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IN CONVERSATION WITH GAUTAM HARI SINGHANIA

— Jasmeen Dugal

Gautam Hari Singhania, Chairman and Managing Director, Raymond Limited is not your average luxury and vintage car collector. Having driven a Ferrari 360 Modena Formula 1 car in France, his passion for cars is indisputable and he owns some of the most exotic cars in the world! Roads aren't his only terrain though since he also has a three-masted Arabian sailing dhow, speedboats named after Bond films and a business jet… but more on that later!! In conversation with him on his return from Cartier — Drive With Style.

 

Let’s rewind- What are your earliest automotive memories?

My first automobile memories are when I was driving a go-cart at the age of four. I got my first Fiat at the age of 18 which was a Premiere Padmini. There was not much to be said about those cars in those days but I really enjoyed tinkering with it and had lots of fun racing it!

 

You have an enviable collection of luxury cars. What inspires your choices?

I look to collect cars which are completely different. There are many cars that look the same and are in the same market bracket, but they are actually very different. Take the example of the Ferrari F58 Italia versus the Lamborghini Superleggera. While both of them are in the same market-range, they are two extremely different cars. They feel different, they drive different. One is a two wheel drive, the other is a four wheel drive; one is softer to drive, the other is harder to drive and there are many such differences. Albeit the differences are minor and not visible to people who are not passionate about cars but to the car enthusiasts, it is a big difference.

 

Which are the cars you still dream of owning?

At present I have many projects underway to build very unique cars. There is no car brand or machine I particularly want to buy because the hyper-car market is not something that I am interested in.

 

Is it a challenge to maintain a fleet of these luxury cars?

Yes it is a big challenge to maintain luxury cars. I have a good team of people that keep my machines going.

 

As an integral part of FIA World Motor Sport Council, how do you propose to promote motor-sport in India?

I think promoting motor-sport in India has two core objectives. First, to bring the cost down and second, to increase the frequency of events. We are working on both aspects and I hope that you will see many more motor-sports in the coming years.

 

How significant is it to showcase your cars at Cartier- Drive With Style? Do share some thoughts about this event as a platform for car collectors and restorers.

Cartier - Drive With Style is a great platform which boasts a line-up of the best cars in the world. I believe in supporting all car events, whether it’s the Cartier event, the WIAA or any such events. I think by supporting such events, we build up a movement of cars and car lovers. I certainly enjoy attending these functions as you meet a lot of people and learn a lot.

 

Looking at the bigger picture- do you feel restoring and maintaining classic cars is becoming a lost art?

Yes it is becoming a lost art but I am thoroughly enjoying restoring cars and I have started collecting vintage cars too!

 

How would you describe the classic car culture in India?

I think there is a growing culture for classic cars in India but certainly nowhere close to the same in Europe.

 

With advancements in technology- how do you see the definition of automotive luxury changing?

Well, technology is changing exponentially and a lot is going on in the Auto world. For example, 'Electric' is becoming a big market and such advanced technologies are promising.

 

- JASMEEN DUGAL AND VERONIQUE POLES

 

Gautam Hari Singhania
Gautam Hari Singhania at Cartier: Drive With Style
 
12-MARCH-2019
 
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