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Farewell to Chevrolet & GM

Pradeep Gooptu Indian roads were once ruled by family cars built by General Motors (GM) and Ford. These cars offered comfort, reliability, space and performance at amazing value. So successful were the vehicles that t

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Stars on Wheels

Pradeep Gooptu There are film personalities and there are stars. People adore them, stare at them even when they are passing by and tried to emulate them. Kolkata had more than its fair share of glamorous stars and th

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Tale of American Cars

Pradeep Gooptu American cars, manufactured primarily by three global giants Ford, General Motors and Chrysler as well as those of some smaller makes, helped to establish motoring because of their reliability, styling,

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Freedom blues

Pradeep Gooptu The entire nature of motoring changed in the city between 1941 and 1942 because the armed forces (first the British and then the American) requisitioned all modern cars on the road to supply the army fr

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Rolls-Royce & Calcutta

Pradeep Gooptu A silently purring engine, unbelievable build quality promising decades of trouble free motoring and magnificent bodywork - by all standards this was the unbeatable combination that Rolls-Royce cars pro

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Maharani at the Wheel

Pradeep Gooptu Motoring in the first half of the 1900s was popularised in equal measure by the British and the rich-and-famous of Indian society, particularly the princes of the native states. The ruling family of Coo

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Travelling in luxury

Pradeep Gooptu The 20th century witnessed the amalgamation of engineering and art in all forms of transportation. Trains had leather seats and dining cars and the best ones had opulent interiors that we see today only

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Uniqueness & Luxury

Pradeep Gooptu Robert 'Scotty' Mathewson, a wealthy British engineer of Calcutta loved swans and resided in a house called Swan Park. When he wanted a unique car he bought a large chassis from Brooke of England in 190

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Car Tales From Darjeeling Hills

Pradeep Gooptu Around 200 years ago, the English East India Company concluded its war with Nepal (1814-16) and acquired Darjeeling. Initial visitors like General Lloyd and J W Grant (Commissioner of Malda) recommended

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From Studebaker to Amby

Pradeep Gooptu The manufacturing industry was the pride of Bengal and its foundation had been laid long before the country gained Independence. In 1948, a major development  had put West Bengal in the headlines- the

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Custom-built Cars

Pradeep Gooptu Once upon a time elegant bodywork made cars a thing of beauty. You can catch a glimpse of this vanished art form at some of the greatest art museums which have a section dedicated to beautiful cars as c

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Legacy Grand Trunk Road

Pradeep Gooptu Rudyard Kipling described the Grand Trunk Road as "such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world”. In his finest work, Kim, Kipling wrote" Brahmins and bankers and tinkers, barbers and bunn

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Car & Bridge

Pradeep Gooptu From the very beginning, car owners were up against many challenges, including crossing rivers or waterbodies. While carts and horses could cross or be ferried, it was not an easy thing for motor vehicl

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Local Ads for Global Brands

Pradeep Gooptu Can you imagine a newspaper in New York carrying an advertisement dominated by an Indian image? Or one that refers to Calcutta as a global destination? Here are some of the advertisements that go a long

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Cute cars Mighty Deeds

Pradeep Gooptu The rich and powerful rode huge motor cars and roared around in style. But for every supercar on the road, hundreds of small cars were sold to affluent Bengali families and professionals, managers worki

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Calcutta’s Once Thriving Car Market

Pradeep Gooptu A city is known by the cars on its roads – if we care to tweak the popular saying to some extent. And it is true for Calcutta. Since the early days when motor cars were introduced in India, the city o

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Tales from tea gardens

Pradeep Gooptu Tea and coffee estates conjure up images of beautifully tended, lush green landscapes with picture-perfect cottages tucked away in an undulating terrain. Despite all the scenic beauty it was quite tough

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The R-R Love affair

Pradeep Gooptu When Charles Stewart Rolls, met Frederick Henry Royce at new Midland Hotel in Manchester in May 1904, they formed a company called Rolls-Royce Ltd. and created one of the great marques of global motorin

