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Old 11th June 2024, 09:42   #1
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Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

The fascinating world of automobiles is overflowing with incredible people stories. Human passion and the sheer joy of automotive indulgence has meant that almost every town on the planet has amazing stories to tell.

This is the story of the life and times of a 1939 Packard Eight whose journey as a brand new car started in Hyderabad.

Sometime in 1939 the government of the Nizam of Hyderabad placed an order for three Packards to Dadajee Dhackjee of Bombay, importers and sales distributors for Packards in India.

One was a 1939 Packard Eight Convertible Sedan in blue for the Nizam's brother Basalat Jah, then a 1939 Packard Eight Touring Sedan in maroon for the Agent of Berar, Ehrach Yar Jung, and a 1939 Packard Eight Touring Sedan in ivory for the then Commissioner of Police Rehmat Yar Jung.

APX 110 is the Commissioner of Police car.

In those early years the Commissioner of Police or Kotwal of Hyderabad as he was referred to was an extremely powerful position in government and after the Prime Minister he enjoyed a privileged position. In the eyes of the public APX 110 as the Commissioner's car made a deep impression. Seen in regular duty all over town my father Chandrakant Gir grew up as a boy admiring this car.

APX 110 served under 2 commisioners. First Rehmat Yar Jung and then Deen Yar Jung. Post independence Deen Yar Jung acquired the car from the police department and it remained as a family car until 1967. Sometime during its years serving as a police official's car APX 110 was painted blue. Originally in ivory the car had green leather upholstery.

Sometime in early 60's my father approached Deen Yar Jung's family after he had passed on asking if they would let him acquire APX 110. The family said they had a great deal of sentimental attachment to the car as it was their father's car and hence declined.

A few years passed and unable to get the car out of his mind Papa approached the family again. The last time he had seen the car it was in mint condition with flawless leather upholstery. This time when he saw the car it had been jacked up on boulders and the rats had gotten to the leather. My father requested once again saying if they didn't let him have APX 110 most likely given its neglect it will end up with the breakers. The siblings consented.

I remember the day in 1967, I still remember standing on the steps of our cottage on Road No 12 Banjara HIlls when we heard the fabulous horn of the Packard and Papa drove his new treasure up our driveway and parked right in front of us.

I was 4 years old and remember the moment crystal clear.

When the family consented they probably believed the car was dead and a gone case. Papa knew different. After the transaction was complete he called his mechanic friend Jehangir Ali and in no time Jehangir Uncle got the car off the boulders, put in a battery and fuel and started APX 110. The clutch was slipping a bit, but they brought her to the garage, and by early afternoon she was sorted for Papa to drive it home.

Countless cars in India in great mechanical condition ended up being neglected by families and many ended up with breakers. Destiny had other plans for APX 110.

APX 110 completes 57 years at home with us. As our family car she has been a part of so many journeys and moments, making her an integral member of the family.

For me APX 110 is my bond with my father. A man I loved dearly. Someone who taught me so much about cars, and through example, showed me how to love and care for a great automobile as APX 110. I learnt how to drive on the Packard and well before I could reach the pedals myself, Papa allowed me to steer and change gears sitting on his lap.

This is a story of a car, its turf being the fabulous home city of Hyderabad, interesting tales and loads of pictures over time.

APX 110 lives to not only tell a million tales but her tryst with Hyderabad is as alive as it ever was.

Thanks to the world of handy cameras I will share perspectives and pictures as APX 110, my daughter and I revisit Hyderabad's iconic places.

The legacy lives....
Attached Thumbnails
Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-p1.jpg  

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-p2.jpg  


Last edited by DKG : 11th June 2024 at 09:50. Reason: spelling/punctuation
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Old 11th June 2024, 16:37   #2
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Re: Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

What a beaut the ivory shade and the chrome and the lines are all so mesmerising definitely looks like a powerful man’s steed. More pictures would be awesome
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Old 12th June 2024, 11:56   #3
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Re: Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKG View Post
APX 110 completes 57 years at home with us. As our family car she has been a part of so many journeys and moments, making her an integral member of the family.

For me APX 110 is my bond with my father. A man I loved dearly. Someone who taught me so much about cars, and through example, showed me how to love and care for a great automobile as APX 110. I learnt how to drive on the Packard and well before I could reach the pedals myself, Papa allowed me to steer and change gears sitting on his lap.

This is a story of a car, its turf being the fabulous home city of Hyderabad, interesting tales and loads of pictures over time.

