Welcome back to wheels, Manjeet! The last time you were here your Corvette had a white paint job, now it is silver – what gives?
It’s great to be back! Well, when I first bought it in early 2015, it required a lot of attention and after tackling the mechanical side of it all (servicing the brakes, replacing the worn out flywheel, clutch plate, pressure plate, suspension bushes and even having the carburettor sent to an expert in the US and rebuilt) the outcome was a 1972 Corvette that drives like new. Once the interior was freshened up (the carpet was replaced and my wife and I actually restored the red leather seats ourselves; honestly, I surprised myself with the outcome!) it was time to do something about the exterior.
From the VIN details it became obvious that the first owner had at some point in time changed the paint from the original Pewter Silver to white. Pewter Silver was a one-year only and rare colour for the 1972 Corvette (just 1,372 of the 26,959 built that year had this hue) and as I had always intended to restore the car to its original glory, I went ahead and had it repainted.
It spent two months at the body shop (all the body panels were aligned perfectly) and I must admit that the Pewter Silver and red interior combination looks great.
It definitely does — what else have you had done to it since we last saw you?
I have been a huge fan of the Turbine hubcaps from the Seventies that GM used to offer as an additional option on the Corvettes and managed to hunt these down online. I love the change in looks to the car that these bring.
It’ll be winter season soon and we bet you can’t wait to whip those t-tops off and cruise!
Not only do the T-tops comes off, the rear glass also pops out on this model and I am so eager for the weather to cool down a bit so that I can enjoy the drive even better.
I would like to enjoy drives with like-minded people and their vintage vehicles here in Dubai and I am tempted to apply for an ATA Carnet for India and take the car with me for a short holiday; it would be out of the world to be able to drive this beauty from Mumbai to Goa and back. Someday…
There aren’t many of these here with a manual gearbox which makes it even more pleasurable to drive…
Driving a vintage Corvette with a four-speed Muncie transmission mated to a small block Chevy 350 V8 is a match made in heaven.
To your incredible Harley Davidson shrine which has literally taken over a large part of your home and looks fabulous on display! How did this begin?
For years I have been purchasing Harley related items from all over the globe mostly though auction websites and swap meets in the US (when travelling, I don’t do the usual touristy type of things — instead, I set off to the Harley showrooms and to any local vintage car/motorcycle stores!) and had these on display and it has just grown exponentially. It takes the pride of place at home and I am always told that I could open my own museum if I wanted to! Luckily, the house is an L-shaped structure so one end hosts my man-cave and the other is like any other normal home should be.
There was a time when I had a good count of all the items displayed with inventory in an excel file but with time the collection has grown so much that now I maintain a photo inventory of the memorabilia.
Fortunately, your wife is very supportive of your passion and helps maintain your collection...
I am very lucky to have her, she is super cool. She is my partner in crime when it comes to hunting collectible limited-edition pieces. My family and friends are extremely proud of it; they are the biggest admirers / promoters of it but I am trying very hard to not let my obsession take over the home, however, I do think we need to move to a bigger house or better yet, if I can find an investor and the requirements to open a small motorcycle museum here in Dubai, it would be a dream come true.
At last count we believe you had four Harleys — how many motorbikes do you have now?
Until recently I had eight, however, a close friend of mine convinced me to sell him one (this was not an easy decision at all!) so now I am down to seven.
The oldest bike in my stable is a 1933 Harley Davidson VLE and it has a very interesting story; I am the fourth owner of this bike that I call ‘Journey’ since in its 86 years of life it has seen so much. It was born in the Thirties during the peak of the Great Depression in the US, been through World War 2, travelled throughout the US and is now in the Middle East. The second owner (Rod) had it for an incredible 63 years and looked after it as if it were his baby. He last rode it when he was 80 and before he passed away, he donated it to a church in Vermont, US. It then moved to Virginia and stayed there for a couple of years before I was able to purchase it. When I brought the bike over to Dubai, it came with a big box full of all the old parts that were replaced by Rod along with insurance documents and various receipts of spares that were installed on it. There was also a letter from the church capturing the story of how they had acquired it and a video of Rod talking about the bike and the experiences he had with it. He had purchased it in 1935 with three other close friends as he could not afford the price of $75 dollars for it alone, but then later was able to buy it from them.
There is much more that I can say about it for which we may need an article in your esteemed magazine just dedicated to Journey.
Rod would be happy to see that it is in good hands now. Like always, you have been braving the summer heat to ride; what time do you set off?
Around 3:45am! I ride every Friday with my friends and we often travel about 250 to 300km but in winter we do double the distance. We also do overnight trips to neighbouring countries; Oman has some beautiful roads and hidden gems to explore on a motorcycle. It becomes even better when you are riding with a bunch of good friends. Making lifelong friends is so easy on a motorcycle and I am truly blessed to have some great friends that I have been hitting the UAE roads with since 2007. Honestly, they are more like my extended family.