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Old 28th November 2013, 03:06   #1
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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!

I have the original Indian registration document in the name of Maharani Sethu Parvathi Bayi. When she died in 1985, she left it in her will to her doctor (Dr Pillai) in Trivandrum. When he died in 1988, he left it to his son (also a doctor) in northern England. He had it exported from Cochin to Felixstowe UK in a container. He had it repainted in darker blue and white, which has gradually deteriorated during several other owners until it came to me. I would be very interested if anyone can find a picture of it in India as it would add hugely to it's historical interest. I'm happy to answer any more questions, but I hope this has filled in a gap in your list of lost palace cars.
Kindest Regards Ian

I have attached two pictures, one of the car in 1998 when it was in Suffolk England with a different owner, but still bearing the original Palace plate KLT-1. It was re-registered with UK plates soon afterwards. The other picture shows it last year parked in the local town on a shopping trip. I will post some other views, but they will have to be in another post due to size limits for pictures.

I have recently discovered from contacts in the Studebaker Drivers Club in USA that KLT-1 was shipped from the US in crates, as separate parts, unpainted with no engine or tyres, to the Hindustan Motors plant at Kolkotta, where it was assembled. It was then painted, re -upholstered in different coloured vinyl and fitted with a 259 cu inch V8 engine that had originally been supplied for Studebaker army trucks purchased by the Indian Army. It is thought that all Indian Studebakers would have been shipped this way as it avoided certain taxes and duties levied on complete car imports. I would be very interested to hear from anyone in BHP who knows anything about the assembly at Hindustan Motors in the 1950s.

I see on BHP some pictures of 56 Presidents still in use in India. If anyone can get under the bonnet, there is a plate with stamped numbers on it, on the firewall, near the driver's side bonnet hinge, that I would like pictures of please. This is different from the plate on a US built Studebaker and my friends in USA do not understand what the numbers mean. Your help would be much appreciated. A picture with it of the chassis number plate, which is on the LH front door pillar would help too. If you don't have a camera handy, just writing the numbers down would be great. Thankyou very much.

Another current picture of KLT-1 as promised.Taken on a family picnic in the woods.

Regards to you all from England Ian
Attached Thumbnails
My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK-stude-day-2012-029.jpg  

My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK-stude-day-2012-030.jpg  

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Last edited by GTO : 29th November 2013 at 16:08. Reason: Adding your post with pictures to the opening post itself :)
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Old 28th November 2013, 08:53   #2
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Default Re: Classics of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar

Hi

Please can you post some snaps of the car with you so that the ones who are not number familiar but car familiar can trace back and help you with snaps if any of its origin when here. What ever condition snaps are fine.

Thanks for the history and glad its in good hands ! All the best with its restoration.

Cheers


Quote:
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!
I have the original Indian registration document in the name of Maharani Sethu Parvathi Bayi. When she died in 1985, she left it in her will to her doctor (Dr Pillai) in Trivandrum. When he died in 1988, he left it to his son (also a doctor) in northern England. He had it exported from Cochin to Felixstowe UK in a container. He had it repainted in darker blue and white, which has gradually deteriorated during several other owners until it came to me. I would be very interested if anyone can find a picture of it in India as it would add hugely to it's historical interest. I'm happy to answer any more questions, but I hope this has filled in a gap in your list of lost palace cars.
Kindest Regards Ian
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Old 28th November 2013, 10:10   #3
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Default Re: Classics of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar

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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!
I have the original Indian registration document in the name of Maharani Sethu Parvathi Bayi. When she died in 1985, she left it in her will to her doctor (Dr Pillai) in Trivandrum. When he died in 1988, he left it to his son (also a doctor) in northern England. He had it exported from Cochin to Felixstowe UK in a container. He had it repainted in darker blue and white, which has gradually deteriorated during several other owners until it came to me. I would be very interested if anyone can find a picture of it in India as it would add hugely to it's historical interest. I'm happy to answer any more questions, but I hope this has filled in a gap in your list of lost palace cars.
Kindest Regards Ian
That will be one proud moment for me and this thread. At last we were able to find an answer for the whereabouts of the KLT-1 once the property of the Maharajah of Travancore at Kowdiar Palace Trivandrum.

Thanks a lot Ian for replying to this thread and eagerly waiting to see the snaps.