APX 110 lives to not only tell a million tales but her tryst with Hyderabad is as alive as it ever was.

Thanks to the world of handy cameras I will share perspectives and pictures as APX 110, my daughter and I revisit Hyderabad's iconic places.

The legacy lives....
Dear DKG,

Wonderful to have you post on TBHP after much time. Having known you and your legacy, it is indeed so wonderful to see this thread.

Will look forward to seeing more of APX 110, as you start enjoying the car with you daughter. I am sure every time you drive this car, your father is watching and appreciating from the rear seat!

Your love and knowledge for Packards is something we all treasure.

Cheers

KPS
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Old 12th June 2024, 14:59   #4
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Re: Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

As a Hyderabadi, I hope that I get to catch this gracious old lady on the streets soon. But what caught my eyes as a Hyderabadi born 34 years after this event - I have never heard the words "Road No 12 Banjara Hills" and "cottage" in the same sentence before

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKG View Post
.
I remember the day in 1967, I still remember standing on the steps of our cottage on Road No 12 Banjara HIlls

Last edited by KarthikK : 12th June 2024 at 15:08.
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Old 12th June 2024, 20:57   #5
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Re: Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
What a beaut the ivory shade and the chrome and the lines are all so mesmerising definitely looks like a powerful man’s steed. More pictures would be awesome
One of dad's dear friend always proclaimed that the moment he'd sit behind the wheel of a Packard he felt a dose of pride manifest.

Packards do have that effect. They are very majestic and mind you this is the junior series and yet so impressive. The senior Packards were extraordinarily special.

Will be sharing loads of pictures
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Old 12th June 2024, 21:05   #6
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Re: Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

Quote:
Originally Posted by KPS View Post
Dear DKG,

Wonderful to have you post on TBHP after much time. Having known you and your legacy, it is indeed so wonderful to see this thread.

Will look forward to seeing more of APX 110, as you start enjoying the car with you daughter. I am sure every time you drive this car, your father is watching and appreciating from the rear seat!

Your love and knowledge for Packards is something we all treasure.

Cheers

KPS
Thank you KPS. I actually had run out of things to share and sadly owners of cars I restored weren't open to the idea of showcasing the fab restorations carried out.

APX 110 is a family member given the incredible memories associated with family time. We travelled extensively in her in the 70s and she's a delight on highways.

It's Papa's birthday tomorrow. Had he lived longer he'd be 95. Mum turns 95 in August and she drove APX 110 in her heydays.

I will be starting Celebrating Hyderabad drives from July as part of the Cars 'n' Coffee initiatives we are taking so APX 110 will actively pay tribute to the lovely city of Hyderabad and will share pictures as we revisit iconic sites.

Hopefully someday will drive down to Bangalore to meet up with you guys.
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Old 12th June 2024, 21:10   #7
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Re: Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

Quote:
Originally Posted by koyomi_araragi View Post
As a Hyderabadi, I hope that I get to catch this gracious old lady on the streets soon. But what caught my eyes as a Hyderabadi born 34 years after this event - I have never heard the words "Road No 12 Banjara Hills" and "cottage" in the same sentence before
We had the most charming cottage with a mangalore tiles roof on teakwood frame. It was built using the natural basalt and granite that was available in Banjara. In my childhood the paved road ended at what's the Kamaan today.

You will see APX 110 often as I intend starting Celebrating Hyderabad drives July on
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Old 12th June 2024, 22:44   #8
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Re: Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

To unfold the rich life of APX 110 and the people and memories associated over its use one has to travel back in time.

My father Chandrakant Gir was born 13th June 1929 in an affluent aristocratic family of Hyderabad. As bankers to the erstwhile state of Hyderabad the Girs were not only active in driving commerce but were examples of liberal minded people who were as comfortable carrying forth their legacy started by Shankaracharya as they were blended in with the ruling Qutub Shahi and Asaf Jahi dynasties. Our association with Hyderabad goes back 14 generations.

Despite the fabulous cars at home there were three cars in Hyderabad in the 30's that left a deep impression on a young Chandrakant Gir. All three were Packards.

One was a fabulous 1936 Packard Super Eight Convertible Sedan by Dietrich owned by Raja Dhanrajgir. The second was a 1934 Packard Eight Touring Phaeton (7 seater) owned by Dhanrajgirji's elder brother Raja Pratapgirji. The third car was a gorgeous 1938 Packard Super Eight Convertible Sedan owned by Nawab Dawood Jung

While each of these three cars are drop dead gorgeous in their own right what made them stand out more were the owners who were towering personalities in Hyderabad.

