A girl’s coupe of antics

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | RASHMI RAJAGOPAL LOBO
Published Feb 16, 2016, 12:00 am IST
Updated Feb 16, 2016, 12:05 am IST
This city lass was the only female driver at the 21 Gun Salute Rally at the Buddh Circuit in Delhi.
Rupali Prakash
 Rupali Prakash

Rupali Prakash is leading the idyllic life. The pretty, 26-year-old lives on a picturesque farm just outside the city surrounded by the things she loves the most — her family’s collection of vintage cars, some of which date back to the early 1900s. Having just returned from the 21 Gun Salute Rally at the Buddh Circuit in Delhi, she tells us what it was like to be the only female driver to participate in the international vintage car event.   

“At every stage, people were surprised, whether it was when I was going to collect my participant badge or when they saw that I was the only girl driving on the Buddh circuit with the other men — all much older, not even boys!,” exclaims the Bengaluru girl, adding, “Driving an open, two-door car on the Delhi-Noida highway with all the large speeding vehicles was not as intimidating as I thought it would be.

 

The 1955 Jaguar XK 140 cruised beautifully on the highway. Two girls (my friend Tanvi Pradeep and I) driving a bright red open top car meant we couldn’t stop just anywhere on the highway. We thoroughly enjoyed the wind in our hair while we cruised through.”

With a father who has been collecting dated yet beautiful automobiles for over 30 years, it’s no surprise that the Valley School graduate was naturally drawn towards the world of historic wheels. “We have a restoration center on the farm.

So my younger sister Shefali and I have grown up seeing car parts literally arrive in gunny bags and watching my dad and his team transform them into these magnificent automobiles.

 

Ever since I was about four, we’ve participated in vintage car rallies,” reveals the young lady, who would drive her sister and herself to their kickboxing classes in a 1961 Austin Mini Cooper, while growing up.   

After a degree in HR from the University of Warwick, Rupali worked for three years making board games for children, but her passion for the graceful yet imposing metallic beauties of yesteryear saw her hanging up her boots and focusing all her attention on her family’s business. “To see a single part of a car arrive and watch that come to life is something else. Some cars take as long as seven years to restore. Each of our cars are like a member of our family. They all have different personalities. That’s why even before we drive a car, we take the time out to understand it,” she shares.

 

Also adept with the paintbrush, Prakash has her own line of clothes and accessories called Classic Chase.  “Each of these vehicles is a piece of history, that tells us so much about the past. And just like heritage buildings and monuments, they must also be preserved. I’m hoping these vintage cars will spark interest amongst the young as well,” she concludes.

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