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Vintage old Indian cars to be displayed at GeeDee Car Museum in Coimbatore

Vintage old Indian cars to be displayed at GeeDee Car Museum in Coimbatore

Almost 130 years ago, in 1892, Maharaja of Patiala Bupinder Singh imported a De Dion – Bouton steam-powered tricar. That is said to be the first motor car that ran on the roads of India; in 1902, Samuel John Green of Simpson & Co, Madras, built India’s first steam car; in 1904, the Automobile Association of Bengal introduced motor car rally in which nearly 11 cars took part; and in 1905 Simpson built the first steam bus that ran between Bezawada (Vijayawada) and Masulipatnam. Closer home, G.D. Naidu bought a bus in 1920 and drove it himself between Palani and Pollachi, brining mass transport to the people of Coimbatore.

These and many more information on the evolution of automobile sector in India are available at the Indian car section of Gedee Car Museum.

On display are over 40 cars, made by 8-9 companies, starting from Morris Minor (1948) of Hindustan Motors to a tri-wheeler made by Sunrise Auto of India (Sipani Badal 1975) and Reva, the first electric vehicle made in India.

Other exhibits include a caravan (mounted on a Chevrolet chassis and customised by Simpson) that was gifted by actor M.R. Radha to Periyar E.V. Ramasamy for his campaigns, a caravan used at Pakshiraja Studio, and the bus bought by G.D. Naidu.

According to G.D. Gopal, Chairman and Managing Trustee of GD Naidu Charities, the museum highlights the history of the Indian automobile industry and the country’s attempts to make the people’s car.

To be thrown open to the public from Friday, the Indian car section has cars that are not seen on the Indian roads now. “India used to import cars initially. After Independence, many companies got licences to manufacture cars. Then came the concept of people’s car. There were people in Coimbatore and Kerala, too, who made prototypes and tried manufacturing cars here. But, they did not get licences to do so,” said Akila Shanmugham, trustee of GD Naidu Charities.

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“Students, who visit the museum will get to see the Make in India capability that was visible several decades ago,” she said. Works are on to add another section displaying sports cars and high-end cars.

The 3,500 sq.ft Indian car section is an addition to the existing Gedee Car Museum that houses over 110 cars. “There is no separate entry ticket for the Indian car section. Those who visit the car museum will get to see the Indian car section too,” said M. Suresh Naidu, general manager of GD Museums.



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