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Old 26th March 2017, 13:20   #1
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Default The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday afternoon. I have the riveting fourth test in the background while I lazily browse through my car forums. I figured no better time to attempt a brief write up on our 1954? Chrysler Windsor Deluxe. The car is special as it was imported into India for Queen Elizabeth's visit to India. The first photo (courtesy Team BHP) shows the Queen in the car during her visit. Aside from old timers verifying this significance, I also distinctly remember climbing up the car's flag post to get onto the bonnet as a child. Our car also has the courtesy bars on the back of the front seats to support someone standing in the back. My grandfather bought the car post her visit and then my Mum maintained it until I was old enough to make sense of things. The car has been in our family for nearly forty years.

The car was originally lime green and ran a three speed automatic transmission on the inline six transmission. At some point, the car was converted to the three speed column manual. The auto gear selector is still present on the steering column. Unfortunately, I don't currently have photos of the car in its original colour. I will scour through our albums to find them.

The car was in running condition through the mid nineties and then the rot set in. As we moved, we parked the car in the back of one of our old properties and there it sat for six or seven years. The elements took their toll, but luckily someone had the presence of mind to remove and store the chrome, lights, and the external bits to prevent theft and weather damage.

I came into the picture during my summer vacation in 2002. With two months to kill, I was looking for a quick restoration project. I came across the Chrysler in the shed. I distinctly remember opening the hood to find a dead bat on the engine block. Highly symbolic. Though dire, I had will and urgency. This damn car had to be restored and running before the end of my break!

As a first step, I identified the old, alcoholic mechanic who used to maintain the car. The man was more than happy to take on the project to fund his booze habit for the rest of the summer. As we surveyed the work, we realised that the mechanicals were fairly sound save for the water pump and the brake master cylinder. We had to fabricate a water pump, but managed to salvage the original master cylinder. The cosmetics would take the most time and effort.

At this point, I would like to apologise to my fellow vintage car enthusiasts as I committed absolute sacrilege to the exterior of the Chrysler. Being young, foolish, and highly exposed to American hot rod culture, I commissioned an absolutely nasty paint job on the car. I hired an artist to paint the car jet black with yellow flames emerging from the hood and fading to orange on the sides. The flames were outlined in red. I cringe as I type this.

The car was done with about two weeks to spare and I spent those weeks driving around town and embarrassing myself with the paint job. However, every tragic story does have a silver lining, and in this case, the car was running again. However, as I graduated high school and spent the next ten years studying and working in the USA, the second, albeit less severe period of neglect set in.

During my time away, my younger brother met a friend in high school. His friend's grandfather was a vintage car enthusiast and also happened to run a small outfit restoring others' cars. Ashamed at our Chrysler's cosmetic travesty, he connect our Mum to his friend's grandfather. Our first connect with Mr. Zaheer in Pune.

Mr. Zaheer agreed to take on the Chrysler project along with our 1930? Austin 7. We were in no rush. Both cars were restored over the next three years and both were delivered to us about two years ago.

I recently returned to India. With the American hotrod culture long out of my system, I was entrusted with our cars' care once again. I believe I've been responsible thus far. We have a specialist mechanic who maintains a drive log to ensure both cars are driven in our absence and I personally make it a point to take each car out once a week for a nostalgic drive.

The Windsor is very special. It boasts a working, semi motorised roof, which leaves me in awe of the technology during the time period. The car is in reasonably good shape with only the concerns of ageing rubber parts and rear suspension components. At some point, I would like to source the original three speed automatic transmission.

I will update this thread with a few recent photos and videos.

I appreciate your time in reading this story.
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Old 27th March 2017, 07:51   #2
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Default re: The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

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Originally Posted by ajvee44 View Post
I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday afternoon. I have the riveting fourth test in the background while I lazily browse through my car forums. I figured no better time to attempt a brief write up on our 1954? Chrysler Windsor Deluxe......

I appreciate your time in reading this story.
Thank you for sharing ajvee44, your story on this very collectible car. Nice to note the happy ending and that the car is in regular use. Look forward to see more detailed pictures.

There are few pictures in the nostalgia thread on a similar car, unfortunately the number plate is not clear. Since the other known car is was also from Tamilnadu, bearing Registration MSY 6154 (now in Mumbai), it is very easy to confuse the two.

Post of Srinand (Nostalgic automotive pictures including our family's cars)

Post of Moralfibre (Nostalgic automotive pictures including our family's cars)

Post of Travancore (Nostalgic automotive pictures including our family's cars)

Kasli, who is an old student of Lawrence school writes some history on probably MSY 6154.

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Originally Posted by kasli View Post
Well they are the same car and also as a person who has checked with the school that the car used to be sent across from Madras to the collector of Ooty for official purposes and still happens for heads of state etc for the Lawrence school Lovedale as its one of the few Government with a Boarding school in the country which is left .For some years I remember it was a Contessa. The school has agreed to provide date and also details in a few weeks as they are records for the year 1958 to 1960. This car was auctioned off and sold to someone in coimbatore to Kotayam and landed in some place either in Cochin or some other place in Kerala before it found route to Mumbai. The colour combo was off white ( ivory) with Maroon leatherette and Black top with 4 bumper gaurds. and a light. The school historian remembers and has a side snap and promised to scan that across. He is retired and in Gudalur.
Cheers
The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe-chrysler01.jpg

At least it is now clear that your car was used during the Queen's visit and the other pictures are probably of MSY 6154.

