Cars are in the Parsi DNA since the day automobiles were invented, or so it seems ! It is no surprise that some of the top automobile restorers, journalists, organizers and most importantly owners and collectors are Parsis.
One such gentleman is Perseus Bandrawalla who organized the 2020 Mercedes Benz Classic Car Rally to end 2020.
From a parsi angle we have a number of well known Parsi families that participate in the event year on year. Some of the star cars this year belonged to Mr. Behram Dubash a 300 Adenauer and the Mistry family’s 220S Cabriolet which is believed to be an engagement present for Mrs. Mistry back in the day. Other entries included ad guy Rayomand Patell, collector Sharoukh Engineer, lawyer Purazar Fouzdar, Sam Katgar partner at Jeena and Neville Poonawalla -owner of Rage Motorsport amongst others.
In addition, I’ve been curator of the rally since the first edition in 2014. The event is organised by Autocar India. Autocar is the world’s oldest magazine and Mercedes is the oldest car manufacturer in the world. This year’s event was held at the Taj Lands End. Indian Hotels is probably the oldest hotel chain in India too. The publisher and Editor of Autocar India is Hormazd Sorabjee, – son of Soli Sorabjee. I am a freelance automobile consultant and columnist and also work closely with other automobile brands.
Rayomand J. Patell winging it in his 560SEC aka Vader
We conceptualized the event over a cup of coffee at the Willingdon Sports Club back in 2014. The event is now India’s no.1 classic car show and one of the most prestigious and largest one make classic car shows in the world.
The event has completely revitalized the classic car movement in India. Attached are some photographs of Hormazd and me (me being on the left).
Perseus Bandrawalla (left) and Hormazd Sorabjee
And in true Parsi style, Rayomand inculcates the love for cars in the next generation, seen here with his son Jehaan, who’s tall enough to drive and am sure itching to also.
Some of India’s most immaculately maintained Mercedes-Benz models were on display at the seventh edition of the annual Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Rally (MBCCR), which was held this morning at the Taj Lands End in Bandra. The MBCCR was conducted with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols and regulations.
The event, which has been organised by Autocar India since 2014, saw participation from several prominent faces on the classic car scene. These included Viveck Goenka with his Mercedes-Benz Nurburg; Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad and his 230SL, and, among others, industrialist Gautam Singhania and his 190SL.
This year’s event was themed around resilience, and also felicitated women police officers of Mumbai who are among the people who have kept Mumbai ticking since March.
Maharashtra Home Minister Shri Anil Deshmukh, who was the chief guest at the event, said, “For the last nine to ten months, we have all been fighting back against the pandemic. The Mumbai Police has lost several of its officers and constables, but our brave police officers are not going to give up and the fight will go on as long as it takes. I’m extremely happy to see events such as these recognising their service to society in this unprecedented time.”
The participating cars drove in a convoy over the Bandra-Worli Sea Link from Taj Lands End to Worli Dairy and back, and the sight of these ‘rolling museums on wheels’ attracted, as always, a lot of attention from onlookers and fellow road-users. Over 40 cars participated in the rally this year — entries were limited to conform to Covid-19 regulations — and these included every generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL, S-Class and E-Class in almost every body style. They were accompanied by, besides the Nurburg, the 230SL and the 190SL, cars from Mercedes’ 170V range.
“It’s a pleasure to see so many ‘car-proud’ participants, men and women who are proud of the heritage and innovation of Mercedes-Benz cars and have taken great pains to keep their cars immaculately maintained,” said Santosh Iyer, vice-president, sales & marketing, Mercedes-Benz India. “At the same time, we at Mercedes-Benz have been relentlessly supporting the state and central governments in the fight against Covid-19, and we will continue doing our bit until the fight is over.”
The MBCCR ranks among the most prestigious one-make events of its kind in the world and a consistent participation from Mercedes-Benz owners has put the event on the global classic car enthusiasts’ map.
“This year’s MBCCR event is a special one. This ‘rally for resilience’, emerging from a truly trying year, is best represented by these classic Mercedes-Benz cars that have remained resilient against the test of time.” said rally curator and Autocar India classic car expert Perseus Bandrawalla.
Shri. Anil Deshmukh, Hon. Home Minister, Maharashtra and Mr. Santosh Iyer, vice-president, sales & marketing, Mercedes-Benz India flagging off the rally.