
Heritage and Transport Museum, Gurgaon
If you want a complete understanding of the history of transportation in India, this is the place to go. The 90,000 sq. ft. museum is located at Taoru, near Gurgaon, is a treasure house of all sorts of old vehicles. It aims to educate the visitors about the evolution of transportation. This is India’s first comprehensive transport museum. In addition to cars like the 1985 Citroen BX Sedan, 1968 Volkswagen Kombi Van T2, 1954 Hindustan Landmaster, the museum boasts 1,800 enamel advertising signs and toys that date back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Old chariots and motorbikes can be found here, too. Moreover, there is a library, a mini auditorium, and a restaurant facility.