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An Australian-based international marketing consultant admits to cherishing his Toyota Celica more than his family's house.

While some - including his wife of 40 years - may question his priorities, Zarir Bamji has no hesitation in protecting his 1990 Celica SX above all else.

The proof came when Mr Bamji, now 66, chose to save his pristine white Celica from a savage hailstorm that wreaked havoc across Sydney in the mid-1990s.

He acted quickly to drive his precious car to the safety of a friend's garage, leaving his own house and wife Sandra's car to suffer at the hands of Mother Nature.

Not surprisingly, the roof and windows of both the house and Mrs Bamji's car were destroyed, but the Celica continues to gleam in pristine condition to this day, without a scratch on it.

No-one is allowed to drive the Celica except Mr Bamji - and his pride and joy has recently passed its 20th birthday with less than 29,000km on the clock - an average of just 1450km per year.

Mr Bamji is an ardent believer in the fact that value is basically a factor of scarcity or rareness. He proudly keeps all the car's records in an overflowing Celica file.

"There are hundreds of vintage cars that are worth heaps because of their age, condition and rarity. On that basis, my car should rank way up the ladder, because it is probably the only Celica of this model and vintage in the world that has been so sparingly run and lovingly maintained."

He has tried to maintain the unique value of his car by driving it only on rare occasions, preferring to catch public transport to work rather than drive.

"I believe this is the best-maintained Celica of its vintage in the world. It's in incredible nick because I've taken care of it and because of Toyota's reputation for building reliable cars that last forever."

Mr Bamji appreciates the curves of his Celica, a design he believes will remain contemporary for decades.

"I like the rounded lines. It has the looks of a sports car and it's got more than enough power. At the same time, it also has good fuel economy. I'm getting an average of about 10km per litre even today."

While Mrs Bamji is not necessarily happy at the attention lavished on the Celica, she remains a Toyota loyalist. She drives a Camry.


For more information, please contact:
Mike Breen, Manager Public Relations
Tel: (02) 9710 3341
Mob: 0418 447 064

Toyota Celica owner Zarir Bamji with the car he cherishes - more than his home!