Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The first motor car was seen on Madras' roads in 1894 - so the story goes. But that is an unverified statement and the more verifiable date of a motor car being used in Madras is placed as 1901. That car was used by A.J. Yorke, who was a Director of Parry & Co. The motor car must have got him to work before anyone else, even though he lived in Adyar and his office was in 'Town'. By all accounts, Yorke's car was un-numbered, probably pre-dating the need for such registration of vehicles.
The first registered car in Madras belonged to (later Sir) Francis Spring, who was then with the Madras Railway Board. It was registered with the very original MC-1 number. Of MC-2, there is little information to be found, but the first car registered by a 'native' came in as MC-3. That belonged to the master builder of Madras, Namberumal Chetty.
This one - MSC 3738 - was seen at another Chettiar's property. This one parked inside AVM Studios and is probably taken out twice a year, during vintage car shows. It is a Vauxhall 14, dating back to 1938. The registration number, however, must have been made later; the MS series of numbers were in use in Madras even in the late '60s, before giving over to the TM series; and I can remember the schoolboy challenge - if the car 'TMS xxxx' sings, it is only because 'MSV xxxx' is making the music!