Indian family embarks on road trip to London in 73-year-old MG vintage car

  • Ahmedabad-based Thakore family may be the first Indians to undertake a land expedition of 12,000 kilometres in a 73-year-old vintage car.
An Ahmedabad-based family has embarked on a one-of-its-kind road trip to London in a 1950 MG vintage car.
An Ahmedabad-based family has embarked on a one-of-its-kind road trip to London in a 1950 MG vintage car.

Road trips have become quite popular among Indians and thanks to modern-day technology, they've also become easier to plan. But it is not everyday that you would hear of a family taking on the road to chart a 12,000-kilometre course, traversing 16 countries, and that too in a 73-year-old vintage car. Three generations of an Ahmedabad-based family have embarked on a one-of-its-kind road trip to London in a 1950 MG vintage car.

If you're an avid traveler and an automobile enthusiast, their journey will certainly strike a chord with you. The Thakore family claims to be the first Indian family to undertake such an expedition in what they affectionately call, the Lal Pari (Red Angel). The road trip, which is expected to last for about 60 days, will take them through the UAE, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and several other countries, while finally culminating in the UK.

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Lal Pari calls on London

Daman Thakore, along with his father and 21-year-old daughter started the trip from Gandhinagar on August 10, where they were flagged off by Shri Mulubhai Bera, Gujarat's Tourism Minister. They reached Mumbai on August 13 and two days later, they were flagged off by Maharashtra Tourism Minister, Girish Mahajan. The family has now shipped their car to Dubai and will commence their international land journey from August 26.

Day-to-day expeditions in vintage MG

MG vintage car
A specially created caravan, called Lal Pari ki Saheli, will be accompanying them on their day-to-day expeditions.
MG vintage car
A specially created caravan, called Lal Pari ki Saheli, will be accompanying them on their day-to-day expeditions.

The Thakore family plans to cover approximately 200 to 250 kms per day with an average speed of about 35 km/hour in the vintage car. This is estimated to be a six to eight hour travel time each day. A specially created caravan, called Lal Pari ki Saheli, will be accompanying them on their day-to-day expeditions. Part of the caravan will have a photographer and filmmaker who will help capture golden moments of the trip to create a documentary out of it. A vintage car expert and an expedition planner are also a part of the caravan team to help the family smoothly reach their destination.

Crossing Borders

Are you wondering how will the vintage car cross borders legally? Just like humans have to secure visas to travel, cars need to get something called ‘Carnet De Passages’ - a UN approved customs document that authorizes a vehicle of a particular country to cross borders and travel in that locality for a period of one month. This document is stamped at border entries and exits, just like visas and passports.

The Thakores plan to drive from Dubai to Sharjah, where they will put the MG on a ferry to Bandar Abbas in Iran. From there, they'll drive the car all the way up to Azerbaijan, covering a couple of cities in Iran. The journey will then take them through Georgia, Turkey, and then into Europe. They'll be covering Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Monte Nigro, and then enter Croatia. From there, they plan to go to Italy, then Germany, France, Belgium and finally enter the UK.

Nostalgia and Restoration work

MG vintage car
Daman Thakore and his father pose with the 1950 MG vintage car which became a part of their family back in 1979, and is one of just 900 such units ever made.
MG vintage car
Daman Thakore and his father pose with the 1950 MG vintage car which became a part of their family back in 1979, and is one of just 900 such units ever made.

When Daman looks back at his memories with the Lal Pari, he thinks of it as his family member. His father brought the vintage member into the family back in 1979 and it is one of just 900 such units ever made. The MG car has been Daman's ride ever since his childhood days and he even drove it on the day of his wedding.

He vaguely recalls that one day in 2008 or 2009, he suddenly realized that his Lal Pari was getting old and that he needs to restore it back to its original glory. Soon, he started spending time in restoring the car and sourcing rare spare parts from around the globe to prepare the 73-year-old vintage beauty for this adventure. He even put the car through rigorous testing in extreme temperatures and drove it through mountains, three feet of water and other terrains to make sure that it will be able to take his family to London safely. Before embarking on this road trip, he tested the car for about 1,200 kms in and around Ahmedabad. Earlier, he has also taken the car to Baroda, Mount Abu, Bengaluru, Mysore, Bandipore and Rajasthan.

Get, Set, Go!

Though the destination is still more than a month away, the family has started a series of YouTube episodes to stay connected with those following their trip. They've been sharing regular updates about their journey to keep car lovers and travel freaks entertained. The ultimate aim of the trip is “to spread smiles and message of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - a Sanskrit phrase for ‘The World Is One Family’".

First Published Date: 26 Aug 2023, 15:00 PM IST
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