Mangaluru’s best vintage car fanatic

Team Udayavani, Dec 12, 2020, 7:30 PM IST

Mangaluru: Bajpe resident D Ratnakar Bhandari has developed the rare hobby of vintage car collection for many years now.

In the past 15 years, he has bought 18 vintage British and American cars and currently owns three – a Morris Minor, an Austin, a Herald and a Willys.

Fourteen years ago, Bhandari bought the American Willys for Rs 20,000 in New Delhi and later refurbished and upgraded it at a cost of Rs 7 lakhs in Mangaluru.

When he learned that the Jadeja family in Gujarat is selling their 1937-model British Austin 7 Ruby, he bought it for Rs 8 lakhs. Later he restored it at Rs 16 lakhs. As the car’s original engine was working good, he purchased its spare parts in an online bid in the UK.

The 1951 Morris Minor was brought from Gadag seven years ago. For this car too he had to buy spare parts from Britain at a cost of Rs 10 lakh.

He bought the Indo-British open-top Standard Herald from Uttar Pradesh three years ago for Rs 3.5 lakhs and spent the same amount on its refurbishment.

“From an early age, I became interested in automobiles. I also did an engineering diploma in the same subject. During my student days, I drove Ambassador, Contessa, and Fiats. I worked in a car showroom for a couple of years. When we bought a tiller, I did all its repairs. In the following years, my vintage cars craze began. I decided to purchase old cars,” Bhandari said.

“I take care of and love my vintage cars as I would of my family elders. We go for an outing in the cars. People adore and respect these cars when they see them. We exhibited the cars at Nehru ground during the Republic Day. Once when I was riding around in the Herald Mangaluru, a foreigner saw it and was delighted,” added Bhandari.

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