The MG Car Club of Abingdon welcomed Daman Thakore, an Ahmedabad based businessman, and his family, who had covered a 7500-mile journey from India, driving his 1950 MG Y Type Tourer, to bring it back to its birthplace in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Family members consisted of his 75-year old Father, his 21-year-old Daughter together with friends driving a backup vehicle.
The Y Type was lovingly restored over a two-year period before the trip, together with six years of meticulous planning for the journey. Parts were acquired from around the world, with Daman also travelling to the UK to acquire items.
To ensure the car would withstand all conditions, they tested it in harsh temperatures in excess of 45° C and even drove the vehicle in three feet of water! The car was taken to mountainous regions to ensure their journey would be uninterrupted in all sorts of terrain. The car took all the strenuous tests in its stride. Daman said he used pistons from a diesel engine and adapted them to fit the Y Type, and it never overheated during the journey.
To ensure the trip was seamless, the car was supported by a campervan which accompanied them throughout. This contained many spares for the Y Type together with the filming equipment, and Lal Pari’s support group. They called this vehicle Lal Pari Ki Saheli, translating to the ‘Friend of Red Angel’.
The journey which started on August 15, this being India’s 77th Independence Day, took over two months to complete and crossed 16 countries, which included countries such as Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Switzerland, Germany, France before reaching its final destination of Abingdon, in Oxfordshire, England on October 31.
Daman said “The car has spent all its life in India, my dad buying it 48 years ago when I was two, so this is a very special journey to bring it back to the UK. Our adventure with Lal Pari, or Red Angel as we lovingly call her has been inspired by bedtime stories my mum read to me as a youngster, and I’m so proud to now be able to complete these journeys. Lal Pari spreads happiness and joy wherever it goes, and we wish to share that with the rest of the world”.
“A sterling silver hood monogram of ‘Sardar Patel Statue of Unity’ has been specially commissioned to adorn the hood of Lal Pari and will be gifted to the people of UK from the people of India on conclusion of the journey, and with the hope that it can be presented to King Charles III” he added.
On their arrival at The MG Car Club’s Kimber House in Abingdon, they were welcomed by the staff and members, who had put on a display of cars including two Y-Type saloons. John Day, the Club President, welcomed Daman and his family on behalf of the Club. In attendance was the Deputy Lieutenant of Oxford, Mrs Felicity Dick, who was presented with the Statue of Unity by Daman. Mrs Dick replied that she would endeavour to personally present the Sardar Patel Statue of Unity personally to King Charles III.
The visit ended as the rain started to fall, Daman and his party were waved goodbye. An amazing achievement by an amazing family, in which the MG Car Club were honoured to play a small part.