Connoisseur's Corner

The Grand Old Four-Wheeler

Vintage and classic car connoisseur Shrivardhan Kanoria shares the tale of his most prized possession – 1906 Renault Freres in a free wheeling chat

How did you develop an interest in vintage and classic cars?

I have been interested in vintage and classic cars since childhood. I grew up witnessing my father Mr. Shashi Kanoria’s passion for these golden oldies and was always in awe of them. My father is the undisputed pioneer in regard to vintage and classic cars and I am a great admirer of his knowledge and passion for these beauties which also rubbed onto me.

How did you acquire the 1906 Renault Freres?

I have acquired this car from my father, who has owned it for more than four decades. This was one of the first vintage cars he got his hands on during the 1960’s. Now since I am looking into this hobby, I feel possessed getting this gift from him.

Who restored the car and how long did the process take?

The car was restored by my father and it took him around two years to complete the restoration. Precision to detail is what his restoration encompasses. The most important point to note is that he restored this car personally by hand, which is very uncommon among a lot of other collectors, who are usually dependent on professional restorers.

What is difficult to restore this car?

The car was in a completely dilapidated condition when it was first brought home. Only the original seat made from horse leather were still intact. It was an extremely challenging task to restore the car to its present form. The chassis was completely reinforced. The entire woodwork has been redone with Burma teak and the brass parts have been brought back to shape. Mechanically, the car had to be completely overhauled.

How do you maintain this car?

We start up the car once a week. When the car is not in use, the petrol is drained out from the tank to avoid rotting. Brass parts are cleaned regularly to maintain the shine and the leather seats are polished with cream to keep them soft and avoid cracks. The tyres are polished with coconut oil to prevent them from getting brittle. Besides this, the car is cleaned regularly. This car runs as terrific as it looks.

How often do you drive this car?

I drive this car for five or six times a year. This is an extremely rare car and we avoid driving it too frequently to prevent any kind of damage caused due to prevalent road and traffic conditions in the city. This car was driven by Mr.Shashi Kanoria all through the 70’s and 80’s and now no one other than me is even permitted to sit on the driving seat. As a result of which this car was absent from the 2009 rally as I was in the U.K.

What are the accolades won by this car?

(Smiles) This car has been a winner right from its initial days. It has appeared in around 18 rallies and won approximately 70 awards which also include some of the most prestigious awards in the contest and all of this despite being grounded for 18 years from 1986 to 2004.

Fast Facts:

  • 1906 Renault Freres
  • Twin cylinder engine
  • Engine capacity – 1200 cc
  • Horse Power – 8
  • Beaded edged wooden rims
  • The radiator is placed behind the engine
  • Brakes are installed in rear wheels only
  • All the lamps are lighted with the help of kerosene and carbide
  • Its cycle like tyres need 60 psi of air pressure
  • The seats are made out of horse leather
  • 104 year old and still running like a bomb.

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