By Shazia Hasan
Frere Hall Gardens was the place to be for lovers of antique cars on January 29 who wanted to be enamoured with vintage and classic cars. The cars too razzled and dazzled thanks to so much love being showered on them. Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Mercedes emblems weren't the only ones reflecting the winter sun’s rays, MG, Mustang and the round Volkswagen logos with the ‘V’ and ‘W’ in a circle shimmered as well. Black, white, red, green, blue, yellow, orange and even cream and off-white bodies, made of metal or even fibreglass gleamed.
Historic vehicles such as Karim Chhapra’s 1924 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost in which Mr Jinnah travelled when it was owned by the Nawab of Bahawalpur, Razi Nayyar’s 1972 deep green Jaguar XJ6 Series-1 that originally belonged to the former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Shoaib Qureshy’s black Vanden Plas 1956 Princess limousine (called ‘Princess’ because when it was made the late Queen Elizabeth, a princess at the time, had bought the very first two cars right off the production line) were not the only stars of the Antique Cars Show, organised by the Antique Cars Museum, which was launched in May 2022 – Pakistan’s first online car museum website. Although the website is not a year old yet, it is beyond crawling or taking its initial steps. It’s vrooming, roaring and zooming as the Antique Car Show exhibited over 100 cars, from as young as 40 years old, to as old as 99 years, on display.
Like any proud father, Shoaib Qureshy, MD, Bulls Eye DDB, whose brainchild this is, beamed as he watched his dreams coming true. Born out of a need to showcase the many vintage and classic cars in the country, an advertising guru like Qureshy was just the right person to make it happen as he is passionate about classic cars; Bulls Eye DDB, plays the part of a car chassis for the website he says.
“I’m originally an advertising person so being in the marketing and advertising field has helped,” Qureshy tells Aurora, adding how his agency helped in creating the branding, the social media platforms, and events for Antique Cars Museum. “If you look at our Instagram page, the content created for it is easy for us to do because we already do that kind of content creation and branding,” he explains.
Qureshy says the website has a presence on on Facebook and YouTube, too, but it is "bigger" on Instagram because. "There is a team of four people handling our social media. They are also all very passionate about antique cars."
Their Instagram account is an ongoing process. There is a lot of content there and it is alive 24/7 with regular posts. "It's also helping the Antique Cars Museum grow," says Qureshy. "More and more people are interested in antique cars be it buying or restoring them or participating actively within the community.”
"We get queries on our social media platforms about motor parts. The Antique Cars Museum helps connect sellers and buyers. We have experts on board who, too. Like one person is an expert in denting and painting, someone is an expert in upholstery or electric work. So we have these areas also identified. You always need such interaction with these cars," he says.
"It was not like that four or five years ago. The antique cars scene was very closed. It was an underground community. People didn't even know who was who and who had what. Now they are beginning to experience, touch, feel and know our cars. And that's how it is going to grow," he points out.
After the Antique Cars Museum's launch in May 2022, their first big live event was the Antique Car Show at the Frere Hall Gardens in January 2023. "It was our first Car Show, to become an annual feature event, most probably every January when the weather in Karachi is good. Other than that we also hold regular breakfast meets [on Sundays usually], drives and rallies,” he says.
"There are a lot of content generation ideas that we are working on, such as a series about collectors and the stories of the cars, as well as on car restoration which will feature mechanics, denters, painters, electricians, who are also very important people. We will have everything to do with antique cars. Our Instagram already has pics of our drives and rallies and our breakfast meet-ups where we talk about our cars while we break bread together. We will also plan longer drives. That, too, will create and generate content for our online audience besides being fun," he adds.
There is no fee for the collectors for registering and showcasing their cars on the website. "It is a non-profit project,' says Qureshy, "but we do get sponsors. For example, at the Antique Car Show, we had Lipton, Jubilee Insurance and Al-Noor/Lasani Wood on board.”
The writer is a senior reporter for Dawn. She tweets @HasanShazia