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Old 28th April 2009, 10:46   #121
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Originally Posted by DKG View Post
I'm delighted to announce that the car display is now open to public. We had a press reveal today.

India's heritage has been depleting at an alarming pace. Please encourage as many friends and family as you can to visit heritage sites. Your ticket money helps in sustaining these magnificent museums and monuments

Enjoy



Will do
Any pictures from the press reveal please.
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Old 28th April 2009, 21:37   #122
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Any pictures from the press reveal please.
Some appeared in the local newspapers I think but I don't have them. BTW the pictures posted in this thread are of the cars in their present display as I was arranging them before having them sealed off in glass. Next time you are in Hyd you can visit with friends and family
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Old 28th September 2009, 15:06   #123
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Some pictures of the cars as they wer found in storage at Chiraan Palace

The last pictue is of the Merriweather Fire Truck that is with the Railways now
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Old 28th September 2009, 22:18   #124
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Some pictures of the cars as they wer found in storage at Chiraan Palace

The last pictue is of the Merriweather Fire Truck that is with the Railways now


The last picture of the fire engine,is it a Morris?I had seen a similar fire engine this year at the delhi vintage car rally which was a JOhn morris & co. manufacture sometime in the early 1900's.I was told that the car belonged to the Indian Railways and the people who brought it look similar to the ones on this one.So was wondering if it was the same one or not will try and look for a pic and put it up.
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Old 29th September 2009, 09:24   #125
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I had seen a similar fire engine this year at the delhi vintage car rally which was a JOhn morris & co. manufacture sometime in the early 1900's.
Yes its the same engine, and housed at Delhi. Originally this was bought by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
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Old 1st October 2009, 15:59   #126
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On the makers plate shown for the napier cars, the name of the dealer is S.F.Edge. Seems he was more than just a dealer for Napier. I came across a photo of him sitting in, as expected a Napier. He appears to have been a great character, read up on him on the net.

I still feel that the Nizams cars should be restored. For the cosmetic restoration including tin, wood, paint, upholstry we have a very talented restorer, see what he did to the Wolseley Siddley in Bangalore. For mechanicals there is not so much talent available. Doc in Bangalore managed to get the Wolseley running, and apparently drove her all the way to Mysore. But generally he does only his own cars. I say this even at the risk of being his supporter. (BTW, supporter for what?). Very few pre 1915 cars in India run properly if at all, Julian got some to work but he is not in India anymore.

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The Nizam of Hyderabad's Collection of Cars and Carriages-napier-s-f-edge.jpg  


Last edited by harit : 1st October 2009 at 16:04.
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Old 1st October 2009, 20:04   #127
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The Fire engine is manufactured by John Morris and sons. It is chair driven, has an external gate gear change, solid tyres and a transmission brake. I should know, I had the privilege of driving it for the entire distance of the Statesman rally, both in 2008 and 2009! Great fun, but wrestling with the steering and the gears for over 130 kms in 2008 and 70 odd kms in 2009 left my arms limp for a few days thereafter. On the main road, it was a pleasure to drive, we were clipping at about 50 to 60 kmph. The problem arose when trying to negotiate turnings or when one hit a speed bump.

This fire engine belonged to the Nizam's State Railway and the South Central Railway following nationalisation. It was moved to the Delhi Rail Museum in the seventies. Every year, just before the Delhi Statesman rally, a team from the Lallaguda workshops of the South Central Railway in Hyderabad come to Delhi to fettle the engine. Wonderfully dedicated chaps. The vehicle needs restoration, though, particularly of the livery and the cosmetics, which are not as detailed as one would wish. Here are some photos of the engine, including one with yours truly at the wheel. For me, this has been the ultimate in government provided transport! The photo posted by Wasif doesn't seem to have been snapped in either 2008 or 2009, because I didn't relinquish the driver's seat even for a second! Would you, if you had a chance to drive this beast?
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The Nizam of Hyderabad's Collection of Cars and Carriages-new_001.jpg  

The Nizam of Hyderabad's Collection of Cars and Carriages-zzj_img_4338.jpg  

The Nizam of Hyderabad's Collection of Cars and Carriages-zzj_img_4342.jpg  

The Nizam of Hyderabad's Collection of Cars and Carriages-zzj_img_4351.jpg  

The Nizam of Hyderabad's Collection of Cars and Carriages-zzj_img_4418.jpg  

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Old 1st October 2009, 21:29   #128
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Harit, sorry to say but I don't particulalry like the end result of the Bangalore Wolseley. Its lost something, looks too made up now. Like an old hag with loads of make up , worse still the wrong make up !!

Its easier to paint and polish old cars, but to retain their original look is close to impossible in a restoration. For this reason alone I wish they leave these cars as they are. I believe they make a precious exhibit of what 100 plus old cars look like.

