Middle-aged Rony Vesuna’s father was admitted to the hospital during the days leading to the third edition of the Cartier Concours d’Elegance, which was held in Mumbai last weekend. During the day, Rony was preparing his 1957 Fiat 1100 Elegant for the event and spending the nights at the hospital. The man had been without sleep or rest for days on end, and it did not matter that he is severely diabetic too, requiring four shots of insulin a day. If there was one thing Rony was running on, it was passion — passion for his immaculately maintained, brilliant example of the Italian manufacturer’s history in India. His car may not have won a prize at the event, but knowing Rony, basking in the adulation and respect he and his car deserved would have been enough.
What was special about the event was that a humble Fiat, that was but one of the cars that rolled out of Fiat’s plant at Kurla, was parked a few metres away from a spectacular, immensely valuable 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, famous all over the world among aficionados as the ‘Star of India’ and a category winner at the hoity-toity Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last year. The Star of India once belonged to the royal family of Rajkot. It had left Indian shores in the 1960s and was eventually acquired by a German collector of Rolls-Royce cars. When he disposed of his entire collection in 2010, the car was re-acquired by the ex-royal family of Rajkot and is now deservedly back in India.
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