Cheers

KPS
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Old 27th March 2017, 18:51   #3
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Default Re: The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

This Chrysler Windsor convertible is likely to be a 1953 model. Beautiful car and rather rare in India.
I am not so sure whether this car was imported for a state visit to India. Based on some research and general knowledge available, I would dare say that this car was imported for use by a Governor of some state, likely to have been Madras State and used for a state visit. Queen Elisabeth II visited India in 1961, I could not find any reference of her having visited India in the 1950ís. The government did import cars for the President, Governors and some public sector firms like Air India, BHEL etc., but I don't recall an import for any state visit. The Lincoln's for the Popeís visit were not government imports.
In 1961 when the Queen was in Mumbai, she was driven around in the Governors convertible Buick of 1954, an older existing government car and no car was specially imported for the visit. Similarly this Chrysler could have been used when she visited Mysore and southern parts of India.
I have two photos of Jawaharlal Nehru in a similar car and probably in south India. And all these VIPís travelled in the car with the top open, and sat on the car with their feet on the rear seats.
The two cars known today both bear number plates from the south. However, I do have a photo of this same model car with a Bihar number and seen in probably an industrial area connected to the Tataís.
I am guessing that the two known cars are both governor cars, one from Mysore and the other from Madras. And maybe the government had imported some more for use by some other states as well. And I have a feeling that Premier Automobiles was involved maybe with the purchase, or at least with the maintenance.
The car with the painted flames looked very cool indeed, it was certainly no foolishness.
Whenever I find my pics I refer to I will put them up on this thread.

Cheers harit
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Old 28th March 2017, 14:36   #4
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Default Re: The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

I tried to spot this car in the video's from 1961, but could'nt spot it, maybe I missed.
posted the videos's here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/post-w...ml#post4171729 (Cars of Rashtrapathi Bhavan - wheels for a nascent Nation / Republic)
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Old 28th March 2017, 14:44   #5
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Default Re: The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

Can't believe this beauty is in CBE! Would love to see this in person!

PS: Are there any vintage car rallies/events in cbe?
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Old 28th March 2017, 16:21   #6
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Default Re: The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

KPS - I appreciate the highly informative discourse on the existing Windsors in India.

Harit - Highly informative! I am hoping I can rifle through a few old albums to verify the car's history and use.

Karthikeya - I spied a few similar looking cars at 1.08 in the third video. However, I've only recalled stories of our car being used in Madras, while the third video is shot in Calcutta

sai_ace - No rallies or meets that I know of, but we have a great collection of cars here. One of my friends has a fleet of 50! You are welcome to see and drive ours when you are here next.
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Old 30th March 2017, 14:33   #7
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Default Re: The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

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Originally Posted by ajvee44 View Post
KPS -
Harit - Highly informative! I am hoping I can rifle through a few old albums to verify the car's history and use.
Hi ajvee44,

I found one pic of a Governors car, probably when she was very new. The Ashok Lions were used on Presidential and Governor's cars.
Now please do some research, is this one of the Governors of Mysore or Madras in about 1953 onward?
And do look for older pics of your car for comparison.
After you have done your research, I would give you a copy of this pic scanned and without the watermark.
Over to you.

Cheers harit
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Old 30th March 2017, 14:45   #8
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Default Re: The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

Quote:
Originally Posted by harit View Post
Hi ajvee44,

I found one pic of a Governors car, probably when she was very new. The Ashok Lions were used on Presidential and Governor's cars.
Now please do some research, is this one of the Governors of Mysore or Madras in about 1953 onward?
And do look for older pics of your car for comparison.
After you have done your research, I would give you a copy of this pic scanned and without the watermark.
Over to you.

Cheers harit
The man in the picture looks like Sri Prakasa. He was a freedom fighter and later governor of Madras(1952-1956).
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Old 30th March 2017, 14:50   #9
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Default Re: The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

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Hi ajvee44,

I found one pic of a Governors car, probably when she was very new. The Ashok Lions were used on Presidential and Governor's cars.
Cheers harit
I would like to take a punt that Harit's picture is ajeev44's car, MSS 9999

MSS is Chennai (E) RTO, hence that car was initially registered in Chennai is clearly established. There have been instances where the number 9999 has been reserved for the State Car. Karl's Landmaster, is a case in point.

Based on the above we may speculate Harit's pictures is MSS 9999

Cheers

KPS
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Old 13th April 2017, 16:21   #10
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Default Re: The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

My apologies for the radio silence. I am still working on establishing the Chrysler's provenance to the specific images posted. I am meeting with a few old timers this week to get some clarity.
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Old 13th April 2017, 18:34   #11
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Default Re: The story of our Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

I have more information.

The car was purchased by the Tamil Nadu governor for official use. A few interesting facts:

1. The car was used by Nikita Kruschev during his visit to India in 1955. Given that the Windsor Deluxe was produced from 1953 to 1954, I would venture a guess that our car was imported into India during one of these years. I wonder if there is a way for me to verify the production date?
2. The car was used by Elizabeth during her visit to Chennai in the 60s.
3. Tamil Nadu put up the car for auction after the automatic transmission failed. Our family bought the car from the auction, and by some miracle, actually found a three speed manual for the car in Madras.

Harit - I am certain now that the car was owned by the governor of Madras prior to being auctioned.
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