Smashing of Jaguar at 3:00 am in the Morning

By Lt Col Salman Aslam (R), Arty (2nd SSC)

Photo of Lt Col Salman Aslam, Arty, 2nd SSCMy late esteemed father, Col (Hony Brig) Muhammad Aslam Khan, because of his sartorial elegance, immaculate dresses and refined mannerisms was known as “Dandy” in the Army circles. He also had a penchant for classical cars. He had a total of over 100 cars of all make /type in his collection. He had longest command of 3 (SP) Regt Arty for 6 years. He raised and commanded 44 (SP) Regt Arty in 1965. He was captain of All Indian Punjab’s swimming team, Government College Lahore’s Swimming Colour holder and Inter Services Swimming Colour holder.

I am narrating an incident which is about the destruction of a vintage car out of his rare collection. In May 1969 I smashed my father’s Jaguar 2.4 litre at Connaught Road, Chaklala, Rawalpindi near TV Station (now JS HQ) at 3:00 am in the morning.

I was barely 16 years old and at that age you want to break the sound barrier. I wanted to clock 100 mph on the Jaguar. My father was away, so I sneaked out in my night suit for a fling. On way back the steering coupling of Jaguar broke and I smashed the car against the culvert and then it fell into the nullah. Allah saved me. The car had an inbuilt collapsible steering mechanism. When my chest hit the steering, it did not go inside my chest. The safety valve of collapsible steering absorbed the entire impact, thus saving my life. I apparently feigned somnambulism (sleep walking) to convince my father that I was driving in sleep. This was out rightly rejected as preposterous. My father felt really bad to lose one of his vintage cars but at the same time he was happy that Allah saved his son’s life.

Jaguar emblem at the house of Lt Col Salman AslamTrophies & Jaguar emblem at the house of Lt Col Salman Aslam

Only the Jaguar emblem, mounted on a stand, now adorns and embellishes as one of the trophies at my house in a glass casket. This only serves as a nostalgic memory to be cherished for posterity. To this date I feel a pang in my heart and I deeply repent that why did I destroy a prized car out of my father’s rare collection.

Aslam ‘Dandy' with his wife, son and Nash Rambler car at Peshawar in 1957

Editor’s Note: Writer’s father, PA-1206 Col (Hony Brig) Muhammad Aslam Khan ‘Dandy’ passed out from OTS Bangalore in 1943-44 and joined 2 Punjab, later transferred to 3 (SP) Fd Regt, had the longest command of 3 (SP) for 6 years. He also raised 44 (SP) Regt. He retired in 1969 and passed away in 1975 at the age of 51 years.

Photo of Colonel (Honorary Brigadier) Aslam 'Dandy'

Related Pages:
Nostalgic Articles by Retired Army Officers
Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)

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  1. Lt Col S.A. Kazmi (Retd) 1st SSC says:

    Hony Brig Aslam was one of the rarest types of stylish soldiers of those times. May his soul be blessed with eternal peace. It’s more sad that he died so young, perhaps God Almighty takes back such personalities little too soon.

  2. Waseem Zafar Iqbal says:

    Good story. You may also like to share guard room stories!

  3. Col Shah Alam, Avn (34 PMA), Canada says:

    Thank God, your fling didn’t turn into a tragedy. Seems your penchant for classy cars was no less. By the way, how large a fleet are you maintaining? :)

    May Allah bless your father’s soul. Amen.

  4. Maj Javed Yusuf (R) says:

    Dear Salman,
    A fine little article with continuity, emotions and your dash as usual. Zara Angrezi halki likha karo….
    Take care & Regards.
    Your old friend,
    Javed Yusuf

    [Editor’s Note: Javed Yusuf, this article was circulated in our course Forum in Sep 2011. Your comment of that period has now been added here.]

    • Lt Col Salman Aslam says:

      Dear JY,
      Thanks for your input. Angrezi flow is uncontrollable!! It is a natural oozing of words.
      Fondest Regards.
      Best Wishes,
      Salman Aslam

      [Editor’s Note: Salman Aslam, this article was circulated in our course Forum in Sep 2011. Your reply to the comment of JY of that period has now been added here.]

  5. Brig Asad Hakeem says:

    I am sure that’s not the only thing that you would have smashed in all these years and would continue writing about other ventures as well. Its good to know from where did the dandyness come in you. I hope life is treating you well and you are as smart as I left you in the Shingo Valley.
    Take care,
    Asad Hakeem

    [Editor’s Note: Asad Hakeem, this article was circulated in our course Forum in Sep 2011. Your comment of that period has now been added here.]

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