At the most they could repair the damage to the roof pillars of one of the Napiers without making it look like a restoration.

I think SF Edge had a marketing arrangement for Napier cars, ie all cars were sold through him. I could be wrong but I vaguely remember reading he set up a company in the US and sold cars through that company. Which meant cars were shipped first to US and resold from there all over the world.
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Old 2nd October 2009, 12:46   #129
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The Fire engine is manufactured by John Morris and sons. It is chair driven, has an external gate gear change, solid tyres and a transmission brake. I should know, I had the privilege of driving it for the entire distance of the Statesman rally, both in 2008 and 2009! Great fun, but wrestling with the steering and the gears for over 130 kms in 2008 and 70 odd kms in 2009 left my arms limp for a few days thereafter. On the main road, it was a pleasure to drive, we were clipping at about 50 to 60 kmph. The problem arose when trying to negotiate turnings or when one hit a speed bump.

Every year, just before the Delhi Statesman rally, a team from the Lallaguda workshops of the South Central Railway in Hyderabad come to Delhi to fettle the engine. Wonderfully dedicated chaps. The vehicle needs restoration, though, particularly of the livery and the cosmetics, which are not as detailed as one would wish.
I'm thrilled to hear that she does complete these long runs - I knew she was a runner but didn't know she would do these distances! very heartening to know that our Government institutions can maintain this vehicle, no doubt with your dedicatition and support.

When you feel like it, do give us a seperate thread on experiences with this behemoth. I wonder what ride quality must be like with solid tyres!
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Old 2nd October 2009, 16:05   #130
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Harit, sorry to say but I don't particulalry like the end result of the Bangalore Wolseley. Its lost something, looks too made up now. Like an old hag with loads of make up , worse still the wrong make up !!

Its easier to paint and polish old cars, but to retain their original look is close to impossible in a restoration. For this reason alone I wish they leave these cars as they are. I believe they make a precious exhibit of what 100 plus old cars look like.

At the most they could repair the damage to the roof pillars of one of the Napiers without making it look like a restoration.

I think SF Edge had a marketing arrangement for Napier cars, ie all cars were sold through him. I could be wrong but I vaguely remember reading he set up a company in the US and sold cars through that company. Which meant cars were shipped first to US and resold from there all over the world.
Hi DKG,
I look at this in a different way.

Many of us always knew of the existence of these cars, but had never seen them. Some lucky few may have had the opportunity to see them, but photos were not accessible to me. So when you took the trouble to get them out and put on display, there were photos put up by you and we finally could see the cars. And not to forget the effort and trouble which you took to shift and house the cars properly.

Recently I was sent a forward written by William Dalrymple about the first wife of the present Nizam, Princess Esra, coming back, taking charge of what was left of the Nizams estate and doing some preservation/conservation/ restoration. She focused on settling issues like the court cases, claimants, issues with the government and stopping the looting. Then she sorted out property issues and started the restoration of palaces. See, restoration was carried out, not just conservation. There must have been 100's of paintings, so few were selected for restoration to start with. But again, they are being restored. In the palaces restoration work was done, furniture, draperies, restored and not just cleaned up. I am sure that now after such restoration the grandeur is coming out for all to see. Would just a wash and clean up sufficed? Doubtful.

Now coming to the cars. These were magnifiecient and noble cars, but now are really not in a good state of preservation. In the throne car Rolls, the headlining is hanging down. Now if India had 100's of such cars, then one could consider to let them be preserved. But we have very few running veteran cars in India. The 1903 Humbrette is sadly also not like to run again, the Rover and Cottereau in Delhi are runners, having been worked on by Julian, but you do not get to see them on the road. I believe the Indore cars are not running at all. A few have managed to get their cars running, Mallya's Darraq, some Wolseleys, Renaults etc do run. Sometimes in a rally the earliest car participating is built after 1920! Here we have extremely fine examples of pre 1920 cars which, if they were alive and not dead cars would really have much more appeal. Now they look like barn finds. And the princess did restore her palace, did she not? She restored the grandeur of the palace, why not restore the grandeur of the cars.

I am aware that there is a preservation class now even at Pebble Beach. But for that there must be some reasonable original substance of the car left to be conserved. Here, there is really not much left. Look at the wheels, should they really stay like that? At least you have agreed that the roof on one Napier could be fixed. Why limit to that? These cars can be done nicely, keeping the colour shade near to original and search for upholstery to be replicated by some textile mill. An original car wouldl show some wear on upholstery, in these cars it is destroyed, moth eaten, torn, chewed by rats. A preserved car will show some wear on the paint, here paint is often just about existent, mainly seen in patches. And the cars do not work. On the other hand, the Nizam's Rail fire engine does work, ask Tonrag if he would also like to drive a Nizam car one day. I am sure that he would. And that will keep enthusiasm alive for all, even general public. Of what help is it to preserve the tires which are now on the cars, leaking air? Many cars have no tyres, just strips of rubber as you would put on a handcart wheel. Fresh rubber will look much nicer.

