The second Cartier ‘Travel With Style’ Concours will showcase another extraordinary collection of India’s unique Classic Cars on Saturday 12th of March, 2011 at The New Delhi Jaipur Polo Club.
Cartier hosted the first ever international Concours D’ Elegance in India at the Royal Western India Turf Club Mumbai in 2008. Cartier ‘Travel with Style’ celebrates the remarkable design and craftsmanship which went into creating these most luxurious and distinctive of cars. A panel of hand-chosen international classic car cognoscenti from across the globe judged the cars in different classifications.
It was a historic moment in the history of Indian motoring that gained wide spread recognition for the beginning of the classic car movement in India - a true eye opener to the extent of the nation’s rich heritage. Owned by Indian royalty and private collectors, 64 of the most rare and historically significant automobiles were on display in public for the first time ever bringing alive the eccentricities and uniqueness of the Indian automobile industry.
During the time of the Raj, India’s opulent ruling families bought the finest cars in the world in unbelievable quantity and the greatest coach builders and designers were specially commissioned to produce lavish, distinctive and sometimes bizarre specifications to satisfy the whims, taste and eccentricities of their fabulously rich clients.
On 12th of March, New Delhi shall experience the mystical opulence and elevated elegance of the Indian Maharajas with a private view of the second ‘Travel with Style’ exhibition celebrating the automotive design and coach building of India’s belle époque. However, this year, to keep in vein with the mystique and excitement of a ‘true’ Concours, every car has to be in running order and will make one circuit at the event, guaranteeing a truly wondrous spectacle.
Set to rank alongside the other world-renowned Concours, such as the Cartier ‘Style Et Luxe’, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the ‘Concorsa D’Eleganza’ at the Villa D’Este and the ‘Pebble Beach Concours D’Elégance’ in California, the Cartier ‘Travel with Style’ Concours has put India on the International Classic Car Circuit.
This year 56 cars have been selected to compete in seven categories at the Cartier Concours in New Delhi, adding four new exciting classes to the previous event in Mumbai, 2008, including, of course, ‘The Best Car of the Show Award’. The four new categories are – the Indian Heritage Class, the Preservation Class, the Classics / Rolls- Royce Class and the Jaguar Class. The returning categories this year are - the Classics, the Post-War Classics and Roadsters. While the Preservation Class is an internationally known class, the three new classes have been specially created by the Cartier Concours Curator H.H. Rana Manvendra Singh of Barwani for this show. The bar of excellence has never been higher for an event that has already set the very highest of standards and fierce competition.
The Indian Heritage Class.
This unique class will distinguish the Cartier ‘Travel With Style’ Concours from any other in the world. It has been created to highlight the Indian Automotive history by exhibiting original examples of cars that were assembled in India after Independence – 1946 to 1959.
The Preservation Class.
A fascinating class that aims to display un-restored cars straight from the factory. This class follows strict criteria, with all the cars requiring to have their original paint and upholstery. A new international class, it will showcase cars in ‘as found’ condition, or as it is known in America – ‘barn finds’ Many of the exhibited cars will have peeling paint, torn seats and are completely original in every respect.
This new class is in effect a division from the ‘Classics’ category, as it will allow pre-1939 Rolls-Royces to shine on their own. Arguably, one of the most popular luxury cars of its time, the Rolls-Royce out sold its contemporaries comprehensively and will highlight some quite extraordinary cars. Many are special body vehicles designed specifically for Indian Royalty.
The Jaguar Class.
Organised in association with Jaguar, this class will showcase the thoroughbred pedigree of these evocative cars and their presence in India from the company’s heydays of early sports cars to the latest luxury models.
Among the ‘jewels’ appearing in this year’s Concours is a 1930 Stutz, featuring a unique 4- passenger Speedster body-style with a dual cowl. This is the only known Stutz in India and was created in America during the height of coach-built luxury car era. The Stutz was an expensive and luxurious Mark similar to Duesenberg and Rolls- Royce.
Within the Jaguar Class line-up there is a stunning 1937 SS Jaguar 21⁄2-litre Tourer. Not only is this the oldest Jaguar in the show but it is also the first model to carry the Jaguar name.
While some of the cars in the Preservation Class will easily show their age via their paint and upholstery, a 1959 Chevrolet Impala will appear to have been in a time capsule.
The highlight of the Classic/ Rolls-Royce Class is the 1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50 H.P. One of the most famous cars in the world, this Silver Ghost, known as the ‘Throne Car’, was ordered by the Mahbub Ali Khan, Nizam VI of Hyderabad. To celebrate its own centenary at the Cartier Concours, Cartier is restoring the ‘Throne Car’ to its original glory. For the first time in a hundred years this legendary car will leave Hyderabad.
The Cartier ‘Travel With Style’ Concours D’ Elegance will be judged by an international panel of well known figures hailing from the automotive, creative , business, media, film, music, fashion and sporting worlds. Some are Classic car connoisseurs, owning fabulous collections of their own.
Others are simply lovers of beauty and arbiters of taste and design. All of them have expressed feeling thrilled and honoured to play a part in this unforgettable exhibition which showcases the cream of India’s unique heritage of automobile history.