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Cars & Their owners

Pradeep Gooptu Which car do you think  a doctor or a lawyer would prefer, and for that matter which set of wheels would suit a businessman? In the past each car brand had  a distinctive image. This was at a time whe

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Luxury Cabs of Calcutta

Pradeep Gooptu Ritwick Ghatak’s Ajantrik revolved around the lonely life of a man who loved his set of wheels more than anything else in the world and was determined to keep it against all odds. Satyajit Ray’s Abh

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Car-Battalion of Calcutta Police

Pradeep Gooptu The last article ‘Chariots of War’ had mentioned about the Calcutta Presidency Battalion Auxiliary Force and since then many of our readers have come forward with details of the valuable work done b

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Kolkata’s Chariots of War

Pradeep Gooptu It was around 1910, that cars came to be used by security forces around the world. The USA took the lead, followed closely by France, with Great Britain lagging far behind. We are talking about the use

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Great Indian wedding car

Pradeep Gooptu In India, wedding is not only a grand celebration lasting over several days, for ages it has been also associated with romantic images of a groom on horseback (preferably a white one), whisking the brid

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A Bugatti in Calcutta

Pradeep Gooptu A Bugatti in Calcutta! When a friend from the USA conveyed this information, it was like a bolt from the blue. Here’s why. What is a Bugatti? Ettore Bugatti was a fine engineer and designer wh

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Forgotten Legends

Pradeep Gooptu A man is known by the car he uses, goes a famous slogan. The legends of the cars used in the past which are forgotten today will take us on a trip down memory lane. The high and mighty in Indian soci

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The Tagores

Pradeep Gooptu The Tagore family, leaders of Bengal’s intelligentsia and high society, was one of the pioneers of new age technology, which included motoring in the early 20th century. Their role in popularising the

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Cars & Hunting

Pradeep Gooptu One of the most memorable movies of all time was ‘Hatari’, a film on how animals were caught or handled in Africa in the past with vehicles like jeeps and mini trucks. Sadly, no such movie was made

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Car Humour in Print

Pradeep Gooptu Ever since the first association of automobiles in the country was set up in Calcutta in 1904 to popularize motor cars and motor sports, motorists found themselves at the receiving end of wit and humour

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Kolkata’s Tyrst with Motor Racing

Pradeep Gooptu The first automobile association in India which started in Calcutta in 1904, had multiple objectives including popularising the use of motor cars, exploration and motorsports. Racing before the Second W

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Growing Popularity of Cars

Pradeep Gooptu By the turn of 20th Century a few cars had been imported to India but it was the tour of Prince (later King George V) and Princess of Wales in 1905-06 that popularised cars among the rich, leading to a

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City’s First Bus Service

Pradeep Gooptu The winter of 1905-06 saw a revolution on Indian roads; Calcutta witnessed the introduction of the first bus service in the world outside Western Europe and USA, a development that led to public accepta

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THE FIRST CAR

Pradeep Gooptu When did the first car arrive in India or for that matter come to Calcutta? There are varying accounts but if newspaper reports and similar sources are to be believed, the first car on Indian roads was

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Motoring in the 1900s: A car-lover’s tale

Pradeep Gooptu This is about a man who resigned from a secure and plush job and invested all his life savings (no less than Rs 5,500 in 1906!) to set up a garage for cars - his first love and became the friend, philo

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India’s First Motor Garage

Pradeep Gooptu The saga of motor cars in India started more than a century ago. As a tribute to this age-old legacy, we present a series on the cradle days of motoring. We begin with the very first car service station

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Driving across continents

Pradeep Gooptu In the early 19th century, bitten by the adventure bug, quite a few British men and women tried achieving the impossible - climbing Mount Everest and perishing in the attempt or driving across continent

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The first Car Club

Pradeep Gooptu In November 1904, the Maidan was witness to a unique sight - an assembly of ten cars and four motorcycles leading to the formation of the first association of car owners in India, if not in Asia.

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