The Glory of Goodwood Revival through the Eyes of Sudhir Choudhrie
Sudhir Choudhrie, a renowned business magnate and an avid vintage car collector, has long been smitten by the charm and elegance of the Goodwood Revival. This historic motorsport event, staged at the spiritual home of British motor racing, is attended by sell-out crowds in period dress, reviving the heyday of racing and the romance and glamour of a bygone era. Yet, Choudhrie’s interest delves deeper into the realm of vintage cars.
Sudhir Choudhrie and the Glory of Goodwood
“The event’s attraction is obvious: beautiful cars on the track; tweeds and trilbies” Choudhrie explains in a blog post, expressing his admiration for the Goodwood Revival. “It pays homage to a post-war era when everything seemed simpler and driving was a more carefree experience.” Yet, for Choudhrie, this nostalgia goes beyond the charming ambiance of Goodwood; his love affair with vintage cars stretches back to his childhood.
Sudhir Choudhrie, known for his substantial collection of vintage cars-defined as any car built before December 1939-has been on this journey since buying his first vintage car, a 1938 convertible Mercedes, in 1980. The car, though in terrible condition when he acquired it, was a special find, later discovered to be custom-built.
The true value of vintage cars, according to Choudhrie, lies not in their monetary worth but in their historical significance and craftsmanship. “I think it’s the simplicity of the engineering, combined with the quality,” he writes. He boasts some of the earliest vintage cars, including Cadillacs from 1900 and 1902 and a 1906 Rover.
The Joys and Challenges of Restoring Vintage Cars
Yet, Sudhir Choudhrie doesn’t stop at mere acquisition; the restoration of these vintage cars is equally appealing. Choudhrie sees this process as a challenge, requiring ingenuity, patience, and sometimes luck to source original parts. But that makes it all the more satisfying. “Another attraction is the challenge of restoring a vintage car to its original condition,” he writes. “It’s a labour of love which can easily take five or six years, in some cases more than 10 years.”
These vintage treasures, a collection of 37 cars, reside in a garage in Delhi, maintained by a dedicated team of seven mechanics. Choudhrie dreams of sharing this collection with the world. “We are planning to build a car museum, which will sit alongside an art gallery exhibiting our collection of Indian art, a hotel, and convention centre,” he revealed in his blog post. This planned endeavour perfectly encapsulates Choudhrie’s mantra to mix business with pleasure.
A Lasting Legacy
For Sudhir Choudhrie, vintage cars are more than just relics from the past; they represent a timeless value, craftsmanship, and the spirit of a bygone era. His interest, far exceeding the classic cars on display at the Goodwood Revival, is in the real heyday of the motor car: the pre-war period. His collection, planned to be put in a Trust, promises to be a tribute to that era, ensuring that it will never be forgotten.
Indeed, the Goodwood Revival, among the world’s most renowned historic motorsport events, shares a similar ethos. Recently, the festival has been making strides in engaging younger audiences, all while maintaining its commitment to honouring the glamour and grandeur of the golden age of motor racing.
Yet, as the Revival continues to captivate audiences with its resplendent display of post-war classics, Sudhir Choudhrie quietly cultivates his collection of pre-war gems. His aim is not only to keep these beautiful machines in running order but also to share their stories, their histories, and their link to an era of daring innovation and elegant simplicity.
While Sudhir Choudhrie cherishes the past, he also keeps an eye on the future. His planned car museum, convention centre, and art gallery are not merely to house his impressive collection but to serve as a hub for enthusiasts, historians, and the curious. This hub aims to offer a blend of educational exploration and a space for like-minded individuals to share their passion for vintage automobiles.
In his blog post, Choudhrie recounts the intriguing story of his 1921/1923 Bugatti model, which was imported into India by a Bombay-based umbrella manufacturing family. This tale is a testament to the rich history encapsulated in each of these vintage vehicles. “The stories behind the cars are often very interesting too,” Choudhrie writes.
Through his commitment to restoration and preservation, Sudhir Choudhrie stands as a steward of history, a passionate individual who appreciates the beauty of a bygone era and works diligently to ensure its stories continue to be told.