Owning certain cars can be difficult. Sourcing parts can be a pain if the number of cars is low, the issue is that the cars which are less commonly restored tend to not have their stock of parts replenished. Maintaining a classic Mercedes is easier than an old golf, you’ll have to wait for your parts at times if you want it at the right price compared to the possibly overnight service with a car like the W123 240D. The Mercedes parts are often affordable compared to other less desirable cars.
I happened to have needed some major BMW parts for my E30 which I finally found near Bombay. Hence planned a weeklong trip to pick up some parts, drop some off too and also meet some friends. The weird thing about car enthusiasts compared to normal people is that they will ask for car parts rather than Alcohol when you ask them what they want from Goa.
We started off at around 5 am to head to Kholapur, Pune and Lonavla. There wasn’t much to talk about apart from the view and how empty the Ghats were, the roads were in above average condition.
I had been to Kholapur a few times but I never thought much of the place till I saw a VW variant restored in Kholapur. I saw it at a car show in Goa, It was amazing and quite good compared to most other restorations I had seen before. We entered Kholapur this time to check out a golf for a friend, it turns out it was a sad example and would require too much work to be feasible. Nearly all cars can be ‘saved’ but depending on condition, desirability and sentimental value the project should be considered. It’s not always an easy calculation to make considering that there are so few imports still available. This Golf was none of the above.
We later came across a workshop nearby which happened to restore selective cars and had restored the beautiful Variant which I mentioned earlier. This variant went on to win “best restored car” at the show.
We quickly headed to Pune to try to complete as much work as possible in a short span of time, we tried our best to make this the most productive road trip ever. As we approached we got in touch with Mr.Badamikar who called us over the see his collection, as we entered it felt like a scene out of a TV show where some restorer visits a large lot with some dusty American beauties. It was unbelievable and out of this world!
The first thing I spotted was his Cadillac! It stood out in this area as one of the only running cars, this was the work area and where cars await their turn to be worked upon.
Behind his Cadillac, I spotted him in his workshop overlooking some work, he greeted us with a smile, ready to show us around his collection. He first showed us his old workshop which was slowly being shifted, there were a few familiar bikes around, some very interesting cars being worked on as well.
Mr.Badamikar then took us to a closed shed. It looked like it was just built, I didn’t expect much till he unlocked it and we looked inside. What we saw shocked us.
Nearly 20 restored cars! To be honest I couldn’t identify half since I prefer the German cars from the late 70s to early 90s, but this was a feast for the eyes for any car lover. Even someone who didn’t understand them would be amazed.
As we walked between the cars Mr.Badamikar told us about them, some about how they featured in Bollywood movies and how only one car was used as a wedding car. As we reached the end he showed us the first car he ever added to the collection, a Fiat 1957 Millecento which he bought back in 1997, he then got into it and began to start it. He continued to randomly do this till we reached back to the beginning.(obviously not the same car, other cars) When one wouldn’t start he would pop the hood and ask his mechanic to check the vitals which always led to the cars starting. I joked about this being an obsession and that it could lead to our sanity being at stake.
I saw many rare cars but some really caught my eye. The Citroen H type van really stood out. The 1948 Dodge Custom and 1949 Chevrolet Deluxe were also real show stoppers.
As we left the shed he showed us his new kitchen for his catering business. He explained that his son now ran the business and he now gets to enjoy the cars all day, it’s the dream if you ask me! (Food and cars, why not?)
As we got back to the workshop he invited us to his house at the top of the hill where he had MORE CARS!
He started up his 1989 Cadillac DeVille, it purred like a kitten! He zoomed up the slope, pushing us back into our plush seats, something I didn’t expect from an old automatic car.
As we reached his house we were greeted by more classics and his modern beauties too, a beautiful house with an amazing view and I don’t just mean the cars.
I saw the T2 van at his place, which he drove to Goa a few months ago when we first met. This was an identical model to the one my dad used to have. He drove this beauty to Goa, filled it up with rare parts, even an engine and drove it back without a problem.
Mr.Badamikar had collected 55-60 cars in the past 20 years, this years purchases being The 1989 DeVille a w124 Mercedes , a w123 Mercedes wagon, VW Passat and a Citreon 2CV van.
As the sun set we got ready to leave for our pitstop for the night, Lonavla!