WIAA celebrates with country's biggest car show in Mumbai

Updated: Feb 09, 2019, 08:27 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) smashes century; opens throttle on celebrations with country's biggest car show

Graham Stoker of Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and his wife in a 1903 Humber belonging to A Jasdanwalla at the BKC show to celebrate WIAA's 100 years
Graham Stoker of Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and his wife in a 1903 Humber belonging to A Jasdanwalla at the BKC show to celebrate WIAA's 100 years

It is a big deal on wheels for the Western India Automobile Association (WIAA). The institution, with its headquarters in Churchgate, is celebrating 100 years of its existence.

The celebrations have taken off with an exhibition of at least 400 vehicles from different eras, at the MMRDA grounds in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). The show culminates with a ride from BKC to Ballard Estate on Sunday.

WIAA Executive Chairman Nitin Dossa said, "It will be a mobile showcase of kicking off the 100 year celebrations of WIAA. I feel so fortunate to be part of motoring history; I was vice-chairman when we celebrated 75 years, and now, this very special milestone." For Dossa, it is important that WIAA keeps pace with Mumbai's traffic landscape. "We are training at least 40,000 heavy vehicle drivers annually, significantly more than the 15,000 or so we used to earlier. We are also looking to have full fledged institutes in other parts of India," said Dossa.

Nitin Dossa
Nitin Dossa

Safety is key
For Sunil Merchant, former WIAA president, the motoring body is working towards a closer synthesis between pedestrian and driver. Merchant said, "It is a mistaken perception that WIAA is only for drivers. A driver is also a pedestrian; he inadvertently plays a dual role. If I park my car a little away from my destination and have to walk to my place, I am a pedestrian. Our aim is to make pedestrians road safety aware and savvy too."

Rocking roads
For Dossa too, with great celebrations, comes great responsibility about road safety. "A mammoth conference on road safety involving the United Nations is on the cards for the celebration year," said Dossa.

Tomorrow though at 11 am, Dossa stressed, "We will have 400 vehicles on the road. Some of these have never been seen by the public. The rally will end at Ballard Estate, in keeping with the look of the vintage and classic vehicles, we wanted the terrain to blend in, so the heritage charm of the estate and vehicles is an unbeatable combination," he said.

Historical highlights
1919: The WIAA was inaugurated on Wednesday, October 15 1919 at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai.
1922: WIAA decides to branch out to Lahore. (Later in Pakistan)
1949: Pre-Partition driving licences from Pakistan province regularised after representation from WIAA
1953: An 8,000 mile motor rally from Geneva to Bombay organised by Alliance Internationale de Tourisme and WIAA Association.
1970: WIAA Golden Jubilee celebrated

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