Miss Fatima Jinnah’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible and her 1965 Mercedes Benz 200, which had been driven to ruin over the years due to negligence by their caretakers, have been restored to their original condition with the heritage vehicles placed at the Quaid-i-Azam House, or Flagstaff House as it is also known, on Monday.

The cars will formally be handed over to the culture department of the Government of Sindh on Wednesday when they will also be opened for display to the public in their newly built glass garage.

“The cars will receive some minor cosmetic attention before then,” said a very happy Mohsin Ikram, founder and president of the Vintage and Classic Car Club of Pakistan and Motorheads Pakistan, who had been brought in as consultant with his team to take care of the entire restoration work.

The display garage for the cars is based on the Quaid-i-Azam House architecture..
The display garage for the cars is based on the Quaid-i-Azam House architecture..

“Even now, the Cadillac is 100 per cent ready but the Mercedes I will call 98pc complete as it is still missing its star at the front,” he said about the Benz logo.

He added that the display garage for the cars was based on the Quaid-i-Azam House architecture. “We also used the same stone in its construction,” he said.

Watching proudly as the shining heritage vehicles arrived at the Quaid-i-Azam House on their own power, the man who had helped restore them seemed to become a bit sentimental. “I struggled for 19 years to save these cars,” he said.

Mr Ikram had first discovered them in the garages of the Mohatta Palace from where they had been pulled out and left under the open sky when the palace was being restored. The labourers there used to eat their food on the cars’ bonnets. Many of their parts were also stolen then. After his raising alarm about this the cars, which by that time were even without wheels, were literally dragged to the Sindh Archives building causing them further damage. It was after his continuously writing letters to the editor in newspapers and sending applications to the government that he was handed over the cars for restoration.

It took less than two years, 21 months precisely, from Aug 8, 2016 to May 7, 2018, for the work on the cars to be completed.

Originally published in Dawn, May 8th, 2018