EMM Faruq has been collecting classic cars longer than many of us are living. With over 70 cars that ranges from 1926 Chevrolets classic to recent era Mercedes, his collection is the largest in Bangladesh.
I was introduced to the concept of “car” when I was four years old. I was given a small toy car to play with. Around 1950’s, my father bought a Morris Minor and I have spent a lot of time in it touring Dhaka city. Dhaka was much different back then, the roads were much narrower. I have fell in love with cars ever since.
People who collect cars usually collect those they grow up with, however many of your cars in your collections predates you by generation? Why do you collect those?
These cars are part of Bangladesh’s history. The generation that predates us used them. Some of them are destroyed, some of them are abandoned, and I’m trying to save the few that are left for the future generations. A large part of our younger generation has never seen cars like these. These cars are a part of our history, part of our culture and part of our life. And thus I’m trying to preserve them to the best of my abilities.
What was the car that started this collection?
The first car I collected was a Ford Model A. I got the car in 1977 in pretty decent condition. The car has been though a tough life, taking part in several rallies. The car is now earmarked for a through restoration.
What is you view on restomodding?
I’m not into that. I dislike it strongly, in fact. A common habit of many Bangladeshi car collators is to replace a car’s original running gear. This is especially common with classic Mercedes owners who replace the original engine and transmission with Japanese ones. This upsets me greatly. If a car is not all original, it is not worth preserving as a historic relic.
It has been said you also have a vintage plane. Can you tell us more about it?
I do. It’s a de Havilland Gipsy Major from 1930’s. It used to be part of the flying club fleet. It was sold to one of their student, who flew it to Mymensingh Agriculture Collage and just left it there. Many years later it was put up for auction and I bought it from there.
Of all the cars in your collection, what are your most favorites?
That would the blue Morris Minor in my collection. Another one of my favorites is the 1926 Chevrolet because in I got married in that car.
Some cars in your collection are over a century old. What can the young collectors can do to collect cars like these?
Unfortunately, I think that pool has dried. Mine is the probably last generation who had easy access to these cars. If they want to collect now, they should focus on 60-70’s Japanese and maybe some European classics like the Beetle.
Most of the cars in your collection have pretty rich history. Can you speak about some of them, like the Oldsmobile in your collection that is riddled with bullet holes?
That cars history predates the birth of our country. It used to be part of the East Pakistan’s US embassy feet. At some point of its life, it was sold off to a Hindu businessman in Faridpur. During the Liberation War, his house was attacked by the Pakistani Army. However, he managed to flee successfully and the military fired upon the car in anger. In fact, when we got the car, the seats were filled with bullets. We restored the rest of the car but kept the shot up windshield as a reminder of the cars past.
How do you restore these cars?
I do it myself. I have a small team who over the years has gotten very good at restoring classic cars.
You have been through multiple generations of car collection. What do you think of car collecting then and car collecting now?
Well back then I was called crazy for spending money and time on what was deemed by most as “scrap metal”. I also had a hard time figuring out how to restore them as internet was not a thing back then. I actually had to travel to Europe and rummage though libraries to find information. Now thanks to social media, car collection is now an acceptable hobby and it is now much easier to find out how to fix or replace something.
Do you have any words of advice for the young collectors?
Those who are passionate about these cars should work closely together. Get in a club, help each other.