Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi

Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1965 Mercedes Benz 200 and her 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible have been displayed at the Quaid-e-Azam Residency – now called the Quaid-e-Azam Museum – after restoration work that took about one and half years. (AN photo by M.F. Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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A general view of Quaid-e-Azam Residency, now called the Quaid-e-Azam Museum. (AN photo by M.F. Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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A general view of Quaid-e-Azam Residency, now called the Quaid-e-Azam Museum. (AN photo by M.F. Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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A general view of Quaid-e-Azam Residency, now called the Quaid-e-Azam Museum. (AN photo by M.F. Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1965 Mercedes Benz 200 displayed at the Quaid-e-Azam Residency – now called the Quaid-e-Azam Museum. (AN photo by M.F. Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1965 Mercedes Benz 200 displayed at the Quaid-e-Azam Residency – now called the Quaid-e-Azam Museum. (AN photo by M.F. Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1965 Mercedes Benz 200 and her 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible have been displayed at the Quaid-e-Azam Residency – now called the Quaid-e-Azam Museum – after restoration work that took about one and half years. (AN photo by M.F. Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible displayed at the Quaid-e-Azam Residency – now called the Quaid-e-Azam Museum. (AN photo by M.F. Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible displayed at the Quaid-e-Azam Residency – now called the Quaid-e-Azam Museum. (AN photo by M.F. Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible displayed at the Quaid-e-Azam Residency – now called the Quaid-e-Azam Museum. (AN photo by M.F. Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Mohsin Ikram, founder and president of the Vintage and Classic Car Club of Pakistan, sharing details of the restoration process with Arab News. (AN photo by M.F Fazil)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible when it was brought to the garage for restoration work. (Photo courtesy: Mohsin Ikram)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Restoration work underway. (Photo courtesy: Mohsin Ikram)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Mohsin Ikram, right, founder and president of the Vintage and Classic Car Club of Pakistan, standing with one of Fatima Jinnah’s cars during the restoration work. (Photo courtesy: Mohsin Ikram)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible after the restoration work. (Photo courtesy: Mohsin Ikram)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible after the restoration work. (Photo courtesy: Mohsin Ikram)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible after the restoration work. (Photo courtesy: Mohsin Ikram)
Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
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Fatima Jinnah’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible during the restoration work. (Photo courtesy: Mohsin Ikram)
Updated 11 May 2018

Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi

Story of apathy and passion: Fatima Jinnah’s restored vintage cars displayed in Karachi
  • The cars were nearly ruined when a contractor, renovating an old palace, parked them under the sun, making the automobiles accessible to ordinary people who pulled out parts
  • The vehicles have been displayed at the Quaid-e-Azam Residency

KARACHI: Fatima Jinnah’s 1955 Cadillac Series 62 convertible and her 1965 Mercedes Benz 200 have been restored and displayed in a glass garage at the Quaid-e-Azam Residency in Karachi.
It is a story of apathy, which almost destroyed the cars, and passion, which brought the vehicles back to life.
Mohsin Ikram, founder and president of the Vintage and Classic Car Club of Pakistan and the man behind the restoration process, says it took him 19 years to convince the authorities to preserve the vehicles.
Ikram discovered Ms. Jinnah’s Cadillac in 1990 while hunting for old cars. “It was my hobby to look for old cars, and it was during one of my visits to the Mohatta Palace that I found this one. At that time, it was not in a bad condition.”
“Unfortunately, when the palace was handed over to the government of Sindh for preservation in 1995, the contractor, whoever he was, didn’t realize the value of these cars and just took them out of the garage and parked them outside — under the sky, exposing them to heat of the sun,” Ikram said.
As if this was not enough, he added, people started pulling things out of the cars, including their steering wheels, lights and mirrors.
In 2015, at Ikram’s persuasion, the provincial administration of Sindh showed the cars to some experts. Many of them claimed that these vehicles had reached a level where they could not be brought back to life.
“I thought these cars were very important and needed preservation,” he said. “Consequently, tenders were invited and I got the contract.”
Beginning in August 2016, it took a year and a half to bring the cars back to life. “We drove these cars to Quaid-e-Azam House on main Shahrah-e-Faisal,” he said.
He said that the contract amounted to 22.9 million Pakistani rupees ($0.19 million), much of which went back to the government since the tender was subject to heavy taxation.
“We also built a temporary garage at the National Museum on which a lot of money was spent. The glass garage has also been built by the same amount,” Ikram said.
“This Cadillac, which was designed by Harley J. Earl, chief designer of General Motors, was Fatima Jinnah’s favorite car. She had two of them. The Mercedes was mostly used by her driver or sister Shirin Jinnah. Fatima Jinnah might have used it as well, but we know that she was fond of this (Cadillac) car,” he said.
“The Cadillac had the same color we have used. In between, someone painted it with gold color as well,” said Ikram. “Our motive was to preserve the car and not make it look like a brand new vehicle. So we didn’t go for new Chinese and Korean parts but instead acquired original parts from the United States.”
He added that anything which could be restored was restored. “We have obtained only the missing parts. 
Even in the US, we looked for those used original parts which were made for this particular model.”
For the Mercedes, Ikram said, the original parts were available in Pakistan.
Patres James, Ikram’s team member, said he enjoyed the preservation work.
“I always enjoy restoring old cars,” he said. “However, it was an honor to restore the ones that were used by 
Fatima Jinnah, sister and close adviser of Pakistan’s founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.”