Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Rolls Royce 1934, then the costliest car in the world and its journey back to India

Rolls-Royce 1934 for the Maharaja of Rajkot iThe Telegrap

Rolls-Royce built in 1934 'Star of India' VCCCI
In the past owing luxury and slick-looking  cars was a symbol of Indian maharajahs' status in the society  to stand tall and be respected by their counter parts and  the English colonial rulers. The rulers of the Salute States had to maintain their traditional customary protocols, rank and decorum, particularly, when the English dignitaries  made an official state visit. In the late 1920s and 1930, most of the  maharajahs had expensive cars, including Rolls Royce cars. Some owned customized RR to meet their various needs. Hunting was the privilege of the ruling class and some rulers had vast wooded lands and game areas. To go hunting for the big cats, etc along with the English aristocrats with out compromising on their luxury and comforts even in the midst of thick jungle, was a great event for them and for this purpose, they had customized RR with hunting accessories. In the past, many of the privileged Indian rulers' lives were marked by excess and extravagance in every sphere - owning vast collection of expensive gold jewelry, diamonds, gemstones, etc., having several concubines, flaunting money on other luxury, etc. However, most of them did take care of their subjects and their walfare well.

Even today the love for this high quality RR car has not come down in India. Many of the descendants of erstwhile rulers own RR, so are the privileged connoisseurs and people with  real taste. Loaded with money, they  want to stand apart in the society -  a legacy they inherited from the colonial colors.  Since the Indian economy has been booming in the past decade, the demand for RR in India is quite encouraging. 

 Do you know the costliest car in the world in the 1930s? It was the heritage custom-built RR car ("1934 Phantom II 40/50 HP Continental "All-Weather Convertible")  called the Star of India owned by the late Maharajah of Rajkot (Gujarat) Dharmendra Sinhji Lakhajiraj in 1934. In 1968, it was sold to Bill Meredith-Owens, a British collector of vintage cars. 

Rolls-Royce 1934 for the Maharaja of RajkotIndian Cars Bikes

Star of India. Interior RR 1934 dailymail.co.
At the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance auto show in California, USA, this car was a major attraction and, being in good nick, ran very well, covering 75 miles. It is one among the 160 cars participated in the rally. Named after the 563-carat sapphire from Sri Lanka that’s now in New York’s American Museum of Natural History, the car features saffron-colored paintwork is symbolic of the purity of Hinduism. The fenders and hood have richly polished aluminum to reflect the intense Indian heat and radiation to keep the interior cool. The dashboard is marbled with saffron paste and finished in oak veneer. The crest of Rajkot, once an erstwhile princely state  is etched into each door, the hood, and the glass of the side windows  There is a motto in Sanskrit above each crest;  it's translation is:  "the one who fulfils the obligation of the happiness and welfare of his people is their ruler.” 

Crest of Rajkot, RR 1934 dailymail.co.u
Rajcot scion & RR car Star of India rediff.com/
 The car has a specially designed gun rack built into the chassis so that it could be used for hunting tiger. There are foldaway seats, each with a lockable compartment for precious belongings; can accommodate 8 people.

Dash board, Rolls-Royce 1934 dailymail.co.
Mandhata  Sinhji Jadeja, scion of  of Rajkot  repossessed  this custom made car in 2010 once owned by his grandfather  in an auction by paying 3.22 crore - $ 850,000.00 for this car. German RR collector  Hans-Gunther Zach owned it.

The star of India. once  billed as the costliest car in the world  is steeped in history. Many dignitaries traveled in this including Mahatma Gandhi and the Queen of England. Yet another specialty  about this car is “it was the last design by Henry Royce", before he passed away in 1933. The car with the British registration RRR65 was a major attraction at the museum at Stafford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. 

This 1932 custom built  RR car returned to its earliest home, Ranjit Vilas palace,Rajkot  after a hiatus 42 years in exile (after 1965). Shri Mandhata sinhji  Jadeja, acquired the Star of India for €644,000 at the 2010 RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction.

It was part of well-known  Rolls-Royce collector Hans-Gunther Zach's private collection, the luxury car was  expected to fetch  a bundle for him and bids for the RR were invited by Zach's Rolls-Royce museum in Muhlheim in Germany until  September 15. When sold, the sale of 1934 Phantom overshot the then highest bidding for a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa that fetched in the  May auction for £7.2 million.
Prince Jadeja of Rajkot acquired RR 1934 in 2010.obbreport.com/
Believe it or not, The Star of India
was a precursor to today's 'adaptive-curve lights' found on modern saloon cars such as BMWs and Mercedes. The ingenious feature was its headlights. Two small lights flash orange by the windscreen, while the fog lamps follow the direction of the front wheels. The giant spotlights by the windscreen can be directed by hand: a modification for late-night hunting expeditions. It has ten headlamps, fog lamps and sidelights covering the front of the car.

Tit-Bits: 

01. Year: 1939: Former owner: Ex-Maharajah of Jodhpur. One of the last cars exported out of Britain before all its efforts were redirected towards winning the Second World War.

02.  The game of pomp and personal oddity among India’s royalty began with maharaja Patiala who had a big harem and vast costly jewelry collections. When he bought a French-made De Dion-Bouton in 1892, to establish his individuality, he had  a registration number plate of “0”.
Maharajah Jai Singh of Alwar. WowGK
03. There is a story of Maharajah Jai Singh of Alwar, Rajasthan getting  insulted by the RR salesman in the showroom in London (in 1920) mistaking him for a poor fellow from the ghetto.  The ruler silently took revenge on RR company by buying six RR cars  and back home he converted them to transport city's trash. This story is similar to the one about the Nizam. Some sources point out the car with a broom is not RR. This kind of story needs authenticity. 
"It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of their fellow beings ” – Mahatma Gandhi

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1212517/Live-like-Maharajah-soon-worlds-expensive-car.html
 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/4193893/Bejewelled-carriageways.html

 http://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-42-years-on-star-of-india-returns-home/20101130.htm

http://robbreport.com/motors/cars/the-marque-of-the-

Ref: http://www.wowgk.com/royal-rolls-royces/

https://www.gqindia.com/content/cars-maharajas-drive-gq-india/#s-cust0 

http://www.bmwblog.com/2010/12/06/star-of-india-1934-rolls-royce-phantom-ii-sells-for-850000/







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