One such collection that stands out, is the Classic and Vintage Car Collection, located inside The Palace Udaipur. It is here where you will find a wide range of cars which were once used regularly by Udaipur’s royal family. Even today, each car you see in the gallery here, is functional. They are serviced, maintained, and even fueled (YES!, there is a vintage Shell fueling station), inside the same complex by trained individuals. These include rare Rolls Royce cars, Mercedes Benz, Buick, Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac, etc.
The Vintage & Classic Car Collection is like a museum with a difference as all the vehicles on show have belonged to the Maharanas of Mewar, both past and present. Despite some vehicles being over seventy years old, each one has been painstakingly restored. Currently under the watchful eye of the present (76th) custodian of the Mewar dynasty, Sriji Arvind Singh Mewar, these cars are also the first of it’s kind in the country. The jewel in the crown, is obviously the 1924 Rolls-Royce 20 HP, Barker Tourer (GLK 21). This is also the one which one award at the 62nd Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last year.
All these cars belonged to Udaipur’s previous three Maharanas, each of whom has shown himself to be an avid motoring enthusiast. The picks of the exhibits on display are the magnificent set of four Rolls-Royces.
The first you see is a 1924 Rolls-Royce 20H.P. This car was awarded the ‘Best of Class Category, Vintage Classic in the Cartier Travel with Style Concours’ in November 2008.
In addition, there is a 1934 Rolls-Royce 20-25H.P that was originally a limousine and was later converted into a pick-up by Maharana Bhagawat Singh mainly to transport the cricket team to and from the grounds.
There is also a 1930/31 Rolls-Royce 20-25 H.P that was originally a Tourer and was later converted to Shooting Brake by Maharana Bhagawat Singh. Today the thought of shooting or bussing a cricket team in a Rolls Royce would seem a little extreme, but it is precisely this history that makes these cars so alluring.
The remaining one is a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II that was bought by the 76th. Custodian House of Mewar, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur. The Phantom II is perhaps the finest car on view and as unique a vehicle as one could find.
The garage also houses two enormous 1938 Cadillacs that are still used on special occasions and come as a pair. The four-door Convertible is the Maharana’s car, while the Saloon is for the use of the Maharani, hence the curtains in the rear windows. Family crests adorn the rear doors of both Cadillacs, adding a further royal touch to these two majestic automobiles.
Of the remainder of the collection the bright red 1946 MG-TC convertible stands out. For lovers of sports cars, admiring this speed machine is a must. Most of the other cars are rather more sedate, however. Yet vehicles such as the 1930 Ford-A Convertible or the Vauxhall-12 are no less remarkable, if only because they have so much more panache than the cars now produced by those companies. They are delightful examples of the golden age of motoring.
The Vintage & Classic Car Collection is housed in the original former Mewar State Motor Garage, a glorious setting for such a fine assortment of vehicles. The bougainvillea – coated Garden Hotel and Restaurant, a property of HRH Group of Hotels, Udaipur, is also contained within the garage’s grounds.
The semi-circular motor garage with its forecourt is housed within a greater courtyard, creating a pleasant hideaway from the bustle of the streets.
One of the original Shell petrol pump is not only still standing, but also in a usable condition. The motor garage itself was built at a time when the only cars in town belonged to the Mewar State Motor Garage and the present day surroundings make this garage as wonderfully stylish as it must always have been.
Inventor David Dunbar Buick saw his first motor car around the turn of the century and remained obsessed with cars all his life. He was to eventually form a partnership with William C. Durrant.
A Pair of 1938/39 Cadillacs
In 1914 the first American water-cooled V8 Engine designed by Henry Leland was employed by Cadillac Co. and put into production. It was a successful maneuver.
Having dominated the market for years, by 1925 Ford sales and production were going steadily downhill as a number of customers grew dissatisfied with the outdated engineering systems and design of their model, FORD T.
M.G. TC 1946
After the war, Morris resumed car production in 1945 but concentrated their efforts on the new MG-TC which was a single two-seater car powered with 1250 c.c. four cylinder engine with twin S.U. carburetor.
1959 Morris – Minor 1000 (Traveller)
The Morris Minor was designed by Sir Alex Issigonis who later became famous for his creation of the Mini. Although it was designed for the mass market, production only ever reached 1.2 million between 1948 and 1971 when manufacturing stopped.
1924 Rolls Royce
Between 1908 and 1940 the Rolls – Royce car was made in their Derby factory where the car itself was designed by Royce.
1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II
One hundred years ago, in 1904, a motor car enthusiast Charles Rolls and a well-known engineer named Henry Royce met at the Midland hotel in Manchester, England.
The House of Mewar is the first owner of the Vauxhall 12 (Deluxe). This car has an engine that runs with four cylinders, a Delco electric system, dry plate clutch and four speed transmission.
Apart from these, there is also a section inside the museum where you get to see carriages which are as old as 300 years old. These too were used by the Royal family. Scroll through the image gallery on next page.
Image gallery featuring Udaipur’s Vintage and Classic Car Collection. The Museum is located inside The Palace, Udaipur.