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Old 2nd March 2019, 10:40   #1
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Default The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

At the recently concluded Cartier concours (Report & Pics: 2019 Cartier Concours d’Elegance, Jaipur), a car not shown before had made her debut - a unique pearl white 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine. Thought I'd share some of the fascinating history. I am very grateful to Capt. A Katkar and Col. D Katkar for sharing these priceless details.

The car was ordered new by Princess Indumati Ranishaeb of Kolhapur. She was unfortunately widowed at a very young age as a minor, but her varied interests included literature, art, music, dogs, gardening and automobiles. She was also a skillfull shooter, rider and driver. She continued Chhatrapati Shahu’s work on social reform and successfully led the fight to end the archaic tradition of “women’s purdah”. The schools and colleges for women which she established in Kolhapur, stand to this day carrying on the good work she began with the same zeal.

A potrait of the Princess
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Her crest, showing a sinking ship with the motto 'Such is life' - rather unfortunate!
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Princess Indumati was a true motorist and learnt to drive at a very early age. Amongst the many cars she used are Willys Overland, Hupmobile, Chandler, Sizaire Berwick, Lanchester, Chevrolet, Ford, Humber, Rolls-Royce and her favourite Daimler. She made many motoring trips the longest being to Dehra Dun. But the most adventurous was the epic trip in the 1920s from Kolhapur all the way to Ooty, through the forests of Mysore, in a Hupmobile tourer.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-03-princess-indumati-her-hupmobile-tourer-1920-ooty-trip.jpg

A rather unique Lanchester was due to be replaced, and the Princess was evaluating many brands.
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An original rendering survives of a Delage which was under consideration.
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The Rajpipla Rolls-Royce Phantom II 181RY also spent some time in the palace.
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But eventually after much deliberation, a Daimler was chosen. The car is seen in the back of this photo

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Last edited by karlosdeville : 2nd March 2019 at 14:15.
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Old 2nd March 2019, 13:47   #2
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Default re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

Chassis 45605 was delivered by special order to Her Highness Princess Indumati Ranisaheb of Kolhapur. Coachwork was constructed by Daimler inhouse, a graceful 7-seater Light Limousine design. The car was bespoke in most details. After rejecting the standard issue paint scheme options (there was one year of correspondence), a customised sample of two versions of pearl white were sent for the Princess’s approval, of which she finalised on one. The interior chosen was green leather and carpeting, finished with matching green baize. This was complemented by oak veneer to the dashboard and window frames. A rejected sample of the some of the upholstery options still survives in Kolhapur.
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A cabin partition was installed, with a sliding glass fitted. The rear compartment featured a comfortable 3 passenger rear seat, as well as a pair of folding occasional seats. The main seat itself was uniquely built to be adjustable for incline. A small ‘summer roof’ was installed at the rear, measuring about 1ft by 1 ˝ ft. Communication with the chauffer was via a 12V intercom system. All glass was black tinted purdah – as was the norm for most royal cars meant for ferrying ladies at the time. The wheels and drums, steering wheel and even the engine block and chassis were finished in the same pearl white enamel. The car was fitted with Luvax automatic lubrication system as well as all-round independent jacking system for each wheel. Standard specification was the fluid flywheel driven pre-selector transmission. Comprehensive instrumentation adorned the dashboard.

A treasure trove of professional period images of the car luckily exist - what a dream to have!

The car made headlines before being dispatched to India, and was covered in 'The Bystander' and other publications - I am told Autocar as well.
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Another publicity photo.
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My favourite image - delivery of the car in Bombay along Marine Drive. Note white highlights including the steering wheel, bumper brackets, and rear window frames. And don't miss the massive CHEVROLET sign in the back, atop the Bombay Garage building.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-13-daimler-out-showroom-mumbai.jpg

From left to right are probably Narumama Jamdar, D P Katkar, Kothare from the dealership (I assume the Bombay Motor Car Co) and Suryavanshi, the Princess's accountant.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-14-daimler-dp-katkar-party-after-taking-dekivery-car-mumbai.jpg

Daimler with DP Katkar (Secretary to Princess) at the Indumati Hall grounds
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-15-daimler-dp-katkar-secretary-princess-indumati-indumati-hall-grounds.jpg

Father and son Mr DP Katkar and son Col JD Katkar
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Princess with her Daimler outside Indumati Hall.
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Three of her cars at the garages, including a Chevy for regular use.
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The brand new Daimler shot in Shalini Studio, Kolhapur by Baburao Painter
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-19-brand-new-daimler-shot-shalini-studio-kolhapur-baburao-painter.jpg

A rare colour photo taken in the late 1960s, where the plate Kolhapur 53 is faintly visible.
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The car was the official State car for the Princess from 1937 till 1971 when she passed away. The car had run 112,000 kms at the time.

