Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vintage Feel

Let’s confess it. How many of us had always wanted to be seen driving a priceless, expensive, vintage vehicle? Many for sure, but most of us can’t hope or even dream of ever possessing one let alone be allowed to drive one in our lifetime!

So we’ll settle for the next best thing – be driven around town in one and have others not so fortunate stare at us in shock, surprise, envy? The Malaysian Singapore Vintage Car Register or MSVCR in short comprising owners of vintage and classic cars were kind enough to lend their prized possessions to bring excitement into the lives of the under privileged.

Some nine charity organisations involved in caring for the disabled, the abandoned, the poor etc were invited to join the vintage car owners on a Sunday getaway ride to Klang. Parents Without Partners (PWP) Bhd which focuses on assisting poor Single Parents went along for the joy ride with 17 children of single parents from Lembah Subang. It was a first vintage car outing for PWP and our youngsters and we were more worried about maybe losing the kids amongst the huge crowd of youngsters that were running helter skelter between the many models of cars so old, yet so classically beautiful.

Despite being an admitted vehicle dunce, one could still palpably see and feel the love, pride and tender care that was being showered on the vintage vehicles lining the roadway at the Selangor Spastic Centre in PJ. Every vehicle there gleamed and sparkled, each outshining the other in fenders, bumpers, designs, make and models. The more sporty convertibles naturally drew more admirers but here and there some unusual vehicles too drew amused glances like the so very hippie looking van scrawled, er, painted with beatnik slogans and drawings.

With a vigourous wave of the Malaysian flag, the entire entourage joyfully set off from the starting point at the Spastics Centre and meandered their way through the busy PJ roads cut into the fast moving Plus highway and zoomed towards Klang. Along the way, it was amusing to see how the traffic marshals, looking more like Nazi soldiers in their war helmets and tank like vehicle as well as the ad hoc volunteer ‘traffic policemen’ who were able to direct the traffic at strategic junctions so we wouldn’t take the wrong route and could drive without any mishap.

Comfortably ensconced in a red convertible Triumph with my aviation engineer driver who fended off my queries about pricing and cost with the ‘OSA lah” it was nice to see first hand how different the cars of yesteryears were compared to those of today. For one there was no air conditioning so it was highly dependent on the natural breeze, there was no radio or tape player so you had to whistle or sing on your own, the horn was a little black button on the wood veneer dashboard far away from the steering wheel that’s we’re so used to.

Still with the wind in face and the sun roasting above, it was great to see the many smiles, winks, honks and envious glances from drivers and passengers in the more mundane, less sleek cars of today. The vintage motorcade made a stop at the Tanjung seafood restaurant for lunch where the little ones were treated to rice, meat and fish dishes followed by ice-cream, fruits and cupcakes.

One vintage car owner then topped off the meal with a lively rendition of a Hindi song, complete with the dance routine that drew smiles, laughter and photo-taking on cell phones by the highly amused crowd. Once lunch was over, everyone made a beeline for their favourite classic car and back to PJ we all zipped through. All in all, it was really a vintage experience, a driving sensation of what it was like during a bygone era and the ‘purrfect’ power of the vehicle even in today’s chaotic traffic situations. The kids too don’t know much about cars but they all agreed it was a heady, powerful feel and a smashingly good ride in the bargain! Kudos to all MSVCR members who helped to make this the unforgettable ride of their lives.