Fatima Jinnah’s cars on the road to restoration

Consultant hopes to finish work on the Mercedes before Quaid’s birth anniversary this year

Photo Ayesha Mir/saadia Qamar October 11, 2016
A view of the cars before and during the restoration work. PHOTOS: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS

KARACHI: Fatima Jinnah’s priceless cars — a 1956 Cadillac and a white 1965 Mercedes Benz 200 — that were previously considered worthless are currently being restored to their former glory at the National Museum.

The idea to restore the cars to their former prestige started after a consultant, Mohsin Ikram, was hired to do the job.

With a team of 10 people working under his supervision for the restoration, Ikram told The Express Tribune that the body of both the cars has been stripped entirely, while work on each piece is being carried out separately.

“Most of the big shots in the car market had reviewed the vehicles and dismissed the idea of restoration on seeing their dismal condition,” said Ikram. The bodies and structures are gone and we are rebuilding each and every nut of these cars from scratch, he explained.

The engines had to be dismantled as rainwater had seeped in, the bonnets had holes and the top covers were open, listed Ikram, while sharing the condition of the cars when he received them. “I also found that the aluminum parts inside the cars had altogether disappeared and transformed into a paste format,” he said, lamenting that the aluminum parts were very difficult to find.

Deciding to outsource some of the vehicle parts, Ikram will be relying on Germany for the spare parts of the Mercedes and on the United States for the Cadillac.

“There were no rims or tyres on the Cadillac which are also coming from the US,” said Ikram. However, the Mercedes had tyres, while the rims will be purchased locally, he added.

“When I had first seen the Cadillac at Mohatta Palace ages back, I thought it was of a golden colour, but we have found now that it is actually a heavy crème coloured car, tilting towards a shade of light yellow,” said Ikram, adding that the Mercedes was in white and that he and his team plan, as far as possible, to keep the cars in their original form.

Working around a deadline

“A year has been given to completely restore these cars. They should be ready by June 30, 2017,” said Ikram, adding that they are hoping to restore the Mercedes by December 25 this year and place it at the Flagstaff House since it will be Quaid-i-Azam’s birth anniversary.

Priceless cars

“A price tag cannot really be attached to these cars. They are priceless because of their historical importance,” said Ikram. However if they are ever auctioned, the price of the Cadillac must come up to $200 million and the Mercedes to $1.5 million.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2016.


tazia | 5 years ago | Reply US$ 200m will be PKR 21bn Sell it and open 200 model schools in Karachi with that fund. Ms Fatima Jinnah's sould would be much happier with that.
Woz | 5 years ago | Reply Google classic 1956 Cadillac and there are many for sale from a few thousand dollars to 25,000 dollars. These are also original and not rebuilt. I find it hard to believe , despite its heritage this car would sell for millions, let alone $200 million. What I do admire is the work to restore a little bit of history.
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