Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Auto fittings

In the 1870s, Simpson established his coach factory at one end of Mount Road. Years later, in 1916, G.U.Cuddon built the "finest automobile showroom in India" a short distance away. With these two establishments setting the bookends for the automobile trade in Madras, some of the roads branching off Mount Road became the support zone, where parts for any vehicle could be procured. They were truly the supports, because the automobile companies were not interested in supplying to the aftermarket. If a car-owner wanted so much as a washer, he had to make a trip to this maze of streets.

None of those streets were more popular than General Patter's Road. More about the origin of that road's name later (hopefully); it is a stretch of about a kilometre, with little but shops selling every kind of part for every kind of automobile ever made. Yes, there was a cinema there somewhere and the office of a political party has become more visible now, but if you tell someone that you're off to "GP Road", you can be sure they will understand your desire to spruce up your vehicle.

And it is service on the street. The men in the photo are not pushing the car out of the traffic or anything like that. They were installing something - a music system? - inside the car and what better place to do it than the middle of GP Road!

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