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Old 11th December 2013, 08:29   #16
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Default Re: Classics of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar

Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
Thanks for sharing. I noticed the English registration is mentioned as well - is this document still valid in the UK?

This story on them supposedly returning a Rolls Royce should be of interest to you

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/super-...ml#post2716968 (Supercars & Imports : Kerala)
The video of HH Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma using the RR Phantom.

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Old 15th December 2013, 21:58   #17
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Default Re: My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK

Originally Posted by 56Stoody View Post
Hi all you petrol heads in India!

I have noticed in this thread, a couple of comments (from r_nairtvm and travancore) about the whereabouts of Studebaker President KLT-1, once the property of the Maharajah of Travancore at Kowdiar Palace Trivandrum. Well, it's alive and well and living in the south west of England - in my garage! I was lucky enough to buy it on UK Ebay in Feb 2010 and am very proud to own such a prestigious piece of Indian history. It's not in show condition, but is very solid and just needs a repaint. Even in it's current condition it attracts a lot of interest wherever it goes, especially it's illustrious history!

Regards to you all from England Ian

Thanks for responding and letting us know about KLT 1. Its just not a car for some of us. As it was part of our lives as the personal vehicle of one of much loved Kings of that province of Union of India - Travancore -, from where I come from.

Slightly OT

I don't know how much you know about HH Balarama Varma Chithira Tirunal - I can sum up in one sentence.

What he did for Travancore during his rather short reign as the King, both socially and economically, would be much more than that has been done for the area by the successive elected governments of independent India in the last 66 years.

The colour of the Car - I think the 3rd picture in your post - frontal one showing KLT 1 - is the original colour of the car. It was single colour always from 1956. I have vivid memories of the car from 1964.

One Trip the car made without fail, every day was to take the HH to the Royal Temple in Trivandrum - the duty was from 6.30 am to 8-15 am (for the round trip)

I also happened to be in the scene the car took the HH the last time

I think it was in 1980 - As a student I was waiting for bus to go to college - at a place called Palayam, in Trivandrum in the Main Road - MG Road. ( I used to see the car almost all working days at the same spot same time). That particular day the car suddenly stopped little ahead of the bust stop. After about 5 minutes, I saw the driver get out and hail a Auto Rikshaw Taxi - by then the traffic police man on duty near by and a lot of passers by had gathered at the spot including some high government officials who were passing by in their own cars.

Without listening to the protestations of all who gathered there The HH got in to the Auto Rikshaw hailed, and went to the palace as if nothing had happened.

That was our King !!!

That was the last day the Stoody was ever used officially.

There should be a lot of photos of the KLT 1 with many of the old photographers in Trivandrum. I am in the process of establishing contacts with some of them to try and get the old photos with automobiles in them for a collector. If I come across any of KLT 1 I will let you know

Best Regards & Drive Safe


Last edited by r_nairtvm : 15th December 2013 at 22:01.
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Old 15th December 2013, 23:14   #18
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Default Re: My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK

Thanks Ram for your memories of KLT1 in Trivandrum. I am honoured to have this car, which you remember so fondly from your younger days and which was owned by such a highly loved and respected king. I will be so delighted if you can find some photos of KLT1 in Trivandrum or at the palace. It will be especially interesting to see some of the people who drove it or rode in it all those years ago. Whilst I know that it was in India, it would be lovely to actually see it in an Indian street or outside Kowdiar Palace.
Thank you in advance for your efforts in posting your message and in looking for old photos. Ian
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Old 16th December 2013, 15:29   #19
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Default Re: My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK

Hi Ian,

Its strange that we have been talking about the Travancore Royal family etc only yesterday and today morning first news I hear is of the passing on of the Head of the Travancore Royal Family - HH Sri Utradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma, who succeeded the actual user/owner of KLT 1.

The thread below has some info (post 1118) which you may be interested

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/vintag...ml#post3320874 (Classics of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar)

Now about your wish to see a street outside Kawdiar Palace - I am posting below few pictures I took in 1991 during a Vintage Car Rally - for your information - there was a time all big street events in Trivandrum had to start from what we call the Palace Square or Kawdiar Square.

The "street" used to be so wide that they could convert it to a 3 lane dual carriage way with minimum encrochment on the already existing foot path or pavement.

It used to be a round about until few years ago, but now has been converted to a Signal Controlled junction.

My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK-kawdiar-square.jpg

The gate you can see to the extrem left in the pic is the Main Entrance of the palace. The palace itself is not visible from the road and hence I don't have a picture of the road & palace together.

My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK-kawdiar-sqr-vintage-rally-1991.jpg
My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK-kawdiar-road.jpg

I am also posting a picture of the Kawdiar Palace itself - which is a mix of Kerala Architecture and what I believe is the Victorian style roofing

Name:  Kawdiar Palace.jpg
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(courtesy - http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgur...a.blogspot.com)

You can look up following site to see what the place looks like today (2010)


The last official driver of KLT 1 passed away a while ago. Thanks for reminding me on this for next time when I am in my home town, I will try and get in touch with the Driver's family (I think I know where the family lived) and see if they have any memmorabilia or pictures etc of KLT 1.

Best Regards & Drive Safe


Last edited by r_nairtvm : 16th December 2013 at 15:33.
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Old 16th December 2013, 22:31   #20
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Default Re: My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK

About 1956 Studebaker President (KLT 1 ) . This has been one of the most interesting and informative threads on these pages. How a simple find of a car has resulted in opening up a number of interesting stories, pictures, historical facts and dedication of so many BHPians is remarkable. The follow-up has been wonderful.
I actually look forward to what comes next ! Thank you all who are taking interest in the this car ( incidently, Studees were not as popular as PAL produced models of that era. They Came, stayed and faded away. But the story of this car is as good as any of the other RRs, Pckds, Bntls, Buicks and what have you .
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