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Home > News > Report

Richer by a vintage treasure trove

K Anurag in Guwahati | July 02, 2006 18:01 IST

For him, it has been a fascination to collect anything vintage ranging from cars, motorbikes, bi-cycles, musical instrument, electrical appliances, clocks, and watches.

Piklu Deka (40), a junior engineer with the Assam State Electricity Board is sitting on a treasure trove of eight valuable vintage cars, 31 motorbikes, a couple of three wheelers, eight bicycles, 20 wall clocks, 32 watches, four gramophones, five radio sets, five fans, one piano and a voice recorder. All these were manufactured in early part of 20th century.

A few of his vintage cars including an attractive red Renault (back engine model) of 1948, a tiny 800 CC Morries convertible of 1948, a few old motorbikes of including one manufactured as early as 1901 are parked round-the-clock under a tin shed in front of his ground floor flat at government housing colony at Hengarabari near the state capital complex in Guwahati.

Deka is a proud owner of the 1948 model (back engine) Renault 749 CC, Sunbeam 800 CC (convertible) of 1933, Morries 800 CC (convertible) of 1948, Perfect Ford (hard top) of 1948, Volks Wagon (back engine) of 1949, Ford Jeep of 1942, Ford Care of 1939 and a Buick of 1945.

His motorbikes collection include a British-made Albion (belt model) of 1901, Ariel 500 CC (Red Hunter) of 1944, Royal Enfield 350 CC (chain drive) of 1940, a Norton 650 CC (chain drive model) of 1932, a BSA 500 CC (Golden flash) of 1938, a BSA 500 CC (Gold Star) of 1940, a BSA 40 CC (Paratroopers) of 1938, Royal Enfield 150 CC of 1948, Paradrop Scooter (Paratrooper model) made in USA in 1933, Sunbeam 500 CC (Swift Drive) 1942, Triumph 350 CC (chain drive) of 1934 and several others.

Deka has risked tricky private fianc�s and braved physical hazards in trying to collect these items of his liking from different corners of the region and restore those to original shape. Most of these vehicles were left unattended in obscure corners of many a households in far flung areas of the region that witness the fury of World War for being under the British colonial rule.

Most of these old cars and bikes are now in running condition and credit goes to untiring efforts of Deka who has become a skilled technician in repairing and restoring old beauties.

His passion for collection of vintage cars and motorbikes besides other old items could have converted his present humble life of a salaried engineer to that of an affluent vintage car collector and sellers provided he had wished to be one.

Instead he has resisted many lucrative offers to sell off his treasure trove, which could easily fetch him millions in the global market for vintage cars and motorbikes. He is not willing to part with his precious possession as he has been carrying a dream deep in his heart of setting up a museum of vintage items in Guwahati.

"I have not collected these items to become rich and look after myself and my family with the money these items could have brought. I want to showcase them in a museum in this gateway to the Northeast India," Deka said.

As on date his collection of cars and motorbikes are being kept in different places in Guwahati and Dibrugarh because of want of space to keep those together under one roof. It has indeed become a Herculean task for this man of limited resources to maintain and upkeep these old beauties. He has been moving heaven and earth asking for allotment of a piece of suitable land from the government to set up his dream museum.

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