Mumbai’s Sofitel hosted a Vintage Car and Bike Rally on Sunday. In association with the Vintage & Classic Car Club of India (VCCCI), the five-star luxury hotel successfully organised the splendid event on completion of their six ‘magnifique’ years in Mumbai. The rally flagged off at Horniman Circle and culminated at Hriday – the hotel’s spectacular 30,000 sq.ft. outdoor venue in the heart of the Mumbai.

A vintage car rally makes one wonder if automotive design has lost something to the years. The era of extreme mass production has made owning a car cheaper than ever, but the crudely functional design of the standard mid-level sedan, juxtaposed against the confident, elegant lines of older vehicles forces significant doubt about manufacturers’ concern for aesthetics.

A push toward futuristic design without the finesse of the higher-end has turned the mid-level automobile into an amorphous, impersonal, utilitarian eyesore. Even if the average consumer is concerned for function over form, it is not unreasonable to believe that with modern manufacturing technology we could replicate the élan of old at a fair price point.

“Sofitel Mumbai BKC is known for encouraging collaborations that create unique and bespoke experiences. Over the years, the luxury property has been privy to hosting numerous events of premium brands from the automobile industry. On the occasion of completing six years of the hotel, we are delighted to have the parade of vintage and classic cars showcasing spectacular design and fine craftsmanship through the rally.”
– Biswajit Chakraborty, General Manager, Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Of course, going to a vintage car rally and complaining about modern vehicles is like listening to The Beatles and harking for the music of old. The fact is that only the cream of the crop will be remembered and maintained for future generations. It is impossible to believe that this exhibition of refined machinery from the likes of Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Mercedes accurately portray the roads of yesteryear.

These vehicles have been painstakingly cared for by their owners, refurbished and repainted just to outshine the rest on the day. The striking polished pastels of their exterior look great on display, but you realize that there are hundreds of these cars at this exhibition and one scarcely sees one on the road.

The dust and mess of the city put the vehicles that brave its roads through hell, slowly and then all at once breaking down their exteriors and engineering. Perhaps the flat relationship we are given to have with our boring sedans is for the best. Maybe manufacturers are just looking out for us, holding our emotions close to heart as they ensure we do not risk damaging dear objects of beauty to the hazards of the 16th Road junction.