Words : Navid Hossain , Photography : Courtesy
Be it the automotive scene or the corporate world. Malik Talha Ismail Bari is a widely renowned phenomenon. He is one of the directors of the most famous conglomerate company of Bangladesh, The United Group. His organization holds influence over the Power Generation sector, Real Estate, and even Retail. Although he is mostly focused on Real Estate and Retail, he is now giving his attention to the Culinary Sector too. That is right, he is also the Managing Director of the widely popular Chef’s Table and Unimart.
How It All Began:
Avidly, he also collects vintage cars. In the automotive scene, Mr.Talha is not only popular but also loved and respected by collectors alike, for being genuinely humble. Car collecting for Mr. Talha started with his father, his father is passionate about collecting vintage cars. Despite this, Mr. Talka got into the car collecting quite late. But the primary reason he got into the whole car collecting was due to his friend Mandood. He had a really beautiful Mercedes w123 and Mr. Talha fell in love with that car. Even when he started to collect cars a Mercedes w123 was the first-ever vintage he owned. He is a fan of cars dating back from the 1950s to 1975’s. The cars which his grandfather, father used to ride. These cars hold a nostalgia factor for him.
“These are cars that formed the history of Bangladesh. I think the cars of that time are more romantic than the cars we see on the streets today. They hold a lot more meaning and value” according to Malik Talha.
Primarily his goal was to get as many cars as he could from that era. He would acquire whatever crossed his road. Over time that became his primary concern. Then came the restoration process, which takes a hefty amount of time. Getting one, then getting that restored then getting another one just doesn’t work, as restoration takes a lot of time. It has been almost a decade since his collection started, meanwhile, he got some Vespas and other bikes as well.
“My father is very passionate about those cars in fact, the cars he would get to use as a kid, The Morris Minor, The Hillman Minx. Some cars are still out of reach. I am still searching for those and f I do happen to come up in front of them I will try to get them.” Told Mr. Talha.
In His Collection:
Up until now, Mr. Talha managed to get more than 30 cars. The collection is still ongoing. These are segregated country wise. He has German, Americans, Europeans, and quite several Japanese cars as well. From the German category, his major ones are beetles. He has a few beetles which are driven regularly.
“The Bugs that I own are the ones that I drive most often” Quoted Malik Talha.
Mr. Talha has quite several Toyotas as well, which include the RT40 aka The Toyota Corona.
“Some of the Coronas I own has a very beautiful history to them. The first-ever corona I bought, was from a gentleman who was the first owner of the car. He bought it from Navana who bought it from Navana and the man used to drive it himself. When I bought it from him, his only request was to show him the restored car. When I did show him the restored car he was beyond happy. I asked him if he wanted to drive it, but he declined and said that since it’s my car now, he’d love to for a ride. So I drove him around Gulshan. He so happy he even brought his camera and took pictures of the car”
Mr. Talha has some rare American cars, like the Crosley Hotshot, some Port Falcon. He has a good number of Willys as well. He has got, Jeep Civilian Cj, MJ Military version. A series of Willy’s jeep.
There are some nice British cars in his collection as well. Those include Morris Minor Cars. The Morris was the second car that he has purchased. It is a 1967 Morris Minor. He also has a SS 1.5 1939 jaguar. This car is called the Jaguar before the company was Sparrow.
One of the rarest cars he has in his collection, in the Dellow Mark II. Only 93 ever produced globally making it a super rare car.
“What amazes me the most is the fact that during those times people procured cars like these, especially in Bangladesh”
A Most Beloved Car:
“One of the cars that I am particularly attached to is a Bug that I call Lola. He got this one from Mr. Morshed. I bought the Morris Minor from his. Now, the day I went to pick up the Morris Minor he asked me if I would want to see another car. Even though it is not up for sale. I was like sure I would love to see one. So we went and when he unveiled the car, I immediately fell in love with it. It did not have a roof. So I told Mr. Morshed that I will buy it from him and to this he disagreed. But I told him I will get it eventually and I did a few years later.”
” Main reason I am attached to Bugs is that they are human cars. We need to drive one to know what it means”
Mr. Talha is the biggest Vintage collector in Bangladesh. Among his collection, there are a few Vespas. All the Vespas he has been from the 1960s and all of them are 150 models. The first Vespa he ever bought is a Vespa VBB 150. He calls it Mocha.