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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Timeless beauties: Automotive gems from 2019 Cartier Concours d’Elegance

The biannual event held in Jaipur showcased showcased several drool-worthy vintage cars

brunch Updated: Mar 10, 2019 00:02 IST
Hormazd Sorabjee
Hormazd Sorabjee
Hindustan Times
The vintage and classic cars showcased have been lovingly restored to look showroom ‘new’ by their owners
The vintage and classic cars showcased have been lovingly restored to look showroom ‘new’ by their owners
         

They’ve been around for generations and each one of them has its own story to tell. And they’ve all come together to celebrate their rich Indian heritage at the 2019 Cartier Concours d’Elegance at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. This biannual event is a showcase of the best vintage and classic cars in India, which owners have lovingly restored to look showroom ‘new.’ The array of these cars this year and the quality of their restoration was mind-boggling. Let’s have a look at the automotive gems that impressed the judges most.

1. 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Streamline Coupe with Gurney Nutting coachwork

This impeccably-restored Rolls-Royce Phantom II walked away with the ‘Best of Show’ trophy
This impeccably-restored Rolls-Royce Phantom II walked away with the ‘Best of Show’ trophy

This gorgeous-looking and impeccably-restored Rolls, not surprisingly, walked away with the ‘Best of Show’ trophy. The streamlined (for its time) Phantom II was originally ordered by the Maharaja of Jodhpur and then sold in 1944 to the Maharaja of Rewa. Its owner Amir Ali Jetha has had the car in his family since 1962 and restored it only a few years ago, back to its original paintwork, green and off-white, which incidentally are the official colours of the Jodhpur Polo team. Straight after the show, Amir drove the car back to Mumbai, but took the long way home, stopping over at forts and palaces along the way. On the 1,200km drive, this 80-year old lady never missed a bit.

2. 1936 Alvis Speed 25 Sports Tourer

This particular Alvis was originally bought in London by the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj and is the only one in the country today
This particular Alvis was originally bought in London by the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj and is the only one in the country today

The ‘Pre-War Classic – European’ class trophy was won by this rare 1936 Alvis Speed 25 Sports Tourer. The all-black paintwork complements the perfect chromework. This particular Alvis that wears Vanden Plas coachwork was originally bought in London by the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj and is the only one in the country today.

3. 1937 Daimler 24EL Limousine

You can’t get a more completely white car than this one, which has white exterior paint, white wheels, white brakes, white carpets on the interior and even a white engine!
You can’t get a more completely white car than this one, which has white exterior paint, white wheels, white brakes, white carpets on the interior and even a white engine!

This pre-war European classic was given a special award in recognition of how unique it is. Owned by Ravi Pittie from Mumbai, this particular Daimler was once owned by the Princess of Kolhapur, who got married as a child and was sadly widowed at the ridiculously-early age of 13. As a young widow, the princess only wore white, so when the time came to order a car, she customised the car to be completely white. You can’t get a more completely white car than this one, which has white exterior paint, white wheels, white brakes, white carpets on the interior and even a white engine! This is the only car of its kind in the world.

4. 1930 Stutz Model M Dual-Cowl Speedster

What makes this car special is the unique dual cowl roadster bodywork, which came with four seats but two sets of windscreens.
What makes this car special is the unique dual cowl roadster bodywork, which came with four seats but two sets of windscreens.

While Rolls-Royce was pretty much standard for Indian royalty, there were a few slightly off-beat cars that did sneak into India, usually commissioned by younger members of the royal families. This Stutz is one of them. One of the only two cars known to be built, this particular Model M is the only one in the country and has tremendous royal provenance. It now belongs to Diljeet Titus, but was originally owned by Maharawal Sir Shri Ranjitsinhji Mansinhji of Baria. What makes this car special is the unique dual cowl roadster bodywork, which came with four seats but two sets of windscreens.

5. 1934 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton Series PA Truck

This Chevrolet 1 ½ ton Series PA Truck underwent a record eight-month restoration, which brought it back to its original glory
This Chevrolet 1 ½ ton Series PA Truck underwent a record eight-month restoration, which brought it back to its original glory

The 1934 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton truck was originally used as a water tanker for the Mandsor Fire Brigade. The truck was then retired to the Poona Turf Club where it watered the turf until it was abandoned in a scrap yard. The truck was rescued early last year by its current owner, Kaizad Engineer, with a crane literally hoisting its remains from its concrete and brick graveyard. It underwent a record eight-month restoration, which brought it back to its original glory.

Hormazd Sorabjee is one of the most senior and much loved auto journalists in India, and is editor of Autocar India
Sunday Drive appears every fortnight

From HT Brunch, March 10, 2019

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First Published: Mar 09, 2019 22:20 IST

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