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Old 9th February 2011, 00:38   #1
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Default Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

Hello everyone,




This is a book that has been just launched and is available for sale in the U.K. An uncle of mine happened to just tell me about it so thought i would share it with everyone.I am sure many of our members know about it but i started this thread for the remaining people who don't know about this book.


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Synopsis

During the first half of the 20th century the choicest cars with the most unusual coachwork made their way to India to satisfy the varied tastes and demands of the rajas and the maharajas. Of the several thousand such cars that came to India, just a few hundred survive today. This book focuses on 70 of these and the people associated with them.
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An authoritative and visually impressive study of a glamorous and historically fascinating subject, looking at the automobiles adopted by the wealthy inhabitants of Calcutta. Includes many photographs of the finest cars ever made.


Here are some shots from the book-

One of the earliest cars to arrive in India, a Gobron-Brillie from 1903 owned by Lord Wolverton.


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The Maharaja Sir Manmathanath Roy Choudhary of Santosh, next to his Chenard et Walcker.


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A 1931 Lancia Dilambda, with Viotti coachwork, which used to belong to the Raja of Jetpur.


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The Duesenberg SJN specially made for Yashwantrao Holkar, the Maharaja of Indore.


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Maharani Stella de Kapurthala poses with her 1937 Talbot-Lago.


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Maharana Arvin Singh Mewar and his MG TC from 1947.


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High-end American cars were as prized as European models among the rajas, as shown by this 1947 Buick Super from the Maharana of Mewar's collection.



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The Maharaja of Jodhpur, Gaj Singh II, and his son with the Rolls-Royce Phantom II from 1934 and a Buick convertible, in front of the Umaid Bhavan Palace.


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Maharaj Shivrajisnhji with his 1945 Mercedes Benz 500 K.


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The craftsmen of JW Brooke and Company who worked on the Swan Car, commissioned by Calcutta eccentric Robert Nicholl 'Scotty' Matthewson in 1910. He was said to have been very fond of swans.


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The Brooke Swan car was subsequently acquired by the Maharaja of Nabha, before being sold to the Louwman Museum in the Hague.


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A 1939 Delaye 135 with coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi, judged India's most beautiful car at the Cartiers councours d'elegance in 2008.


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The Delaye 135 seen from the front.


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The SS100 Jaguar, used as a racing car in the 1950s is these days owned by "new royalty", Bollywood star Jackie Shroff, pictured here with his wife, Ayesha.


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Last edited by IndrojitSircar : 9th February 2011 at 00:39.
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Old 9th February 2011, 04:19   #2
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

JUST booked my copy! This should make a lovely read.
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Old 9th February 2011, 06:58   #3
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

Wow! The Duesenburg is truly surreal. Amazing. The Mercedes looks very well preserved and in original condition. Is it still in India?

Regards
Prithvi
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Old 9th February 2011, 10:37   #4
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

Please post teh ISBN Number so we can also order the book.

The Duesenberg is in the Genral Lyons Collection in California and the Kapurthala Talbot Lago is in the Nethercutt collection. It was recently restored and won class awards in the 2009 Pebble Beach.

I too would love to know what happened to that 500K...maybe its with the Gondols now ?

Are there pics of any other interesting cars we have not seen on this forum ?
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Old 9th February 2011, 10:54   #5
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

This is a very nice coffee table book, originally published in French a few months ago. Indro has put up some teasers. The 500K is still in India, with the Maharaj's family, not the Maharaja.
The Swan car was smuggled out, no real attempt was made to stop auction and get her back. Only noise at the time of auction which did unnerve some potential bidders.
Maharaja of Santosh has his decendants very active in the Kolkatta motor racing scene, the "Kumar" brothers. It took me quite a while to figure out the name of this car, finally got it from the hubcap.
Note that the Duesenberg has only one colour shade.
There are many new and exiting old b + w photos in this book, the author had some priviliged access to these.
There are a few errors, like on a Lagonda.......
Overall a nice book, should be available here soon as I managed to get hold of promotional material from a bookshop for my memorabilia collection.

Cheers harit
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Old 9th February 2011, 11:03   #6
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

LOl...the author is Gautam Sen ????? and the book was released in French originally ????
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Old 9th February 2011, 11:08   #7
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

Wasif if you google it, 100's of website will come featuring the book.

Intrestingly I stumble upon the website of Gautam Sen, where lister are 3 of jis book published, plus his articles and hsi design work .

books
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Old 9th February 2011, 11:40   #8
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasif View Post
Please post teh ISBN Number so we can also order the book. ?
http://www.amazon.com/Maharajas-Thei.../dp/0857330632
http://www.flipkart.com/maharajas-th...ook-0857330632


Quote:
Originally Posted by wasif View Post
LOl...the author is Gautam Sen ????? and the book was released in French originally ????
@wasif why the LOL?


Quote:
Originally Posted by manishalive View Post
Wasif if you google it, 100's of website will come featuring the book.
@manish yep most of the above photos are from
Latest news, comment and reviews from the Guardian | guardian.co.uk
there are 14 on that site

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Old 9th February 2011, 12:03   #9
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

Its funny to learn that an Indian author writing a book and then publishing it originally in French !

Look at it this way and you will see the LOL reason.

Wouldn't an English first edition make sense as majority of the interested readers / buyers will be english speaking

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Old 9th February 2011, 12:16   #10
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasif View Post
Its funn to learn that an Indian author writing a book and then publishing it originally in French !

Look at it thsi way and you willsee teh LOL reason.

Wouldn't an English first edition make sense as majority of the interested readers / buyers will be english speaking
Well never underestimate an Indian book wise or otherwise. Any way most folk of Gautams age would have learnt French as a language in High school & Junior college in Mumbai and some other parts of India. Don't know about Gautam's skills of the language or the french in the book he has authored. Maybe he majored in it who knows. I shall query him when we get in touch.

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Old 9th February 2011, 12:18   #11
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

I am not understimating here just curious to learn the rationale behind the French first release
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Old 9th February 2011, 12:28   #12
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

This goes up on my 2011 flipkart shopping list ! Looks like it will be a good read.
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Old 9th February 2011, 12:49   #13
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Default re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by harit View Post
Maharaja of Santosh has his decendants very active in the Kolkatta motor racing scene, the "Kumar" brothers.
Harit, I don't think the Kumar bros are descendants of the Maharaja of Santosh.

Quote:
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I am not understimating here just curious to learn the rationale behind the French first release
Wasif, Gautam Sen moved to France many years ago, and lives there (although he spends part of the month in India for his professional engagements). And he has various other connections with France and French. Hope that helps you understand.
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Old 9th February 2011, 17:40   #14
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Default Re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasif View Post
Its funny to learn that an Indian author writing a book and then publishing it originally in French !

Look at it this way and you will see the LOL reason.
Well, turns out that his wife is French, so the man would've had some obligations of his own....if we were in his shoes, we may or may not have the LOL factor!

Jokes apart, I was keen to read this book at one point. But no way could afford it for now.
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Old 9th February 2011, 20:36   #15
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Default Re: Book Review : The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasif View Post
Please post teh ISBN Number so we can also order the book.

Book: The Maharajas & Their Magnificent Motor Cars. Gautam Sen
Author: Gautam Sen, Sen Gautam
ISBN: 0857330632


ISBN-13: 9780857330635, 978-0857330635



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