As a child my father Chandrakant Gir attended most social functions with his grandfather Raja Birbhangirji. So you can imagine attending gatherings where these fabulous Packards would arrive with their most impressive owners, as a young boy Papa grew up to admire these people and Packards in particular.

Fortunately all three Packards survive. Dhanrajgirji's Packard is with Harit Trivedi in Bombay, Dawood Jung's Packard was eventually bought by NT Rama Rao the famous Telugu movie star and politician and remains with his Trust and Pratagirji's Packard survives in America.

Papa not only admired these three men he endeared himself to them all and they were especially fond of him. That all three owned fabulous Packards cemented what would be a life long love affair with the marque.

Papa had many cars in his lifetime on his own apart from the family's collection. He enjoyed a stunning 1947 Chrysler New Yorker convertible for years before switching to a 1939 Packard Six and a 1948 Buick Super 8.

In the early 60's he happened to pass by a dealer who sold pre owned cars and noticed Pratapgirji's 34 Packard in the yard. He bought the car for Rs 1500 but when my mother's boss Gus Savalas (brother of the famed Hollywood actor Telly Savalas) at the USIS where she worked saw the car he flipped for it and badgered Papa to let him have it. In those days friends always mattered more and Papa allowed uncle Gus to have the Packard. The 34 was restored in Hyderabad and when he wound up his stint in Hyderabad Gus Savalas shipped the Packard to England for his next assignment and eventually it went with the Savalas's to the US. There the car was acquired by Bob Turnquist and was featured in a book. The last I heard the car was converted to left hand drive and was up for sale.

APX 110 was a very prominent car in Hyderabad as it was the Commissioner of Police's official car under the Nizam's government. Flying the police flag off a short staff just behind the Goddess of Speed mascot with the escort one can imagine the ivory Packard drawing attention to itself with its important occupant.

Papa often related stories about APX 110's early life,

Once during Rehmat Yar Jung's tenure as Commissioner an Arab had applied for a gun license. The Commissioner's office declined the license. Disgruntled the Arab climbed atop the buildings in front of what is today Ramkrishna Theatre's gate fired at APX 110 with intent to assasinate the Commissioner. He missed and apparently the bullet struck a fender.

Another episode I recollect was when once Papa accidentally ran his car tyre over the foot of an old man in traffic. The resultant commotion meant the police arrived and Papa's details were taken down for a complaint. Now in those days the Prime Minister Salar Jung whom Papa knew very well (staff were instructed that Chandrakant Gir be ushered into the inner quarters of his palace whenever he arrived) had the habit of meeting with his friend Nawab Dawood Jung for a daily chat over chai with their good friend AS Abdul Khader at the James Street store. After the accident and knowing where to find him Papa drove straight to AS Abdul Khader to meet Salar Jung. Appraised of the accident the elder statesman assured the young Gir not to worry that news would reach his grandfather Birbhangir. He called Deen Yar Jung (the then Commissioner of Police) to come and in no time APX 110 drove up to AS Abdul Khader. Deen Yar Jung assured the matter would be addressed and a relieved Chandrakant Gir was asked to head home with no worries. As Papa was about to leave Dawood Jung called him aside, pulled out Rs 500 and said...Go and meet the old man at Osmania hospital...if your grandfather learns that we let you off the hook without caring for the old man he'd be furious with us.

Papa promtly headed to Osmania and met the old man who was being discharged as there were no broken bones but just a bruise. Elated at receiving the Rs 500 the old man blessed Papa and they went their separate ways.

Nawab Deen Yar Jung bought APX 110 off the police department at the end of his tenure and the car remained with him as his personal car until his death.

Sometime in early 60's Papa approached Deen Yar Jung's children requesting he be allowed to acquire APX 110 which until then was in mint condition. They refused saying they had a sentimental attachment to the car over their father's association with it.

Years passed and in 1967 Papa approached the family again. This time he found APX 110 sitting on boulders in the garage with rats having gotten to the green leather upholstery. During the police days APX 110 had been repainted Police Blue.

Papa clearly advised the siblings that if they didnt let him have the car chances are it will end up with the breakers given how she was being neglected. After a long deliberation they consented. Papa bought the car for Rs 4000. a considerable amount in those days for a pre owned car on the rocks !