I almost agree with DKG on the blue Wolseley which I just gave as an example. But remember, that car when found was not complete. The body above the cowl was cut and it was used as a temple car. I personally may have used less of brass, and surely used a different colour combination, but today the car is whole again, running and a center piece of attraction when on the road. And after seeing such a vehicle running many more collectors now have a desire to have pre 1920 cars.

We know that these restorations can be expensive, so perhaps a sympathetic restoration could be started on one car and see the result. There are also complete cars like the Packard, Buick and Ford, what about sprucing them up? To start with one could remove the radium tape.

India has many archeological sites and all cannot be restored. India has 2 major sun temples, one in Konark in Orissa and one in Modera, Gujrat. The temple in Orissa is world famous, it is complete and being maintained. The Gujrat temple is a ruin, destroyed by invaders, the government has cleaned up the area, made it a nice tourist spot preserving the remains. But where to people prefer to go? To Konark, to see the complete sun temple. Restoring the temple in Modera is not practical, too much has been damaged. But in India we do try to restore some monuments, I think in the Qutab Minar complex they are doing rebuilding, in Elephanta Islands they have rebuilt some pillars.

Lastly, S.F.Edge was an Australian business man and racing car driver,who came to Britain, was in contact with Napier, did engineering work on the cars and sold improved Napier cars from London, to customers all over the world. Courtesey Wikipedia.

My view unfortunately differs from yours, but that should not create any acrimony. In the end it is for the authorities who control the cars to decide.

Cheers harit

Last edited by harit : 2nd October 2009 at 16:09.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 11:04   #131
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Harit some very valid observations. The Princess has indeed done a stellar job of having Chowmahalla restored and opened for public viewing.

The cars can be restored to like when they were new. I have no doubt that there is talent around to execute the job to impeccable standards.

I don't know Harit, its just a vague feeling, can't quite explain it, but when I see these cars I always invariably feel it would be a horrible mistake to restore them. I can't explain why I feel so. Perhaps its irrational as I cannot explain any logic in leaving them as is. Just a gut feeling that it would be a blunder to restore them.

Perhaps I am a lone voice that sees something very precious in that exhibit. To the visitor bright shining cars would be a real treat. To me it will be one more museum exhibit that you see all around the world. Where on earth exists a family who retain cars in their 100+ year old condition and barring a few exceptions, complete mechanically and otherwise. These cars today are such a rare glimpse into what a 100 year old car looks like. Restored you will never be able to tell what a 100 year old car should look like.

Many years back I had seen all their carriages still in original weathered paintwork and upholstery. Today in the name of restoration they look awful.

I had asked the palace authorities to remove the Jeep tyre from the Fiat and reinstall the wooden wheel but they seem too busy to do it, and I am barely finding time myself to go down and do it myself.

I guess your view reflects the majority sentiment in wanting to see the cars restored. I am perhaps the only one who strongly feels they should remain untouched, except for correcting the damage to one of the Napiers (without it looking like a restoration). In fact one of the wheels of the Fiat is corroded, I'd rather they just lay it under the hub to show what can happen to wood in 100 years

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

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Old 3rd October 2009, 13:23   #132
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Hi Guys.

This is one case when I still haven't been able to convince myself that those cars should be left as is or restored.

Both points of views here have merits of their own. Keeping them as is as proposed by DKG has its own carms obviously going by what I saw when I was in Hyderabad last.

Now others from out of Hyderabad may not understand why these cars are not being restored. Its something to do with the charms of Hyderabad Royalty that one wants to leave these cars as is.

I was wondering what is the actual mechanical state of these cars. Are they all intact with respect to the mechanical components ? Any idea when any of these edwardian cars were last driven. What is the mileage on the Napiers the Wolsley and the Fiat ? Any idea who actually used these cars and when were they taken off the roads.

One very interesting point about these cars is that they might be the only examples of such old cars that have never actually been regestered for road use in Independant India.Does anyone know of any other car that didnot get regestered in India post 47 ?

What I would suggest is to start with the three cars that are in a relatively better shape, that is the Packard, the Ford and the Buick. Get them mechanically sorted and mobile. The finishes on them I am not sure are original or not but look good enough to retain.

Some history on these cars would also be interesting as to who used the Packard and the Buick and what is the mileage showing on all three.

These three cars could be cosmetically spruced up and retained as moving exhibits participating in any events that come up in the future.

Now about the Edwardians let us first do as much research into preservation / restoration options as possible before they are opened up to be worked on.

