Prices Now and Then …


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


Today, while changing stations on my TV, I came across a programme on the Tamil news channel “Puthia Thalaimurai“. A bicycle repairer was reminiscing about the prices of items in the 1980s. He said he bought a bicycle at that time for Indian rupees 300. This made me recall the prices in the late 1950s.

Phillips cycle add - Eureka

My father bought my first bicycle in 1956, a Phillips, for Ceylon rupees 72.

The distributors of Volkswagen Beetle cars in Colombo offered the car for Ceylon rupees 6,000. Though the Beetle was cheap, people did not buy the car the first time it came into the market. Reason?

VW Ovali beetle (Source:
VW Ovali beetle (Source:
VW Ovali beetle -front view (Source:
VW Ovali beetle -front view (Source:


VW Ovali beetle - rear engine (Source:
VW Ovali beetle – rear engine (Source:

Many did not like the unconventional shape. And most of all, the engine was in the rear and there was no way to add water to cool the engine as they did with other cars.

The Beetle was soon picked up by firms such as Quickshaws Ltd., for their fleet of taxis.



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