Kind regards,
Foby Sebastian Pellissery
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Old 28th November 2013, 21:21   #4
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Default Re: Classics of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar

^^^ I used to see this Maha Raja's car, KLT 1 at East Fort, Trivandrum in my student days, almost everyday.
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I would be very interested to hear from anyone in BHP who knows anything about the assembly at Hindustan Motors in the 1950s.
Dr Anjan (Anjan c2007) may be able to throw light on this.
The attached PDF file makes interesting reading.
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File Type: pdf automobile_industry_in_india.pdf (113.1 KB, 572 views)

Last edited by rajeev k : 28th November 2013 at 21:42.
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Old 29th November 2013, 00:50   #5
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Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
^^^ I used to see this Maha Raja's car, KLT 1 at East Fort, Trivandrum in my student days, almost everyday. Dr Anjan (Anjan c2007) may be able to throw light on this. The attached PDF file makes interesting reading.
American cars were assembled in India from knocked down kits during late 40s thru late 50s. Plymouth, Dodge and DeSoto were produced by PAL at Kurla and Studebakers by Hindustan Motors at Calcutta. Before independence, American cars were imported fully assembled , in most cases from GM, Ford or Chrysler plants in Canada and were RHD.
1956 Sudebakers came as Commander and President, the difference being in outside trim , Commander a little less flashy. Both had V8 engines, the only car assembled in India with a V8. Hindustan Motors also produced pick up trucks and full size trucks, with flat sixes earlier and then with V8 . During this period Indian Army bought Studebaker trucks with V8 too and they were four wheel drive. .It seems the V8 was found not suitable for the demanding operation of the army truck and was soon dropped in favor of the Shaktiman and then the Mercedes.
Again, the President and the Commander were well received though not in the same numbers as the Chrysler products of PAL. I remember the President was available with AC as option and had strange glass tubes in the rear window deck for cool air ( someone please explain as I was very young then) . I remember a yellow president at the Indian Industries Fair at Delhi ( where I also saw a lime green Ford Thunderbird on a tilted stand ) .
The blue Studebaker, KLT 1 , is missing the ' Presudent' signage on the front fender. It also has strange rims and oversize tires. It should be noted that 1956 Studebaker had the unique speedometer where the red pointer stayed still and the digits moved, a feature that was found in the very early 20s and was revied by the Sudebaker in 1956 and then by the Edsel in 1958 !
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Old 29th November 2013, 03:53   #6
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Thanks for the great information Priyo. Well spotted on the wheels. When I bought KLT1 it had the original steel wheels with 185x15 radials, which looked and were too small, the original spec being 7.10x15 cross plies. To get the same diameter in a radial, you have to go wider and these could not be fitted on the 51/2J steel rims. Luckily a local US car enthusiast had a spare set of wide rims from his 72 Plymouth Fury and these had the correct stud pattern. A deal was done (cheaper than one 7.10x15 cross ply) and I think the outcome is very pleasing and the car sits well on them. The President fender badge is there, it doesn't show up in the street photo, but you cab see it on the woodland photo. It still has the lovely speeometer too, which is working well I'm afraid it never had AC so I can't help with the glass tube function. In fact it was never even fitted with a heater or demister and has no power steering or power brakes and is manual gearbox too. Definitely the budget version!
Thanks again Regards Ian
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Old 29th November 2013, 04:59   #7
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American cars were assembled in India from knocked down kits during late 40s thru late 50s. Plymouth, Dodge and DeSoto were produced by PAL at Kurla and Studebakers by Hindustan Motors at Calcutta. Before independence, American cars were imported fully assembled , in most cases from GM, Ford or Chrysler plants in Canada and were RHD. 1956 Sudebakers came as Commander and President, the difference being in outside trim , Commander a little less flashy. Both had V8 engines, the only car assembled in India with a V8. Hindustan Motors also produced pick up trucks and full size trucks, with flat sixes earlier and then with V8 . During this period Indian Army bought Studebaker trucks with V8 too and they were four wheel drive. .It seems the V8 was found not suitable for the demanding operation of the army truck and was soon dropped in favor of the Shaktiman and then the Mercedes. Again, the President and the Commander were well received though not in the same numbers as the Chrysler products of PAL. I remember the President was available with AC as option and had strange glass tubes in the rear window deck for cool air ( someone please explain as I was very young then) . I remember a yellow president at the Indian Industries Fair at Delhi ( where I also saw a lime green Ford Thunderbird on a tilted stand ) . The blue Studebaker, KLT 1 , is missing the ' Presudent' signage on the front fender. It also has strange rims and oversize tires. It should be noted that 1956 Studebaker had the unique speedometer where the red pointer stayed still and the digits moved, a feature that was found in the very early 20s and was revied by the Sudebaker in 1956 and then by the Edsel in 1958 !
Correction ! I do see the ' President ' just above the front bumper wrap around .
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Old 29th November 2013, 09:33   #8
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Default Re: Classics of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar

