THE HOBBYIST

From cars, Vespa, bonsai, diecasts, fishes you name it Md. Didarul Islam Sujan probably collects them all

Tell us about yourself

I am Md. Didarul Islam Sujan, there is no end to my hobbies. I love collecting cars, gardening, reading, collecting diecasts, fishes and many more. I studied from Bangladesh medical college and hospital, and did my masters from Singapore from James Cook University and came back to Bangladesh. My father started a business, the Abacus convention centre; I always tagged along with him to work. He passed away in 2011 then I started to handle it all by myself. My family always supported my hobbies because I really don’t have bad habits. I used to tell my family that I repainted my Volkswagens when the number crossed 4 so that they don’t say anything but when the number of cars I owned got out of hand I hand to come clean and tell them that I had bought and repaired a handful of Volkswagen.

What made you passionate towards cars and bikes?

I always loved classic cars; I have friends who own Porsches, Range Rovers and many high end cars. I like them but I don’t have the drive to buy them but when I see a classic car which is tastefully made, I go crazy, I have to own it.

In 1997 or 19908 when I was in the 2nd year of my medical college, I saw a Volkswagen with a sign saying ‘’for sale’’ the price was 32000 taka. At that time I didn’t know about papers, gearbox and started to think where to get the money, so I told my dad I wanted to buy a car. He said you are only in the second year and you want a car know, he thought that to buy a car you have to spend over 3 lakhs but then I let him know that it was 32000 taka and said ‘’when do you need the money?’’ I replied ‘’ tomorrow ‘’. He thought that if buying a car would calm me down it would be for the good, little did he know that is when my addiction towards cars started. He then gave the money and a mechanic brought the car to my home. I then got to know people who drive and maintain Volkswagens in Dhaka and how to maintain them and everything.

What is your dream car?

This is also a Volkswagen, the Volkswagen samba bus split window also known as the 52 windows. I have the two of the next generation. I also have another favourite car which is unattainable, the Porsche 911.

Out of all the cars you own which one is your favourite?

The first beetle I owned which my dad bought for me. It has a sentimental value and is an awesome car and I drove it the most. It needs slight restoration.

What is it like to drive the Beetle and the Vespa?

Fantastic, if a person drives a pristine condition Volkswagen he or she will never drive another car. It can keep up speed up to 120 and we also went to Sajek where pickup trucks struggle and overheat. These have very less horsepower but that doesn’t matter, they don’t have radiators and are air cooled.

Anywhere I go people ask me if this car is new or how much did it cost or how old the car is.

The funny thing is whenever I go to Gulshan I always see a card on my wiper with the writing if I want to sell it or not. Classic is classic.

What car do you want to own in the future?

The Volkswagen karmann ghia, there is one in Bangladesh. The owner doesn’t want to sell the car and the car is almost decaying. Even if you are from NASA you cannot fix a Volkswagen without proper knowledge.

What advice would you give to young car enthusiasts?

Do not follow the trend, be yourself. Be happy with what you have even if you have a maruti build it in a clean way express yourself and if a young car guy can maintain a classic he or she can maintain any car in the world.

What are the future plans of the Volkswagen and vespa club?

We are planning to do a rally to South Africa in our Volkswagens but we need a huge sponsor for that. This will take 6 months.

For for the Vespa club we are planning to do a tour out of Bangladesh for a noble cause like friendship rally or something like that with India and Nepal which will take 15 days or so.

 

 

Words: Syed Galib

Pictures: Syed Galib