Confirmed judges to date include: HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Simon Kidston, Sir Anthony Bamford, David Clark, William ‘Chip’ Connor II, Lapo Elkann, Bryan Ferry, Geordie Greig, Sir Michael Kadoorie, Yasmine Le Bon, Olivier Martinez, John McCaw, Gordon Murray, Marc Newson and Peter Stevens.
The Concours will be compered by Alain de Cadenet, one of the most respected and accomplished racers of vintage cars.
All the cars have been personally selected by Rana Manvendra Singh of Barwani, automotive historian, restorer and India’s most respected and experienced Classic car expert.
The second Cartier ‘Travel With Style’ Concours will showcase another extraordinary collection of India’s unique Classic Cars on Saturday 12th of March, 2011 at the Jaipur Polo Club, New Delhi.
This year, four new exciting classes have been added and each car has to be in running order. Amongst the ‘jewels’ of this years’ eclectic show are:
A 1930 Stutz with bodywork by LeBaron, featuring a unique 4-passenger Speedster body-style with a dual cowl. This is the only known Stutz in India. Stutz was an expensive and luxurious marque similar to Duesenburg and Rolls-Royce and was made in America during the height of coach-built luxury car era.
This particular car was bought by Maharaja of Baria at the 1929 Olympia Motor show in London. He used the car for special state occasions and occasionally for long distance travel while holding court in remote villages of his State. In 1952, the car was bought by a gentleman from Godhra, for the mere sum of three thousand rupees from the Maharaja’s garage! The gentleman took great pride in owning and driving the ex-royal car.
Later, due to unavailability of tyres, the Stutz was locked up in a garage for a few decades, until it was sold, only after the gentleman’s death in 2009. During the Gujarat riots, miscreants set fire to the property that originally housed the Stutz hoping to destroy ‘the big car’, along with many other cars. Fortunately the car had been moved to the new house just a short while before. Today, the car belongs to the noted collector Mr Diljeet Titus and has undergone a complete body-off restoration by HH Manvendra Singh of Barwani at his workshop in Indore. This is the first time the Stutz is being shown since its debut at the Olympia Motor show in 1929.
Undoubtedly, one of the most special cars of the show is the 1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50 H.P. Silver Ghost ‘Throne Car’ of H.E.H. the Nizam of Hyderabad. It is one of the most legendary, unique and expensive cars that Rolls-Royce ever manufactured.
Celebrating its centenary at the Cartier Concours, this incredible ceremonial car was ordered during the reign of HEH Mahbub Ali Khan, Nizam VI of Hyderabad, the richest man in the world of that era. The car was delivered in 1912 after the Nizam passed away in August 1911.
This primrose -yellow open limousine had a special body made by Barker & Co, featuring a domed passenger cabin completely encased by panoramic glass, so that the Nizam could be seen by his subjects. Inside, a single raised ‘throne’ seat was upholstered in yellow and gold silk brocade. The dome is adorned with silver mouldings and crowned with a gold and silver Dastar-i-Mubarak - or Royal Crown.
In 1937, for his Silver Jubilee celebration, HEH Nizam Osman Ali Khan Asaf Jah VII of Hyderabad ordered the State Railways to modify the car for ceremonial use costing no more than $500. The car was given 1930’s styling with fuller, streamlined mudguards, flat body panels and doors added for the driver. The bonnet was shortened to match the Rolls-Royces’ of that time.
The ‘Throne’ Car has since been parked along with the rest of the Nizam’s magnificent collection of cars at the Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad and has only covered 356 miles since its production. It is being especially restored by Cartier for the Nizam’s Trust by the noted restorer and automotive historian HH Manvendra Singh of Barwani in Indore. The car is being brought back to its former glory to the original 1911 body style.
For the first and only time in a hundred years the ‘Throne’ Car has left Hyderabad and will not only be shown, but run at the Cartier Concours in New Delhi, in front of HH Princess Esra of Hyderabad and her family. The car will then return to Hyderabad, where it will remain as a permanent static exhibit.
The ultimate winged wonder, the 1959 Chevrolet Impala is a car of cult status in India. Its outrageous styling and proportions made it the most desirable car in India in the 1960s, and a popular Bollywood icon. The styling of the 1959 Chevrolet Impala was so popular in India, that it made the name Impala into a term that would describe any or all big cars for the next decade.
This particular Impala being showcased at the Cartier Concours, with its desirable pillarless body style had been garaged for over 30 years in Hyderabad and has only been taken out this year. Oil was placed on the garage floor and the car was pushed sideways into a three-side walled slot in the side of the garage, just big enough to accommodate it and the dry Hyderabad climate has preserved the car.
Having done just over 28000 miles, the car is totally a factory original – body colour, the upholstery, even down to various instruction decals. This is an export right hand drive model, manufactured in Canada. It now belongs to Mr Sukhwant Singh, a collector of low mileage, original classic cars.
The Bharatpur Royal Family had a great fondness for Rolls- Royce cars. Uniquely, the Cartier Concours will showcase three ex-Bharatpur Rolls- Royces.
