To get back to the amazing Maharajas, here is a POTW with a kind of ‘Cheshire Cat’ (re Alice in Wonderland) sitting on a 1930 7-passenger V8 Cadillac hood. Wondering if this is the Caddy of The Queen of Hearts… ; ) If so then better run for yr life! Like me this Cheshire Cat is just a crazy madhatter! So a very suitable POTW that represents the CHB concept; cars, jokes and fun with a touch of seriousness. Let me surprise you next time, who knows what I have in store then, of course after you became famous in de the Dutch WW2 movie… Missed that one? Make sure to check it out NOW!
If you heave read the previous ‘Maharaja’ articles, you may have noticed the term shikar several times. Before Independence in 1947, the Indian Royalty had an exclusive privilege for hunting, known as the sport of shikar. As a vegan quite sad to write about those shikar expeditions where many of those beautiful and now very rare (Bengal) tigers were killed. Anyhow, some very fine shikar vehicles were involved with this ‘sport’! It was a way of sharpening the senses, keeping the reflexes up to date and being active. The Maharajas needed to be prepared for war at all times… Continue reading
Tinted car windows are not a hype of the 21st century, they were already used since the 11th century for the purdah, which means the seclusion of women. Purdah found its way thru India by the conquest of the Islam. The Royal Muslim as well as Hindu Maharanis lived quite unseen. Outside of their zenana (secluded women’s apartments) they were moved around in different kinds of vehicles like palanquins and (animal dawn) carriages, that were shuttered with heavy curtains. And of course later also cars with blinded windows… that we still use today!
Traveling in purdah wasn’t very easy… Continue reading
I thought let’s do kind of a ladies issue this time and I have good news for you female CHB readers. If you have been dreaming of a prince on a white horse, then I just found him, on a cute little white pony! This little Indian prince with his pony is quite fairytale-like, don’t you agree? The question is who is this young prince? I defy you to tell me his name! Let me know in the comments below if you happen to know who he is.
Of course this blog is about cars, so let’s return to that subject. Although this POTW doesn’t feature a Maharaja car, this is how a young Maharaja got started… with just 1/2HP! Until they were capable of handling a 40HP. I did this myself as well, from 1HP to 135HP : )
I look forward to lots of answers!
Yeshwantrao had a deep understanding of the automobile. He knew exactly which car to buy, how the car’s lines should flow and how the body was to be fabricated. Unlike his dad he was a true patrol head who knew almost how to build a car by himself.
Every car that Yeshwantrao owned had the ‘Holkar Hallmark’ – an outstanding sense of design and proportion with individually designed interiors. Attention was paid to every single detail of the car and even the door handles were specially designed with Art Deco motifs. Correction, a true perfectionist patrol head!
His cars were all painted in sunglow and black and had black ebony dashboards with orange dials and white lettering. The cars were famed by… Continue reading
First some background! Maharaja Tukojirao Holkar III (1890-1978) ruled the Princely State of Indore (9,519 square miles with 19 gun salutes) from 1903 to 1926. He was already quite an unconventional Maharaja and one of the first in Central India who, around 1906, acquired an automobile! He always purchased (lots of) cars for a reason… for some kind of a utilitarian purpose. He was just more of a practical collector than a petrol head.
Now about that futuristic master dandy, which he really was… Continue reading
I am a bit ashamed, because this is something that I am supposed to know, but am I alone in this? So let me tell you this little story. I was working at the gym (which has a great view on the Maas river) on a ‘Maharaja’ article, yes I use the gym as my office, but also to work out of course : )
Anyway I thought my friend from the gym might be interested in the Maharaja cars, because she is of Indian origin. While talking she told me about her dad who was an engineer for Mercedes-Benz. She made me aware of… Continue reading
Colonel HH Raj Rishi Shri Sawai Maharaja Sir Jai Singhji Veerendra Shiromani Dev Bharat Prabhakar Bahadur of Alwar, was quite a striking Maharaja with some really crazy stories (the one of the Rolls garbage vans is the most bizarre story I have ever heard)! If you have read the previous articles you already know something about this brilliant and eccentric Indian Prince.
Jai Singh (1882-1937) succeeded his father in 1892 and ruled Alwar until 1933. He came on the throne of Alwar when he was quite young, only 10 years old! Initially he reigned the 3,213 square mile state of Alwar in Rajasthan under the control of a Regency, until he was able to carry the full ruling powers in 1903.
There were quite some rumors around Maharaja Jai Singh, some had a hint of truth, others were mere figments of the imagination… Continue reading
Alwar 2, the long wheelbase Hispano-Suiza eight-liter (H6C, chassis 11744), showing pure Indian Royal history. This pic of the ceremonial 1926 Hispano was taken around 1994 in the courtyard of one of the Alwar palaces. As you can see, by this time it was bereaved of its wheels and all its typical Alwar ornaments. Behind languishes Alwar 1, the extended Lanchester chassis, with its unusual landau coach (the Lanchester is also mentioned in yesterday’s article ‘THE INDIAN LANCHESTER CAR HYPE’).
Today Alwar 2 still exists in this stunning unrestored condition at the palace of Alwar! Some people will spend a fortune to patinate their car to get this kind of patina!
Click here for more pics of Alwar 2, taken earlier in its life (before 1981) when still more complete!See more CHB pics by clicking this button!
The 40HP Lanchester was very populair amongst Indian Royalty, so let’s talk about those Lanchesters and of course Lanchester himself!
Frederick William Lanchester, or Fred as he was called, was the founder of the Lanchester marque. The incredibly gifted engineer and designer was holder of some 426 patents! His 1896 Lanchester Engine Co. was the first car that he built. He also wore the honor of building the very first… Continue reading
Sadly no great adventures to be found about this special Daimler, but the photos have enough to tell! WOW, what a car! I think the Maharaja of Rewa must have been quite a frivolous man that he needed a mirror this big!
The Barker-bodied all-weather tourer weighed a whopping six tons with all its nickel and silver! The maharaja of Rewa used the car for shikar (hunting, especially tigers) expeditions. The very rare Daimler has (present time, because the car still exists, although not in India anymore) a custom nickel and silver plated body with cobra-shaped horns and a massive hood ornament. One of the… Continue reading
This week we dive into a world full of decadence and madness with the new theme ‘Maharaja automobiles’! Get ready for some real crazy stories where money is immaterial! It is all about the Indian Princes, many of whom were Maharajas, but also other titles, about which you can read below.
With this introduction article I will attempt to briefly explain the culture of this ‘princely’ world. Until Independence in 1947 (when India was freed of British governance), two-fifths of the Indian sub-continent comprised over 565 Princely States, ruled by Maharajas, Rajas, Ranas, Jams, Nawabs, Mirs and one Nizam. This Nizam was once considered… Continue reading
This extraordinary ‘Swan Car’ – a 1910 Brooke 25/30 HP – is just all about madness! A bizarre peace of art with its very special and FUN gadgets! Possibly the first concept car in the world! The car was built by JW Brooke and company in Lowestoft, England. It was a combination of both car and boat, which was what the Brooke’s manufactured. By the way it must have cost more than three times a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost…! By now it’s just priceless!
The special one-off vehicle was commissioned by the wealthy ‘mad hatter’ (Alice in Wonderland term) Robert Nicholl Matthewson from Scotland. The genius wasn’t bored when he placed the order for the swan car, but wanted to… Continue reading