Thrissur: A college-going lad harboured a dream - to own vintage vehicles. Notwithstanding the jibes thrown at him, the lad decided to make it into a reality.
And Arun Cheloor of Thrissur in Kerala pursued his dream and got 12 vintage vehicles in a short span of time. Most of these now stand proudly on the courtyard of Arun's house at the Kottapuram Road in Thrissur.
Dulquer's RD 350
Long before, Dulquer Salmaan wooed us while vrooming around in the RD 350 bike in the film ‘Bangalore Days’, Arun got one for himself in 2007. The movie, which went on to become a runaway hit, was released only seven years later in 2013.
While Arun was studying for his post-graduation, he wanted to get a vehicle for himself. But he decided that if he were to get one, it would be a vintage vehicle. Arun then set about on making the money. After completing his PG course in 2005, he started working at some parallel colleges as lecturer.
Thus, he made enough money to buy Yamaha's RD 350. Subsequently, he owned Rajdoot Super D, Rajdoot Bobby, Yezdi Roadking 250, LDF Fury, RD 350, BSA Bantam D1, RXZ 5 Speed, Suzuki T S 250R, Fiat 1100 Elegant, W110 Fintail and W123 240D Mercedes Benz.
Yezdi 350 is another wonder in Arun's collection. Apart from 350CC, the twin cylinder feature is a rarity. Jawa brought out these vehicles initially. Then the company renamed itself as Yezdi. Now, it is back as Jawa and launching new vehicles.
Rishi Kapoor-starrer Bobby was a superhit Bollywood film in the year 1978. Along with the lead pair of Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia, the bike driven by the hero in the film also managed to impress the audience. Though the bike was originally named Rajdoot GTS 175, it began to be known after the movie and was called Rajdoot Bobby.
Arun also owns the 1987-model of the Enfield Fury bike. Known as Zundapp KS175, this was a German two-wheeler. After the Zundapp company was shut down, Enfield India bought the machine parts. Then they started a bike manufacturing unit at Ranipet near Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
Enfield Fury also hit the market along with Silver Plus, Explorer and Mofa vehicles. However, even that factory at Ranipet does not exist now. The Enfield Explorer of those times was a 50CC bike and was put under the moped category.
The oldest of all
A 1950-model BSA Bantam D1 is the oldest among Arun's vintage vehicles. This is a 125CC, two-stroke motor bike. An English model bike imported to India. The British Army manufactured these light-weight bikes for war purposes.
Fiat 1100 Elegant
Fiat 1100 Elegant was a common vehicle on the roads several decades ago. Arun has in his collection a 1957-Fiat model that had been imported from Italy. After 1960, the vehicle entered the Indian roads as Premier Padmini.
Hard to maintain
However, carrying out the maintenance works of vintage vehicles is an onerous task. Arun pointed out that it was also difficult to get the spare parts. Even then, it is easier to get hold of the parts of bike than cars. He buys the spare parts of bikes from Tamil Nadu, Bengaluru, or Delhi. Or these have to be imported from abroad.
Arun says the online market makes it much more easier to find the spare parts. But then also few workshops know how to work on vintage vehicles. Insurance is yet another obstacle in owning vintage vehicles nor is it easy to clear the emission test.
The grandeur of Ettukettu
Arun is a research student at the Karpagam University in Coimbatore. His family comprises wife Anjali and daughter Parvathi. The Chelur Mana of Peringottukara in Triprayar is his tharavadu (ancestral home).
Mammootty-starrer Valiyettan was shot at Arun's ancestral home, a traditional Ettukettu (homes with two central courtyards). The tharavadu is still maintained in its old grandeur.
Three friends, three vintage cars
The 1967-model W110 Fintail used in the Prithviraj-starrer 'Ennu Ninte Moideen' was bought by Arun from its art director.
Arun's most favourite vehicle from his vintage collection is the Ford bought from Chennai in 1928.
Arun's friends too share his love for vintage vehicles. The Benz driven by superstar Mohanlal in 'Araam Thamburan' is currently owned by Arun's friend Anand Lal. The car is a 1983-model W123 240D Mercedes Benz.
Another of their common friend Paul owns the Contessa car that we had seen in ‘Om Shanthi Oshana’.
God's Own Lords
Arun has been the president of the Kerala RD350 Club, which is known as God's Own Lords, since 2013. The club with 200-odd members organises meets every year.