Glamour, women and vintage cars come together to rally for girl child


New Delhi : An all-women vintage car rally in the capital Sunday brought at least 75 classic and vintage automobiles to roll for the cause of the girl child from the Red Fort to the India Gate.

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The rally was flagged off by designer Ritu Beri.

The proceeds from the rally “Badhte Kadam – Rally for the Girl Child” will help educate 20 poor girls from Chaman, a non-profit group that works for underprivileged children.

The rally was also a tribute to that period in history when women took to the wheels, symbolising freedom and equality in a male-dominated society.

The heritage line-up of cars and two-wheelers, which assembled outside the Red Fort in the morning, flaunted timeless specimens of automotive history like a 1947 Buick that once ferried the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, a 1919 Wolseley, a variety of Ford sedans and saloons from the 1940s and 1950s, Mercedes automobiles from the 1930s to the 1950s and several classic Chevrolets.

Designer Ritu Beri, who checked out all the models personally, said vintage automobiles were inspiring. “They are beautiful vehicles with great shapes. Who knows my next collection may come from these cars,” she told IANS.

For driver Sharon Sethi and navigator Shivani Tandon, driving a vintage automobile was a new experience.

“This is the first time I am driving a vintage car, it is very different, I got a feel of it yesterday at a test drive. Unlike the Honda City which I drive to work, the 1947 Buick Convertible that I am driving has hand gears. We are used to floor gears,” said Sethi, an employee of the Standard Chartered Bank.

Subhra Banerjee, who was at the wheel of a red 1937 Mercedes Roadster, was a little worried. “This is a very delicate vehicle. I am trying to reach the footboard of the car with the help of a cushion,” said the diminutive Banerjee.

Rupali Lamba, wife of a Army colonel who is serving in Kashmir, steered her 1943 Ford (World War II) jeep.

“The only difference is that it has a left hand drive. This is the first time, I am driving a jeep,” she said.

The history of women behind the wheels is woven with the feminist movement at the turn of the last century and the fight for women’s suffrage in US.

In India, Muslim “begums” and Hindu princesses of the late 19th and the early 20th century were the first women to take to the wheel. The Begum of Bhopal was rumoured to have fled her estate in a 1930s Pontiac convertible when her estate was annexed to independent India. She abandoned her car at an airstrip.

“When women took to the wheels, they redefined the attitude towards cars, their use and their design,” Diljeet Titus, general secretary of the Heritage Motoring Club of India (HMCI) said.