The transaction concluded Papa made calls to his mechanic friend Jehangir Ali who arrived with fuel and battery and made arrangements to inflate the tyres. In no time Jehangir uncle started the car and by mid afternoon APX 110 was on the road again. A slipping clutch entailed a sorting out at the garage and by early evening as Mummy, my sis and I stood on the footsteps of our cottage when APX 110 came home in 1967.

Papa had the car repainted again to its original ivory but this time inspired by Dawood Jung's 38 Super Eight he had the grill shell and headlamp buckets chromed as well.

In its lifetime APX 110 has gone from Ivory to Police Blue to Ivory to Maroon to Ivory. In the years we have had her she was painted thrice. The current ivory was done 40 years ago.

Papa used APX 110 extensively. We travelled often to Madras and Bombay. She's been to Bangalore as well.

Papa was a night driver. We would usually leave post dinner and while mum my sis and I would settle for the night he drove throughout.

He installed the spotlamp to tackle truckers. The powerful beam when directed to their face level meant truckers slowed down and let him pass. Most highways were 2 lane roads so this ploy worked well.

The rear seats are a luxurious sofa. Packards are amongst few cars that have a completely flat floor. I would sleep on a mattress on the rear floor while my sister lounged on the seat. Mum gave company to dad but I do remember a scene very clearly. I think Papa was tired and wanted to take a nap. They pulled up beside the highway. Papa slept on a straw mat in front of the car with side lights on while mummy slept on the front bench seat with us kids at the back. Odd how certain memories remain.

Where ever we went APX 110 was a draw. In Chennai or Bombay a crowd invariably gathered whenever we'd park. People really appreciated seeing this fabulous car having travelled from Hyderabad.

Pictures:

My father Chandrakant Gir with me as a toddler
Gus Savalas in Pratapgirji's 1934 Packard
Dawood Jung's 1938 Packard in Green
Dhanrajgir's turquois 1936 Packard
Attached Thumbnails
Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-366931508_10167950611195445_6713843160356297992_n.jpg  

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-40597562_10160849315840445_2575708216876859392_n.jpg  

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-448124707_10168871342305445_4972483849703612663_n.jpg  

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-448146417_10168871342440445_338023689196949500_n.jpg  

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-448153305_10168871343960445_697185525786037016_n.jpg  

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-448162046_10168871342490445_5281929533369884356_n.jpg  

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-43342643_10160987299000445_2380788148419428352_n.jpg  

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-43354633_10160987299010445_5425548472382128128_n.jpg  


Last edited by KarthikK : 13th June 2024 at 20:09. Reason: Minor typo fix
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Old 13th June 2024, 12:29   #9
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Re: Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

Vow what an article, felt like driving through the memory lanes of yester-years. Kudos to you for maintaining a piece of history in impeccable condition.
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Old 13th June 2024, 17:31   #10
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Re: Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

APX 110 was a family car. What this meant was it was used regularly. We used it for travel, moving around town and as it played host to so many friends coming into Hyderabad the car came to be loved dearly by a lot of people who had the pleasure of being driven in it.

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-p1.jpg

Here you see the beauty after its first restoration back to Ivory. Notice how Papa inspired by Dawood Jung's 1938 Packard Super Eight Convertible, picture shared earlier, had the grill surround and headlamp buckets chrome plated. Papa with his dear friend Bruce Cox who visited him often from Australia. APX 110 is at the spot where as a 4 year old, standing at the steps of our cottage just behind the car, I saw the beauty the first time

In the late 60s and throughout the 70s a number of vintage car rallies used to be held at Hyderabad. Our family 1929 Lasalle and APX 110 were the big daddys dominating the shows, winning the top prizes alternately.

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41527360_10160883669710445_5044783403795218432_n.jpg

Here you see Papa (Chandrakant Gir) in a sherwani showcasing his prized beauty. Notice the chrome didn't last long and he had the grill shell and headlamp buckets painted. BTW APX 110 has never been rechromed to this day. Unbelievable testament to Packard quality. This past decade with gales during monsoons sadly some of the chrome has finally suffered as under its shed the water has gotten to the chrome. After 85 years ! Had I been more careful I could have saved the chrome a lot better and am guilty of letting the chrome suffer.

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41552583_10160890423665445_2042863673508102144_n.jpg

Papa posing with APX 110 and my grandfather Raja Dilaram Gir

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41244106_10160870190485445_9025952679683162112_n.jpg

My grandfather Raja Dilaram Gir posing with his father Raja Birbhangir's fabulous 1929 LaSalle Phaeton and his sons (Dad's younger brothers) and my cousins.

