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Thane's 0001 auto rickshaw is a vintage stunner

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When Deepak Singh, 28, rides his auto along Thane’s roads, pedestrians can’t help but do a double take. His three-wheeler, with over hundred rare fixtures from vintage cars, is just as imposing as a menacing bullet. Singh, who has a fascination for logos and emblems belonging to old cars, has modified his vehicle with these extraordinary knick-knacks, making his auto, which bears the 0001 number plate, a sought after one among Thane passengers.

Deepak Singh with his unique auto

Singh, began collecting logos when he was all of 10. “A friend’s father ran a auto scrap business. Initially, he was the source for all my unusual finds,” he recalled.

Soon enough, Singh’s hobby turned into an obsession, and he began travelling to Hyberabad, Kolkata and Delhi to meet scrap dealers. The interest was fuelled when he briefly moved to Dubai in 2012, to work as a vault technician for an oil tanker. “Because I worked in the rig, I would get 30 days of leave once every three months, and that allowed me enough time to visit other Indian cities to build my collection,” said Singh.


The number plate surrounded by vintage Chrysler and Plymouth emblems

By then, he had networked well enough for scrap dealers to call him if they were disposing an old vehicle. “Before sealing the deal, I would also take the consent of the owners, to avoid legal trouble,” he said. “My oldest find is an emblem of a Doge Division car from 1951.”

Modifying the auto
Last year, Singh returned from Dubai for good, and decided to work as an auto driver. He modified his three-wheeler into a vintage machine using his rare collectibles. He has spent close to R1 lakh on the custom-built auto. The auto’s engine also belongs to a 1984 vehicle, and the horns on both sides date back to the 1970s. “I have to clean the engine daily so that no dust is deposited,” he added.

Sometimes the roof is red

To make his auto stand out from the rest, Singh managed to procure the 0001 number plate. “I had to pay extra for the special number,” he said.

Singh keeps redesigning his auto by shuffling the emblems and the cover. “I don’t like to keep the look static, so every time I buy something new, it makes it to the auto.”

The snazzy dashboard

The fan following
Considering the automobile is the cynosure of all eyes, it isn’t uncommon for him to get questions. “Once, I was riding my auto in Sion, when a man stopped me to ask me about the emblems. He offered a good price for the auto, but I refused. How can you put a price on passion?”

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