Prized old cars bring 'back home' feeling to Scarborough's Tamil Fest

WhatsOn Aug 19, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

Two of Sri Ramalingam’s most precious possessions, a “brother and sister”, are in a metal shed behind his West Hill home.

They are both Austin A40 Somersets, but like all collectors, Ramalingam has his favourite — the lavender one built in 1955.

“This car, I’m never going to sell. If I die, I’m going to give it to my daughters,” he said this week.

“I just look at this car, [and] I’m happy.”

Scarborough sees plenty of car love. Stretches of its roads are devoted to fixing cars, or reselling them. The annual Wheels on the Danforth festival this weekend will show off scores of classic cars and “tuners”.

Ramalingam’s love is for the British car makes of decades ago, ones which drove on the streets of Sri Lanka before that island’s devastating civil war.

Sri Lanka had been a British colony, Ceylon, and even after independence in 1948, many of Sri Lanka’s taxis and passenger cars were, like the Somerset, from Britain.

That’s why Ramalingam, 52, will bring the Somerset and other cars from that era to this year’s Tamil Fest on Markham Road from Aug. 26 to 27 (see www.tamilfest.ca) — so people can remember “back home”.

“Right away, they’ll know what this is,” said Ramalingam, who owns a Danforth Road limousine service and body shop.

His parents in Jaffna had a A40 Somerset from 1955, handmade to last, with a strong body and right-hand drive.

At 12, Ramalingam was already practicing driving it.

The start of the war sent him to Canada in 1984, while still a teenager. His parents moved to England and sold the car.

Ramalingam returned to Sri Lanka in 1988, tracked down the buyers, and bought the car back.

His parents later sold it again, but in 1996, the year Ramalingam opened his first garage in downtown Toronto, he spotted a 1955 A40 at a nearby farm, bought it and spent five years restoring it.

Other vehicles he’ll show at the festival include a 1957 Morris Minor, a light motorcycle called a Charlie, and a 1993 Mitsubishi Pajero, an SUV once favoured in Sri Lanka by government ministers and Tamil Tigers.

Prized old cars bring 'back home' feeling to Scarborough's Tamil Fest

Older Tamil-Canadians recall cars, says West Hill collector

WhatsOn Aug 19, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

Two of Sri Ramalingam’s most precious possessions, a “brother and sister”, are in a metal shed behind his West Hill home.

They are both Austin A40 Somersets, but like all collectors, Ramalingam has his favourite — the lavender one built in 1955.

“This car, I’m never going to sell. If I die, I’m going to give it to my daughters,” he said this week.

“I just look at this car, [and] I’m happy.”

Related Content

Scarborough sees plenty of car love. Stretches of its roads are devoted to fixing cars, or reselling them. The annual Wheels on the Danforth festival this weekend will show off scores of classic cars and “tuners”.

Ramalingam’s love is for the British car makes of decades ago, ones which drove on the streets of Sri Lanka before that island’s devastating civil war.

Sri Lanka had been a British colony, Ceylon, and even after independence in 1948, many of Sri Lanka’s taxis and passenger cars were, like the Somerset, from Britain.

That’s why Ramalingam, 52, will bring the Somerset and other cars from that era to this year’s Tamil Fest on Markham Road from Aug. 26 to 27 (see www.tamilfest.ca) — so people can remember “back home”.

“Right away, they’ll know what this is,” said Ramalingam, who owns a Danforth Road limousine service and body shop.

His parents in Jaffna had a A40 Somerset from 1955, handmade to last, with a strong body and right-hand drive.

At 12, Ramalingam was already practicing driving it.

The start of the war sent him to Canada in 1984, while still a teenager. His parents moved to England and sold the car.

Ramalingam returned to Sri Lanka in 1988, tracked down the buyers, and bought the car back.

His parents later sold it again, but in 1996, the year Ramalingam opened his first garage in downtown Toronto, he spotted a 1955 A40 at a nearby farm, bought it and spent five years restoring it.

Other vehicles he’ll show at the festival include a 1957 Morris Minor, a light motorcycle called a Charlie, and a 1993 Mitsubishi Pajero, an SUV once favoured in Sri Lanka by government ministers and Tamil Tigers.

Prized old cars bring 'back home' feeling to Scarborough's Tamil Fest

Older Tamil-Canadians recall cars, says West Hill collector

WhatsOn Aug 19, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

Two of Sri Ramalingam’s most precious possessions, a “brother and sister”, are in a metal shed behind his West Hill home.

They are both Austin A40 Somersets, but like all collectors, Ramalingam has his favourite — the lavender one built in 1955.

“This car, I’m never going to sell. If I die, I’m going to give it to my daughters,” he said this week.

“I just look at this car, [and] I’m happy.”

Related Content

Scarborough sees plenty of car love. Stretches of its roads are devoted to fixing cars, or reselling them. The annual Wheels on the Danforth festival this weekend will show off scores of classic cars and “tuners”.

Ramalingam’s love is for the British car makes of decades ago, ones which drove on the streets of Sri Lanka before that island’s devastating civil war.

Sri Lanka had been a British colony, Ceylon, and even after independence in 1948, many of Sri Lanka’s taxis and passenger cars were, like the Somerset, from Britain.

That’s why Ramalingam, 52, will bring the Somerset and other cars from that era to this year’s Tamil Fest on Markham Road from Aug. 26 to 27 (see www.tamilfest.ca) — so people can remember “back home”.

“Right away, they’ll know what this is,” said Ramalingam, who owns a Danforth Road limousine service and body shop.

His parents in Jaffna had a A40 Somerset from 1955, handmade to last, with a strong body and right-hand drive.

At 12, Ramalingam was already practicing driving it.

The start of the war sent him to Canada in 1984, while still a teenager. His parents moved to England and sold the car.

Ramalingam returned to Sri Lanka in 1988, tracked down the buyers, and bought the car back.

His parents later sold it again, but in 1996, the year Ramalingam opened his first garage in downtown Toronto, he spotted a 1955 A40 at a nearby farm, bought it and spent five years restoring it.

Other vehicles he’ll show at the festival include a 1957 Morris Minor, a light motorcycle called a Charlie, and a 1993 Mitsubishi Pajero, an SUV once favoured in Sri Lanka by government ministers and Tamil Tigers.