The LaSalle bought brand new by my great grandfather in 1929 completes 95 years with us this year and remains the family's pride and joy. She was inherited by an uncle.

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41602516_10160890423660445_3094451755547623424_n.jpg

APX 110 winning a prize, presented by Minister Roda Mistry. Seen in the picture are my parents Lalita and Chandrakant Gir. I am the boy next to mum and my sis in front of Papa.

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41456112_10160883669705445_7703201626957283328_n.jpg

Over the decades we remained most active participating in rallies. The LaSalle and APX 110 have been a permanent fixture on the Hyderabad vintage car scene. As you can tell Papa has aged in this photograph

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-p14.jpg

For visiting friends and family the customary drive in APX 110 was a must. The Packard came to be identified closely with my father's persona who was every bit the regal connoiseur doing justice to the majestic car.

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41633885_10160883669665445_5064599854617985024_n.jpg

Sometime in late 70s Papa decided to change the colour to another Packard favourite colour of his, maroon. The 39 Packard did look gorgeous in Ivory and Maroon. Sadly because of restrictive government policies importing white wall tyres was impossible and in all the years shes been with us, until recently APX 110 always sported black wall tyres.

I have some colour pictures of the car in maroon on slides, will share them as and when I can scan them. Sometime in the 80s we painted APX 110 back to ivory and it remains so till this day.

Last edited by DKG : 13th June 2024 at 17:53. Reason: Spelling errors
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Old 14th June 2024, 22:32   #11
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Re: Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad

It was once a tradition with vintage car rallies to encourage owners to participate in period costumes. So when a major event was announced at Taj Krishna hotel (then Krishna Oberoi) it was a no brainer that our 1939 Packard Eight had to be there as a Mafia Don’s car.

‘Can you request Ajit uncle to participate ‘ I asked my father.

The next minute he was on the phone to India’s legendary and quintessential Don of celluloid fame, the actor Ajit. I was overjoyed when Papa hung up to say ‘ He’s more than willing to oblige. He said 'Chandu tell me the day and place and I’ll be there’

We were on a roll. With THE DON signed up for the show we simply had to take it to the next level. My good friends Satish and Uday (my cousin) were too excited to refuse me anything. So it had to be great coats and top hats and machine guns. And what about the Don’s girlfriends? Mummy convinced two Somalian girls staying with us as exchange students to oblige and they were totally up for it.

Ajit uncle needed no props. He was the king of mafia and arrived looking the part, cigar in mouth.

I can never forget the crowd excitement as we made a grand entry, the Don flanked by his two Somalian babes, my two henchmen on running boards waving guns and me the chauffeur.

It was a riot. A complete blast.

The then State Governor Shri Krishnakant loved it and when he amusingly asked me ‘And you are...’ I leaned forward menacingly and said ‘ Your money or your life’ waving my pistol at him only to realise that was a major faux pas given his stature. When he erupted in laughter along with the crowd I gasped in relief saying to myself ‘ Bach Gaya bachoo’

He then chatted with us all complimenting the excellent period show we had put up. Like us all he was only too excited to meet Ajit uncle.
A day we will never forget....of super fun and laughter.

Ajit uncle was an absolute darling indulging us all the way and has left us with something very special to remember him with.

Its memories like this which endear our car to us as a family. Far too many special occasions.

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41264740_10160868495560445_2880784842037919744_n.jpg

The DON and his henchmen

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41174940_10160868495615445_7170406458532560896_n.jpg

The Don with his Somalian girlfriends

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41092929_10160868495700445_7883731660892536832_n.jpg

Family and friends flock to meet the Don. Papa on the far right

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41162187_10160868495595445_3345535023980740608_n.jpg

AP State Governor Krishnakant and Pranlal Bhogilal

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41045795_10160868495605445_2180464706160951296_n.jpg

The Governor was a big fan of the Don

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41213022_10160869953655445_6259000516987060224_n.jpg

DKG in conversation with the legendary collector

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41141854_10160869915185445_2567785385195208704_n.jpg

APX 110 with the Don inside and his henchmen on footboards created a riot. The crowd went crazy

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41331789_10160870027950445_3314526781737795584_n.jpg

Treasured message from the Don

Packard Diaries: The life and times of APX 110, member of the Gir family, Hyderabad-41350820_10160869953645445_4870341623440998400_n.jpg

Ages ago a young Ajit uncle with my grandfather Raja Dilaramgir
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