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AdBuzz Lead Pakistans Tin LizzieFor auto enthusiasts, viewing classic cars remains a popular pastime. And while there are several such vehicles on display in museums across Pakistan (including Mr Jinnah’s 1938 Packard and 1947 Cadillac which are housed in his mausoleum and Justice Cornelius’ Wolseley, which is displayed at the Supreme Court Museum in Islamabad), and at classic car shows that are held frequently, many vintage cars remain neglected.

One such car is a Ford T once owned by Sir John Hubert Marshall, a prominent archaeologist who excavated, catalogued and published material on the ancient remains of Harappa, Taxila and Mohenjo-daro at the turn of the 20th century.

The Ford T was popularly referred to as the ‘Tin Lizzie’ and there are several theories about how it got its nickname, including one that suggests that it was named so because it looked like a tin can. The car was simple to operate, rugged and affordable, and mass-produced between 1908 and 1927.

During this time, approximately 15 million Tin Lizzies were manufactured in the USA and almost a dozen other countries. It was a common sight in the Indian Subcontinent and it is no wonder then that many photographs of street life taken during the Raj almost invariably show a Model T in the frame.

Sir John’s Tin Lizzie is a right-hand drive, and it can therefore be assumed that it was manufactured in Canada, for export to the ‘colonies’, as India, Africa and Australia were referred to at the time. There is only one other Model T that has been documented in Pakistan, which makes Sir John’s car all the more valuable.

After years of standing under the open sky, Sir John’s Tin Lizzie has recently been given some protection; it is now housed in a makeshift garage near the Mohenjo-daro Museum. Unfortunately, the paint has faded and its bodywork is in tatters. It goes without saying that it needs to be restored as soon as possible.

Hopefully, it will not have long to wait.

– Romano Karim Yusuf

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on August 10, 2014.