At one time, H.H. Maharaja Kishan Singh of Bharatpur ordered five Rolls-Royce 20 H.P. cars. A specialty of the Bharatpur cars were fabricated three-piece bumpers for negotiation through herds of obstinate cattle, to avoid harming the cattle or damaging the cars. Another feature was the elimination of horns in favor of a system of bells that insured that the cattle on the roads did not stampede.
One of the cars at the Concours will be a special Rolls-Royce Phantom I Caravan, a bespoke vehicle made for the Maharaja, a keen hunter, by the coach builders, Windovers. The polished nickel plated car features a folding seat that can be made into a bed and a concealed wash basin, which allowed the Maharaja to camp in the comfort of his car.
Another car, a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, is believed to be the car that the Maharaja’s son and successor HH Maharaja Brijendra Singh of Bharatpur is said to have left behind in lieu for his outstanding bill to the owners of Claridges Hotel in Delhi.
A third ex-Bharatpur Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is also being shown at the Concours. It is a beautiful saloon made by the Indian firm called the French Motorcar Company, who were the Indian dealers for a number of marques.
With only 9-miles of cement-concrete roads, it was ironic that the wealthy Maharaja of Darbhanga kept a vast collection of over 90 cars, including several formal limousines and over 30 Rolls-Royces. Four cars that were once a part of the Darbhanga garages are being shown at the Concours, but in particular, an incredibly beautiful and rare 1937 Rolls-Royce 25/30 H.P. four door convertible Sports Tourer, with body by J Gurney Nutting.
A very popular coachbuilder with the Maharajas, Windovers was often tasked to build special purpose cars on Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis’, such as the aforementioned Rolls-Royce ‘Shikar’ caravan built for the Maharaja of Bharatpur.
They also built a special purdah car for the Maharani of Bharatpur. The car was based on a 20hp chassis, and featured a polished aluminium body with a unique roof system. With the hood on it became an all-weather limousine. With the hood folded it became a Cabriolet. The car could also be converted into a Sedanca de Ville.
Another of their spectacular masterpieces is the 1921 Rolls-Royce Phantom I nickelplated limousine made as a wedding present for HH The Maharaja Umaid Singh of Jodhpur, by HH the Maharaja of Dhrangadhara. It is still with the Jodhpur Royal Family having recently returned from England, where it was restored by Rolls-Royce and guaranteed to be a showstopper at the Concours.
Another unique car built by Windovers, a beautiful 1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Tourer, made originally for the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj will also be showcased at the Concours.
HH Maharaja Tukoji Rao Holkar of Indore was one of the first Princes to import Bugatti cars in India, buying a Type 13 Brescia Boattail. Later he presented his Type 23 Brescia to one of his favourite mechanics, who was sent to Jodhpur, on the request of HH the Maharaja of Jodhpur.
His son, HH Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar II of Indore continued this generous trait of gifting cars. He was so happy with his shikari (hunter) for tracking the biggest tiger he had ever shot, while hunting in the Khandwa range near Indore that he wanted to reward him with something really special. The shikari asked for the motorcar that the Maharaja was using on the day he bagged the huge tiger – said to be the very rare Bugatti Type 57C, which was duly given to him. The shikari hardly ever used the car, and it rotted away under a banyan tree...
HH The Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar II of Indore’s generosity continued throughout his life. He was an avid motorist and enthusiast had some of the finest cars of his generation. He gifted one of his most beautiful cars, a fabulous Hispano Suiza J12, to HH the Maharaja of Gwalior, after he commented on the beauty of the car. This was not the only instance of Maharajas gifting cars, after they had been appreciated by another Maharaja. It became impolite, and one might add stupid to overly praise a Maharaja’s car, as it obligated him to give it away!
HH The Maharaja of Patiala, Rajinder Singh was an avid collector of beautiful and precious works of art and jewellery, including cars. He was one of the first to bring in a car to India – a 1901 De Dion. His garage housed over 190 cars including 50 Rolls- Royces. He was also one of a very few to own a Maybach. That same Maybach SW38, now part of the Ramchander Nath Collection will be shown at the Cartier Concours in New Delhi.
The creation of the new Jaguar class is of special prominence for the Cartier Concours. It not only signifies Jaguar Motorcars association with the Concours, but also celebrates the marques 75th anniversary and the new Indian owners, the Tata Group.
Jaguar cars have a life long history with India, having been sold here even before they came to be known as Jaguar. Originally the Swallow Sidecar Company, they sold re -bodied cars, under the Swallow name. They later build their own Standard Swallow cars as SS Cars Ltd, and also produced the Jaguar model that they would later adopt as their name.
Among the line-up of the very beautiful and significant Jaguars at the Concours will be a stunning 1937 SS 21⁄2-litre Tourer, owned by Mr T.T. Raghunathan. Not only is this oldest Jaguar in the show, but it is also the first model to carry the Jaguar name. This particular car has been with its owner since 1978, and he has painstakingly restored the car to pristine condition.
Incidentally the newest Jaguar in the show, a 1973 XKE-Type Series 3 Roadster, is also owned by the same gentleman.