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Vintage! Pure Gold!

By Rajesh Karkera and Hitesh harisinghani
Last updated on: February 09, 2016 16:55 IST
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the AJS VTwin 798cc motorcycleThe Heritage Motoring Club of India HMCI, brought vintage cars and bikes to the Auto Expo 2016.

Every exhibit at this vintage section has a long and exhaustive history, each has a story to tell...

If only there was enough time to pause and listen...

Here, we take a look at these vintage two-wheelers on display at the just-concluded Auto Expo 2016.

Text: Rajesh Karkera/; Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/

Sadly the vehicles which could have taken centrestage at the Auto Expo had a gloomy desertion with no officials or models from HMCI around to guide the media or the visitors.

All they did was put up white standees beside the displays with the make, model and the name of its owner written on it.

And left it for the visitors to take a look and explore.

AJS VTwin 798cc motorcycle from England

First up is the AJS VTwin 798cc motorcycle from England. Manufactured by the legendary A J Stevens & Co. their first V-Twin was introduced in 1912.

This 798cc bike has a three-speed gearbox operated, like that of a car gear, by a hand lever.

The 500cc BSA B31

This 500cc BSA B31 was the first motorbike to be introduced after the Second World War. Based on pre-war designs the look is still a success with most motorcycle enthusiasts in India.

The 1954 make BSA B31 350cc

Also seen is the 1954 make BSA B31 350cc.

the 500c Douglas

Seen here is the 500c Douglas with a direct belt drive and a horizontal twin 4-stroke engine.

The Bristol-based firm developed these horizontally opposed fore-aft units in about 1907 and continued utilising this engine layout well into the 1930s.
Douglas machines became very popular because of their lightness, ease of starting and speed in that era.

the Indian Scout

Undoubtedly, the most famous Indian Scout motorcycle belonged to Burt Munro, of the movie The World's Fastest Indian.

Seen here is its 750cc avatar called the Scout 101. Known for its excellent handling, the Indian Scout displayed here also had a hand operated gear lever on its right.

1942 3HW 350cc Triumph

Triumph Motorcycles the company that had been producing high performance motorcycles since 1902 came to India in 2012 and tried to make a distinct dent in the Royal Enfield lovers' heart, but couldn't really succeeded in doing that because of its pricing and service.

Who could shell out that extra money?

This 1942 3HW 350cc Triumph is a rare find which also resembles the contemporary Enfield Classic.

The Royal Enfield

And finally the Royal Enfield which we Indians can easily recognise on our roads.

But look carefully and it seems quite different under the fuel tank. Here you see the long history of the company.

The bike has two heads in the engine and this one too has a hand gear lever on the right, just liike the bikes in the early 1900s, unlike any Enfields we see on the roads today!

This is the oldest continually produced motorcycle in the world. Yes you read that right... THE WORLD. Just not India!

Royal Enfied was manufactured first By Redditch in England in 1901 and is now proudly owned by Eicher Motors.

The Lambretta

And finally, a scooter which does not need any introduction!!

With its longest association in Bollywood blockbusters this was one vehicle which faced no hesitation from macho heroes riding a scooter.

Even superstar Amitabh Bachchan with his tall stance did not hesitate riding the Lambretta, or the Lamby we all so lovingly call it, in Chupke Chupke; be it Ashok Kumar in Khatta Meetha or Amol Palekar in Baaton Baaton Mein and even Rediff's very own Suparn Verma made Bipasha Basu and Abhishek Bachchan ride the Lambretta in Zameen.

The Lambretta was the most visible when an entire song in An Evening In Paris was picturised on the legendary scooter.

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Rajesh Karkera and Hitesh harisinghani At Auto Expo 2016