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Vintages set sights for ‘Jaffna’


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The Vintage Car Owners Club which is Sri Lanka’s pioneer motoring club that succeeded the Veteran Car Club of Ceylon, has made arrangements to take up the challenge in proving the ‘might’ of the Vintage Vehicles of Sri Lanka by organising a Drive from Colombo to Jaffna in the ‘Oldest of the Old’ motorcars of the Vintage Era.

This is without doubt a gruelling challenge to the vehicles and the owners very specially as most if the participating vehicles would have surpassed 75 years of existence. Age has not deterred the members of the Vintage Car Owners Club who have proven the reliability of the Vintage cars with the annual drive to Galle that has carried on for many years and the drive to Jaffna would prove as yet another great achievement by the club as well as serve as an upliftment to protect the motoring heritage of Sri Lanka that one could be proud of taking into consideration the large numbers of motorcars that was imported to this little isle from the very introduction of motorised transport to the world.

The Vintage Car Owners Club has embarked on many programs for the current year which its main aim being to obtain the recognition of a ‘Heritage’ Status to the motoring past of Ceylon. Lanka could be proud to note of the initial imports of motorcars that was registered in the turn of the 20th century and it is heartening to note that some of these vehicles are still in running condition with humble thanks to the loyal owners who have protected these and in most cases having refused to sell these ‘national treasures’ to foreign ownership although having been offered and ‘Arm and a Leg’ which has been very enticing to most owners. This is the commitment that the owners of these ‘Vintage Delights’ do share and one would say that the movement deserves its rightful place as a protected heritage of Lanka.

It is also a proud fact that Ceylon was one of the pioneer countries to hold an ‘Old Crocks’ Rally way back in 1953 which probably may have been a first in Asia. It is mentioned of the Rally that began at Lake Spill Road at Galle Face and the ‘Crocks’ trekked on a long journey via the high-level road ending at the Mount Lavinia hotel to be greeted by the Mayor of Dehiwela/Mount Lavinia Major L.V. Gooneratne. This was the brainchild of H.C. Pieris and his colleagues Edward Mason, T.B. Murrel and W.R. Daniels which came to be the formation of the Veteran Car Club of Ceylon. 

The Club has also widened its horizons by inviting membership of motor vehicles that belong to the CE to EN category, which was introduced in 1940 and ended in 1956 with the ‘Sri’ status coming into effect in 1957. One would recall the very first ‘Sri’ Registration being given to Sir John Kotelawela’s Cadillac which was registered ‘1Sri 1’.

The drive to Jaffna would re-kindle past memories of the by-gone era of motoring where the peninsula was a ‘hive’ of activity for most motoring franchise holders who maintained well-stocked branch workshops to cater to the car loving public of the North who had a distinctive loyalty towards Austin and Morris motorcars at the time.

 The event is planned to be held in March and the Club expected a large turn-out of the A-Z series vehicles along with the younger CE-EN generation of Motorcars that would join the event to making it a historic event that would bring back the ‘Romance of Motoring’ of yesteryear.

Those who are keen to join this event could contact Mahesh Mallawarathci on 0112366111 or Hercil Fernando on 0112653535.


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