Replica of world’s first car attracts attention, at display in Chennai

The Chennai Heritage Auto Display 2021, had vintage automobiles and motorcycles showcased for visitors, on Sunday

It was like travelling back in time for many visitors at the Chennai Heritage Auto Display 2021 on Sunday, as they enjoyed a short ride on a working replica of the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, the first automobile of the world.

With a broad smile on her face, K. Smitha, one of the visitors, said that it was a cocktail of emotions that she experienced when she drove the three-wheeled car inside the AVM Rajeshwari Kalyana Mandapam car park on R.K. Salai. “It was fear and childlike happiness that overtook me. I was enthralled also when I took a ride on the Ford Quadricycle, which is said to be the first experimental automobile of Henry Ford which he built in 1896,” she said.

Both these models are manufactured by Coimbatore-based UMS Technologies. G D Rajkumar, managing director, UMS Technologies Pvt Ltd., said that the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, was made by Karl Benz and his wife Bertha Benz drove on it first with her two children. “We have exported close to 100 such replicas to vintage and classic automobile lovers across the world. The uniqueness of this car is that it runs on Benzine,” he explains.

A few years ago, staff of UMS Technologies drove this model from Coimbatore to Chennai in 36 hours. “It is a hand-crafted replica. One litre of Benzine, will help the vehicle run for 20 km. The car has a five-litre tank,” explained S. Gunasekaran, manager, operations, UMS Technologies.

Apart from this replica, there were over 60 vintage cars and 20 motorcycles on display at the event. \

As one enters the exhibition, a bright yellow colour Mustang welcomes the visitor. Visitors were seen clicking pictures near cars such as the Rolls Royce 20/25, Benz 8/20, Ford Anglia, Dodge Brothers, 1931. Rajan Somasundaram, who owns the Rolls Royce, said that it was a barn find from the USA. “It took close to two years to restore it,” he said.

Apart from this, motorcycles such as Lambretta Lamby, Triumph Twin, My Augusta, BSA Bantam and other vehicles drew the attention of the crowd.

“The club focuses on preservation, restoration and display of vintage and classic vehicles,” says M.S. Guhan, secretary of the club whose vintage vehicles were also on display at the event.

Balraj Vasudevan, president of the club, said that they usually organised the Chennai to Pondy Heritage Drive on January 18 and 19. “However this year we were not able to do it. So we decided to enthral the audience with this display,” he said.

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