« Back to articlePrint this article

How Shastri's Iconic Audi Was Restored...

June 04, 2022 13:02 IST

IMAGE: Ravi Shastri with his refurbished Audi 100, which he won for being named Man of the Series at the 1985 World Championship of Cricket in Australia. Photograph: PTI

The iconic Audi 100 car Ravi Shastri won at the 1985 World Championship of Cricket in Australia was restored back to its original glory and handed back to the former India captain and coach by automobile enthusiast Gautam Hari Singhania, chairman and managing director, Raymond, in Mumbai on Friday.

'This is as nostalgic as it can get! This is a national asset. This is #TeamIndia's @AudiIN @SinghaniaGautam,' Shastri tweeted.

IMAGE: Shastri with Gautam Hari Singhania, chairman and managing director, Raymond. Photograph: Ravi Shastri/Twitter

Singhania's Super Car Club Garage (SCCG) in Thane, which runs and operates one of the largest units for restoration/refurbishment in India, painstakingly put the vintage car back together in a period of eight months.

Shastri, then 22, announced himself on the world stage picking up eight wickets and scoring 182 runs -- including fifties in the last three games (against Pakistan in the final, against New Zealand in the semi-final and against Australia in the group stages).

IMAGE: Shastri rates winning the Audi for the Man of the Series as the biggest moment of his career. Photograph: Ravi Shastri/Twitter

For his superb showing with both bat and ball, Shastri was named Man of the Series, which was called 'The Champion of Champions' and presented the Audi 100 car.

'MFA1 (Shastri's car) came to us in a very poor condition. The car had done its rounds and visited many garages that were unable to get the car repaired as they weren't in a position to procure the parts,' the Raymond group stated in a press release.

'It was shocking to see that an iconic car of the champion of champions was ruined with several parts missing, lights broken and the interior in pathetic shape. Mr Singhania decided to take this project on as a challenge and get the car back to its original glory,' Raymond added.

IMAGE: Then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi asked the Customs to waive off the heavy duty on the Audi when it was brought to India. Photograph: Ravi Shastri/Twitter

'We at SCCG have painstakingly put this car back together in a period of 8 months. We went through various countries' old part auction sites and brokers and scrap yards. It was a shock to know that only a limited number of cars survived. Mr Singhania was very clear that he wouldn't use any replica parts, therefore the task became even more challenging,' Raymond stated.

'Different bits and pieces were bought, collected and shipped from all over the world. Bodywork painting had already started by that time, the original colour code was also procured from the manufacturer so we could have the original colour shade which was on the car when the car was presented in 1985. The engine, wiring, air conditioning and all electrical including power windows have been worked on at SCCG,' Raymond explained.

Shastri, who played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs, rates winning the Audi car as the biggest moment of his career.

'As a recall factor, more than most things I have done in my life, this car stands at the top. The six sixes had a recall value, but this is the biggest in my career. The circumstances aligned: The timing of one-day cricket, day-and-night matches coming in from Australia, Channel 9 coming into India for the first time, 1983 was all whites, this was colour clothing and that pristine telecast. And of course when you get Pakistan in a final, no one can ever forget it -- if you win it,' Shastri told The Indian Express newspaper.

'As I sat in the newly restored car, all the MCG memories came flooding back. Who was sitting where, what we did, all the good times. How the prime minister had then allowed me to get it duty-free; incidentally only after this it was legally allowed for any sportspeople to bring the car back to India duty-free if they won it in a tournament,' Shastri added.

'The best thing about this is that my daughter (Aleka) saw the car for the first time ever in her life. She sat in it for the first time. In the days to come, I shall take her for a spin in it. In some sense, the circle of life would be complete.'

Rediff Cricket