brothers park coveted cars on the first floor of their farmhouse
the cars driven by the onscreen James Bonds-from Sean Connery to Pierce
Brosnan-are here. So are others behind whose steering wheels have sat
famous drivers. And more than 500 of them. If this sounds like a dream,
it is. The Autofest City in Mysore-a museum of scale-model cars-is the
dream that has come true for two brothers.
(left) and Clyde hold replicas of 550 dream machines
brothers, Neil, 34, and Clyde, 29, have, over the years, managed to put
together a collection of model cars that is the pride of the town. Tucked
away on the first floor of their farmhouse, 10 km outside Mysore, the
museum has 550 cars, all true to the smallest detail. The brothers have
either imported the models or they were gifted by friends settled abroad.
the cars are in scale 40, which means the real car is 40 times bigger.
Others are scale 43, followed by 18. The replication leaves one astounded.
A scale 12 model of a 1988 McLaren F1, for example, even sports the original
leather upholstery. The section called the Nostalgia Cinema Series showcases
pieces like the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biaritz driven by pop king Elvis
Presley in one of his films. The 20-inch-long scale 12 model has a bonnet,
boot and doors that open, a detailed painted engine, carpeted interiors,
with a generous lashing of art-deco chrome. Marilyn Monroe's 1955 Cadillac
convertible also graces the gathering, rubbing shoulders with a 1961 Rolls-Royce
in which Roger Moore cruised as James Bond in View to a Kill.
idea is to have models of vehicles that have some place in motoring history,"
says Clyde, an English teacher. Neil, general manager of an indenting
agency for highly purified metals, recalls the duo falling in love with
cars, starting with the old Ambassador their father used to drive around
Mumbai. After he passed away they and their mother Tessy moved to the
farm on the outskirts of Mysore "to be away from the madding crowd".
It was left to Tessy to buy the cars in the store windows that her sons
Been Worth It: The duo's interest flagged when they reached Mysore.
But once they spotted 1:40 scale models of a Mercedes and a Ferrari in
a store there, the passion revved up again. "We quickly got hold
of complete sets of 1:40 and 1:43 miniatures from Maisto in China and
BBurago in Italy," chuckles Neil. Within four years, the number in
the collection increased to over 500.
on tabletops and rack displays, the miniatures are protected by handcrafted
glass cases. Each has a label with information downloaded from the Net.
The idea is to make their hobby informative for the layman. "These
are not toys but collectibles," says Clyde seriously. The smaller
models sit on a 16 ft-long, four-level display case, with street scenes
crafted by Neil and Clyde as backdrops. Tessy, a self-taught artist, helped
with the painting.
to the museum can also admire scale models of a clubhouse, a railway station
and dealerships of Mercedes-Benz, Porshe, BMW, Ferrari and even the desi
Ashok Leyland and Mahindra. There is a model of a bar called Tavern and
a fire station with eight models of fire engines, apart from a full-fledged
truck stop along the lines of truck stops abroad. And for the war-buffs
there is the camouflaged Hummer-or the Humvee-that was used by the American
Army during Operation Desert Storm.
are wont to, Tessy would rather that her sons think of more serious issues,
like matrimony. "But they are so obsessed with these models I don't
know when they will give me the good news," she laughs. On their
part the brothers only have cars on their mind. "We wish the Central
government would permit dedicated enthusiasts duty-free import of car
miniatures," says Neil. It's quite clear the D'Costas read, think
and speak automobiles. But because of them, visitors to the Autofest City
can get to see cars-okay, scale models-they can otherwise never hope to
come face to face with.