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Fatima Jinnah’s cars handed over to consultant for restoration

Fatima Jinnah’s cars handed over to consultant for restoration

KARACHI: The two forgotten classic cars belonging to Miss Fatima Jinnah, which had been gathering rust for years, have finally been handed over to experts for restoration by the government at the National Museum here on Monday.

Work on the cars — a golden 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible and a white 1965 Mercedes Benz 200 — parked in two separate garages on the museum premises, is expected to take around one to one-and-a-half years.

“We will be working right here in the museum garages,” said Mohsin Ikram, founder and president of the Vintage and Classic Car Club of Pakistan and Motorheads Pakistan, who had first discovered the cars in Mohatta Palace back in 1992 after which he had been urging the government to preserve them.

Mr Ikram, who has been brought in as the consultant now, will along with his team take care of the entire restoration work. “But before we get to the cars, we’ll have to turn this place into a workshop,” he said. There was plaster falling off the ceiling of the two garages where all the work is to be carried out. And it leaks when it rains. “First things first, we are going to repair the ceiling, install wiring, fans and lights here myself,” the classic car lover said.

There were several mongoose running around outside the garages, which indicated the presence of snakes, rats and lizards in the area, but the restoration experts didn’t seem to care as they were more interested in how to bring the two cars back to mint condition.

“After being restored, the cars will be put on display permanently at the Quaid-i-Azam House Museum or Flag Staff House as it is also known as on Fatima Jinnah Road,” said Mr Ikram. Earlier, there had been plans to display the cars at the Army museum in Islamabad but good sense prevailed as Karachi was then seen as the right choice as the cars are after all a part of the city’s heritage and should remain here.

About the extent of the work involved, he said that they would be working on both cars simultaneously. “We’ll begin by removing the body fittings, including the seats, mouldings, bumpers, lights, etc. Then we’ll take out the body panels like fenders, doors and the bonnet. Next will come the turn of the body shell, hull or chassis, which will be restored, and so on,” the consultant, who has restored over a hundred classic cars, explained.

The bid amount for the restoration work, including other expenditures such as turning the garages into workshops and glass display cases for the cars after the work on them has been completed, was Rs23 million. But after tax deductions comes down to around Rs15m.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2016

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