Indrajit (Toy) Banerjee - Tinkerer to Vintage Car Restorer

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By A Correspondent

Indrajit (Toy) Banerjee is a Rallyist, Scrutineer, Marshall and a Vintage Car Restorer.  He was born into an aristocratic family.  The grandson of a Rai Bahadur (British administrative title conferred upon by Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India), Indrajit was a motor car enthusiast since he was a child.  While his friends enjoyed playing with toy cars, his hobby was to dismantle and fix them. 

Indrajit's father was a senior officer at the Kolkata Port Trust while his mother was a homemaker.  He studied Commerce at St. Xavier's College, Kolkata but cars were his dream and there was no other calling for him.  In fact, his interest in cars were such that he was known in college by the nickname, Dashboard.

Life was smooth  for the happy-go-lucky young man when right
after his  21st birthday he lost his father.  Indrajit had to shoulder the responsibility of the family.  He began doing odd jobs but nothing enticed him like cars.  So one day he decided to follow his heart.  He began to sell cars with a partner.  At the same time he began to participate in car rallies and won many prizes.

"My life took another turn," he laughed when he realized his hand gesture describing the turn had resembled a car making a turn on the street; and continued, "after I met a senior schoolmate who was also in the vintage car business."  They instantly connected due to their common interest and exchanged their knowledge of vintage cars.  Soon the friendship turned into a professional relationship and Indrajit began visiting clients all over the country along with his friend.

His automobile savvy clients were delighted to partake in his vast knowledge and commitment to their cars.  He became their go-to man for assessment and restoration.  Business began to boom.  Unable to cope with the pressure, Indrajit's friend pointed out that it was time he began his own consultation business.  

Since then Indrajit has not looked back.  His experience in the automobile industry has helped him to explore the market in novel and unique ways.  His knowledge of genuine spare parts and their availability is unparalleled in the country. 

Along with restoring vintage cars, Indrajit is a judge for the Cartier Travel with Style show and the Vintage Classic Car Rally, which is held in Mumbai every year.  Also, twice, he was a judge in the 21 Gun Salute International Vintage Cars Rally & Concours Show held yearly in New Delhi.

Some of Indrajit's restoration to perfection include: 

  • Austin (1932)
  • Austin 10 (1947) 
  • Austin Sheerline (1947)
  • Plymouth (1937) and (1947)
  • Desoto (1954)
  • Pontiac Silver Streak (1947) 
  • Pontiac Streamliner (1948)
  • Studebaker Champion (1946)
  • Jeep- (CJ-3A CJ-3B)-1948,1952,1961,1966
  • Triumph  Herald (1963)
  • HM Ambassador (Mark-I,II,III)-1960,1961,1965,1966,1973
  • Mercedes -180,190D, 200 & 300SE
  • HM Contessa (1983)
  • Ford Prefect (1950)
  • Hillman Minx & Super Imp- (1953 & 1964)
  • Buick Super 8 (1947)
  • Sunbeam Talbot (1957)
  • Jaguar Mark IV (1963)
  • Morris Minor (1953)
  • Adler (1932)
  • Chevrolet Style Line (l953)
  • Opel Super VI (1934)
  • Hudson Super VI (1948) 
  • Humbur Super Snipe (1951)

Indrajit lit up at the mention of the love of his life, his wife, Shoma and wholeheartedly admitted, "Without her unwavering support, I would not have been able to pursue my passion."  A doting father, when he is not chatting with his daughter, Priyanka, a teacher of history in a residential school in Dehradun, he dreams of cars. 

Currently busy with a challenging project of restoring a 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III, Indrajit (Toy) Banerjee hopes that many more opportunities to restore such classics will come his way. 

May the great tinkerer's dreams continue.

JULY 2018

Vol. 12 - No. 12


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