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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.
Hi Ian, welcome and congratulations on your historical Studey. The Travancore family had some super cars over the years - though also had their fair share of 'lesser' classics. I believe they still have a Mercedes Ponton diesel rumoured to have travelled over 10,00,000 kms

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I have the original Indian registration document in the name of Maharani Sethu Parvathi Bayi.
Would you be kind enough to share a scan of this document for us history buffs? Thanks.
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Old 29th November 2013, 14:28   #9
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Here as requested is a scan of the original Indian registration document for KLT1 plus the last Indian certificate of insurance, issued in the Maharani's name, which is interesting, as I believe she died in 1985! I'm sure you will find them as fascinating as I do.
I am so grateful to all the previous owners of KLT1 for retaining all the original documents with the vehicle. They really help me to appreciate the wonderful history of this royal palace car. I really hope that some photos of it and it's owners and drivers at Kowdiar palace may be found somewhere, to add another chapter to an amazing life story.
Regards Ian
Attached Thumbnails
My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK-klt1regdoc002.jpg  

My 1956 Studebaker President - From Trivandrum to the UK-klt1regdoc003.jpg  

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Old 29th November 2013, 15:13   #10
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Thanks for sharing. I noticed the English registration is mentioned as well - is this document still valid in the UK?

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The Travancore family had some super cars over the years - though also had their fair share of 'lesser' classics.
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)
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Old 29th November 2013, 20:43   #11
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Here as requested is a scan of the original Indian registration document for KLT1 plus the last Indian certificate of insurance, issued in the Maharani's name, which is interesting,
True. This is a document issued by the Registering Authority, Trivandrum, but a true copy issued on 1-10-1986, perhaps when the original got defaced or when converted to the concurrent book form.

As per this RC Book, this car was transferred to the name of HH Sethu Parvathy Bai with effect from 31-3-1972. The car was first delivered on November 12, 1956. But the name of the first owner or previous owner(s) is not endorsed as per practice followed by Kerala Registering Authorities.
The date of delivery has a significance as the State of Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956 and the KLT series (forTrivandrum District) of registration started immediately afterwards.

Last edited by .anshuman : 30th November 2013 at 08:51. Reason: Posts merged on request
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Old 30th November 2013, 18:24   #12
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Thanks Ian, it is indeed a privilege to see this car. Anyway I was trying to find if any pictures of the same are available on the net, and guess what I found ; a 1952 model Studebaker was availale on sale on Quickr and Olx a while back.
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Old 1st December 2013, 12:06   #13
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Good one, It is not just a heritage car, but a piece of history in itself especially with the registration certificate which has the name of the erstwhile princess of Travancore. Did the UK authorities still keep the old registration done a in a different country ? Anyway good to see a KLT 1 registered car on road in the UK. I have read somewhere that a "molly wood" actor's family too owns a Studebaker.
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Old 1st December 2013, 17:36   #14
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Thanks Shinuak KLT1 was re-registered in 1998 to a UK reg. which you can see in the street picture. KLT1 would be an acceptable registration number in the UK and it is available to be purchased from the UK licencing authorities. The trouble is that it would cost an awful lot of money, which I cannot afford. I have tried to persuade them to let me use it for nothing, as it was the original reg for the car, but they didn't accept my argument. I may try again, but I'm not hopeful. I would be able to use KLT1 plates at a classic car show, but not on the road. Ian
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Old 3rd December 2013, 14:28   #15
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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?
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Originally Posted by shinuak View Post
Good one, It is not just a heritage car, but a piece of history in itself especially with the registration certificate which has the name of the erstwhile princess of Travancore. Did the UK authorities still keep the old registration done a in a different country ? Anyway good to see a KLT 1 registered car on road in the UK. I have read somewhere that a "molly wood" actor's family too owns a Studebaker.
The Kerala number was deregistered when that car was taken to london 30years ago .also The number owner telling about is called Custom number plate and hence costs are very very high.not the same old number.
Actor you say must be Kunjacko Boban,he has a Studebacker champion bought back recently from Cochin

Last edited by kishorelal : 3rd December 2013 at 14:30.
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