LAHORE - Mushahid Shah is President of Vintage Classic Car Club Pakistan. His passion for vintage cars started when he was in college. He pioneered the vintage car movement. He personally contacted owners, enthusing and convincing them to become involved with the VCCCP. He travelled the length and breadth of the country documenting vintage cars and in numerous cases helped the people restore their vintage classic cars and preserve the beauty. In an exclusive interview with The Nation he talks about his passion for vintage cars. Following are the excerpts of the interview:

When did you get passionate about vintage classic cars?

It was in 1977 when I was 19 years old when my elder brother saw a very beautiful car in polo ground. It was two-door Mercedes 1968 model and it belonged to one of the polo ground members. My elder brother loved the car and convinced my father to get him one. Since that Mercedes was not for sale we went to Karachi and found a similar one which was in junk condition that we bought to Lahore. My brother was not interested in that car so I started restoring it. Every year I used to go to London to purchase its parts and restore it. Finally with the passage of time I was able to restore it. My studies were being disturbed. Therefore, my parents forced me to sell it but the passion remained.

What are the reasons for adding a car to your collection? Does emotion influence your purchases too?

Off course, emotions play a major role. If you are passionate about something emotions automatically comes towards you. There are some people who like convertible cars some do not. It all depends on the interest level of every person. I’m particularly involved in British cars I love the chrome wire wheels of the cars. When I see chrome wire wheels I just go crazy. The cars that I have right now are Austin Healy1958 and MG Gt 1968. I brought them in London.

Is there any special story about a classic car in your collection?

My father before he got married had an MG convertible and when he got married my mother got sure that my father sold that car. My father used to tell us stories about how he used to go to Islamabad from Lahore. We used to hear stories from them and when I went to London I saw so many MG’s on the roads of London, I fell in love with those cars. So for me MG is something that has a sort of history and the other car, which I have Austin Healy I think it’s the one of the most beautiful cars in the entire history of British automobile industry. The car belonged to a friend who had it for more than 25 years and I was trying to convince him to sell it to me for the past 15 years and finally last year he sold it to me and I restored it.

Tell us about Vintage Classic Car Club Pakistan?

When I was in Karachi I purchased Mercedes 220 coupe. Jim Agha who died recently said that for the enthusiasm of the vintage classic car lover there should be a sort of vintage classic car club because these cars are all over the world. After then VCCCP was formed in 1986 by Mohsin Ikram and Jim Agha to cater to those who shared their passion of collecting, restoring and driving vintage and classic cars. The main objective of this club is to provide a platform for classic car enthusiasts in Pakistan for the pursuit of their passion. The club organizes various motoring and social events for its members. We have more than 13,000 members of the club.

Have you ever thought of showcasing your cars at international shows?

Internationally because of the serious bureaucratic and government issues it’s almost impossible to showcase your car at international platforms. Once my friend had a vintage car which he brought from the Nawab of Bahawalpur in which Quaid-e-Azam sat on 14th August, 1947. He took it to Kuwait at car show and won first price. So, when he was bringing it back to Pakistan he had to face a lot of difficulties. As he was highly connected to government people he was able to bring it back but for a normal person it is almost impossible to showcase his car abroad and bring it back to Pakistan. This year we took our car rally to Khunjerab pass to China border. The import of these cars parts is not allowed in Pakistan which is really sad. All over the world you can import these cars but sadly in Pakistan you cannot. We went to meet Mr Nawaz Sharif about 7 years ago and discussed our problems. He said when he would become the prime minister he will allow the import of 50 years old cars. I request the prime minister to honour his commitment.