Daman Thakore, 50, accompanied by his 75-year-old father, 21-year-old daughter and a close-knit group of friends and family is enroute to England after they set off from Gujarat on an epic car journey last week, commemorating 76 years of India’s Independence.
The Ahmedabad businessman plans to cover approximately 12,000 kilometres across 16 countries to take a 1950 MG YT to its birthplace of the MG factory in Abingdon, south-east England. Fondly named Lal Pari, the red 1950 MG YT has stood the test of time for the family for many generations over the years and is now adorned with a special monogram of the Sardar Patel Statue of Unity in keeping with its Gujarati connection.
The expedition was symbolically flagged off by Mangal Prabhat Lodha, the Minister of Skills, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the government of Maharashtra, in Mumbai.
Thakore said: “On this Independence Day, a 73-year-old British car – having spent all her life in India – along with three generations of its family are on a personal journey from India to UK. Our adventure journey with Lal Pari, or Red Angel as we lovingly call her, has been from bedtime stories since I was three to real-life journeys now. 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.”
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Thakore, Managing Partner at Amin Equipment which specialises in large construction equipment, says the road trip is a heartfelt homage to his parents who nurtured his love for adventure through extensive car journeys during Diwali holidays. The latest route will encompass Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Switzerland, Germany, and numerous other countries, before reaching its final destination in England.
For sustenance, the Thakore family have packed an induction stove and an array of ready-to-eat delicacies such as pav bhaji, handvo, pulav, and parantha to keep a taste of home alive through the journey. The meticulous preparations for the expedition began as far back as 2008-09 and then Lal Pari underwent an extensive restoration in 2017-18 followed by test tours to Jaipur, Kutch, Mysore, and various other destinations.
Despite its top speed capped at 60 kmph, the Thakores plan to maintain a leisurely pace of 35 kmph and meet a daily target of 250 km to ensure they fully enjoy the journey.
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Their car ride is complemented by a support caravan, a Tata Winger minibus, steered by vintage car enthusiast Mukesh Bararia and photographer Vinay Panjwani. Accompanied by a minibus equipped with tents, spare parts, food provisions, and other essentials, the family hope Lal Pari's journey will become not only a personal milestone but also a testament to human ingenuity and spirit.