Last edited by karlosdeville : 2nd March 2019 at 14:49.
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Old 2nd March 2019, 14:36   #3
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Default re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

Upon her demise the car was sold to Sardar Patankar of Karad, who was close to the family. He was a supplier of gears for Pittie Tractors, a factory started by Shrikant Pittie in Pune. One day Mr. Patankar just drove the Damiler to the Pittie's factory and asked if he'd like to buy it, and that is how the car came to its third owner, the Pittie family in 1973.

When the car first came home in 1973, the owner typed out a very detailed assessment and description of his new purchase to be filed. Obviously there was a deep knowledge and technical understanding of the car.
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The car was later repainted in a striking dual grey colour scheme and used on special occasions like family birthdays and Dussera.
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In the meanwhile in June of 1996, this lovely article was published on the car by Auto India, which had been kindly posted earlier on TBHP.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-auto-india-01.jpg
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The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-auto-india-04.jpg

At some point as maintenance got more and more troublesome in the 1980s, the car was laid up.

Last edited by karlosdeville : 2nd March 2019 at 14:53.
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Old 2nd March 2019, 14:53   #4
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Default re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

As the car sat for 30 years, there was always a thought and desire to get her back to show quality. A decision was taken sometime in 2017, and the car was dispatched to Bombay to Nicki Garage, run by Kaizad and Nekzad Engineer for a grounds up restoration.

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While the car was thankfully by-and-large complete, everything was as expected completely derelict and worn out. There was only one option – to go for an all-out frame off restoration.

Last edited by moralfibre : 3rd March 2019 at 14:18. Reason: As requested.
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Old 2nd March 2019, 15:34   #5
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Default re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

The strip down started, with the body being first worked upon on the chassis itself.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-14.jpg
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Once reinforced, the body and chassis were seperated, to be worked out in parallel.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-16.jpg
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The doors and some more panels were aluminium, making it harder to work on.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-18.jpg

All the wood was replaced.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-19.jpg

The completed body the primered and painted
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At the same time work was on on the massive chassis.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-22.jpg

The frame was stripped completely bare
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-23.jpg

Completed mechanicals were then fitted back to the refurbished frame, with a very high degree of detailing.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-24.jpg
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NOS (New Old Stock) parts were sourced where possible.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-dwmf4254.jpg

The mating of the body and chassis
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-26.jpg

Attention now moved to the interiors - some traces of the original material were found.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-27.jpg

The ornamental woodwork was also renewed.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-28.jpg

The white engine block looks terrific - but what a nightmare it will be to keep clean! For this reason it was decided to paint the frame black.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-29.jpg

The car was getting close to completion with almost no time to spare for Cartier.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-30.jpg

Last edited by aah78 : 6th March 2019 at 18:22. Reason: NOS
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Old 2nd March 2019, 16:22   #6
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Default re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

The completed car was finally presented at the Cartier concours last weekend, and really looked superb. What a transformation, and in well under 2 years.

The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-01.jpg
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The original pilot light was restored.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-06.jpg

The original steering wheel had been replaced by a black one many years back after the car had met with an accident. Now reverted to the original.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-07.jpg

The spacious rear passenger compartment with reclining rear seat and fold out occasional seats.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-08.jpg

The green interiors beautifully complement the pearl white.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-09.jpg

The summer roof is probably quite effective in spite of its small size.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-10.jpg

The sliding glass partition was missing, and was faithfully replaced.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-11.jpg

The unique white engine block.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-12.jpg

A lot of effort obviously went into this job.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-13.jpg

The proud owners with their completed car.
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Our own KPS with Kaizad, responsible for the restoration. Unfortunately Nekzad is missing in the picture.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-16.jpg