Ideally it would be great to first source the correct tyres for each, get the rims fixed and basically get them rolling again.

Then one can start on mechanical work preserving whatever is possible like the wiring etc or going with period reproductions of what is not preservable. There are many restoration houses in the world who can be contacted for advice on this and who have the capabilites to take them up. I am not certain this job could be handled in India without loosing much of the cars authenticity.

Once these cars are up and running then attention could be focussed on cosmetics. Maybe one or two of them which are in a relatively better condition could be retained as is with just general cleaning performed.

The others could be restored as faithfully to the original as possible which would involve a lot of painstaking work and maybe modern materials but in the original patterns.

All told it will be a process that could take years to get right maybe a decade or so but can you imagine the end result ? What would be created this way would be a legacy for the future generations.

This is what comes to mind when I think of these cars.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 13:24   #133
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Harit some very valid observations. The Princess has indeed done a stellar job of having Chowmahalla restored and opened for public viewing.

The cars can be restored to like when they were new. I have no doubt that there is talent around to execute the job to impeccable standards.

I don't know Harit, its just a vague feeling, can't quite explain it, but when I see these cars I always invariably feel it would be a horrible mistake to restore them. I can't explain why I feel so. Perhaps its irrational as I cannot explain any logic in leaving them as is. Just a gut feeling that it would be a blunder to restore them.

Perhaps I am a lone voice that sees something very precious in that exhibit. To the visitor bright shining cars would be a real treat. To me it will be one more museum exhibit that you see all around the world. Where on earth exists a family who retain cars in their 100+ year old condition and barring a few exceptions, complete mechanically and otherwise. These cars today are such a rare glimpse into what a 100 year old car looks like. Restored you will never be able to tell what a 100 year old car should look like.

Many years back I had seen all their carriages still in original weathered paintwork and upholstery. Today in the name of restoration they look awful.

I had asked the palace authorities to remove the Jeep tyre from the Fiat and reinstall the wooden wheel but they seem too busy to do it, and I am barely finding time myself to go down and do it myself.

I guess your view reflects the majority sentiment in wanting to see the cars restored. I am perhaps the only one who strongly feels they should remain untouched, except for correcting the damage to one of the Napiers (without it looking like a restoration). In fact one of the wheels of the Fiat is corroded, I'd rather they just lay it under the hub to show what can happen to wood in 100 years

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.
Yes, we disagree.
I wanted to add one more point about the Rolls. This is no longer original, mudguards being modified and then the car must have been repainted. I would feel that atleast that car should be done up, keeping the modified mudguards as they are now. Then the best car of this lot would be done up and all concerned can decide what should be done further.
You have mentioned about the carriages. Perhaps they will consult you about further plans, at that time you can draw this to their attention. So the restorer, whoever he is can be given guidelines. Anyway, someone will have to keep tabs on the work, approve the colours, upholstry, otherwise the car may turn out in metallic paint. One must be cautious that the car is not ripped apart for restoration, I believe that that happened to the lot of cars being restored in Jaipur.
Lets see what happens to this treasure.

Cheers harit
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Old 3rd October 2009, 19:30   #134
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Tonrag enjoyed driving the fire engine.
But how is it kept when there is no rally? I visited the Rail Museum in May 2009, the fire engine was kept locked in a shed with glass windows all around, and smouldering in the heat. Not the way to keep such a vehicle. And there were several dummies of firemen lying around on the ground, as if they had met with an accident. Just see the pics (sorry for replection, but she was encased in glass) and decide whether this Fire engine should remain there in the first place.

Cheers harit
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Old 3rd October 2009, 21:38   #135
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Yes Harit, I agree with you regarding the need to house the Fire Engine in a better way. I believe the Director of the NRM is working on a remodeling plan for the exhibits and something should be done soon. The mannequins were a disaster in the first place and should be removed.

Well, Karlos, the first thing one realises when driving the Fire engine is how high you are from the ground. The vehicle has no starter and once the magneto is switched on (there are brass switches on the dash) one hand cranks the engine to life. The gears are in a gate to the right of the driver, with no synchro on any gear. One has to double declutch for easier engagement. There is a separate lever for the reverse gear. The hand brake and footbrake both actuate a curved metal plate that bears down on the transmission. Surprisingly, I found the braking effectiveness better than my Austin seven, but that could be because the latter required serious work on its brakes. The steering is very heavy. The wheels have no camber and castor, and so they do not return to the centre line if the steering is released. This is very unsettling in the beginning, but one soon gets the hang of it and yanks the wheel back to the centre line. Once it is in top gear, one can potter along at 40 quite effortlessly. With all this, for a couple of days after each drive, I couldn't raise my arms above shoulder height and could barely lift a pencil!
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