The car naturally generated a lot of interest from the judges.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-17.jpg
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Icing on the cake, a special award for the Daimler.
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-hh-princess-diya-kumari-jaipur-presents-special-award-1937-daimler-24el.jpg

Last edited by karlosdeville : 2nd March 2019 at 17:01.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 08:23   #7
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Default re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Vintage and Classic Car Section! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 08:26   #8
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Default re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

What a great account of an absolutely fabulous car! Is this the same car that shrivz had first informed you about? Looks like the family doesn't believe in selling any of their cars, I can see a Sierra and a Cielo in fairly good nick around the Daimler.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 11:14   #9
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Default re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

Another awesome restoration by Engineer brothers and fantastic thread by Karl, lovely that so many pictures and details are available, specially the Daimler sample and the details typed by Mr. Pittie.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 13:45   #10
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Default re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

^^^^
Thank you for the beautiful photos both new and old and for the most interesting narration of the car's history and its first owner. A big thank you to all for this restoration for the benefit of car lovers all over. In case you post more photos we won't complain :-)
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Old 3rd March 2019, 14:24   #11
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Default re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

Thank you Karl for recreating the wonderful history of the car. This car is a really beauty and wonderful to see it back in its prime.

Nikki Garage has done a wonderful job. The quality of work in this restoration is simply outstanding. For example see the engine bay, shows the quality of restoration

The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-8.jpeg

The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-9.jpeg

It was a real pleasure to see the car in person and to have Kaizad show and explain the work done on the car, is something I consider very fortunate and blessed.


Princess Indumati seems to have been a very strong person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
The car was ordered new by Princess Indumati Ranishaeb of Kolhapur. She was unfortunately widowed at a very young age as a minor, but her varied interests included literature, art, music, dogs, gardening and automobiles. She was also a skillfull shooter, rider and driver. She continued Chhatrapati Shahu’s work on social reform and successfully led the fight to end the archaic tradition of “women’s purdah”. The schools and colleges for women which she established in Kolhapur, stand to this day carrying on the good work she began with the same zeal.

Princess Indumati was a true motorist and learnt to drive at a very early age. Amongst the many cars she used are Willys Overland, Hupmobile, Chandler, Sizaire Berwick, Lanchester, Chevrolet, Ford, Humber, Rolls-Royce and her favourite Daimler. She made many motoring trips the longest being to Dehra Dun. But the most adventurous was the epic trip in the 1920s from Kolhapur all the way to Ooty, through the forests of Mysore, in a Hupmobile tourer.

When Karl showed and explained to me her "Court of Arms", you respect her even more. She got married in 1917 and was widowed in 1918. At a tender age of 12 years, life must have been very traumatic.

The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-13.jpeg

A sinking ship with "SUCH IS LIFE" sums her trauma, but what she did subsequently seems to speak volumes of her character.


The Pittie family are indeed very lucky to have got his car and also the records and period pictures of the car, makes the ownership even more enjoyable.

Cannot thank Karl and Kaizad for taking time and detailing this wonderful car and its history.

I was also fortunate to meet the owner and have a photograph too!
The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur-15.jpeg

Cheers

KPS

Last edited by KPS : 3rd March 2019 at 14:42.
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Old 4th March 2019, 13:24   #12
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Default Re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

Appreciate and thanks Karl, for bringing to us, wonderful and interesting history of this Daimler Car and superb restoration and details pictures. Big thanks for all the team.
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Old 6th March 2019, 10:36   #13
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Default Re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

Fantastic write up with some great pictures.
The restoration pictures really detail the amount of work that has gone into this.
Thanks Karl for putting up such a detailed article with period pictures and as others have pointed out the crest summarizes the life very beautifully.
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Old 6th March 2019, 16:03   #14
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Default Re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

Beautiful account of a highly interesting history of a bespoke classic. In an age when women were mostly subjugated, the Maharani dared to be different & follow her passion (of course she had the royal backing, but that is another story). To think that the car has seen 3-4 generations is just fascinating to comprehend. Classics like this have an haunting & intangible aura about them that shall never die.
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Old 6th March 2019, 16:23   #15
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Default Re: The 1937 Daimler EL24 Limousine of Kolhapur

That engine looks so very clean, it is unbelievable. As clean and shiny as the turbines of an aero engine
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