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Old 22nd August 2018, 15:24   #1
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Default The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer

Some of us might have heard or read about about Tootoo Imam one of the early motor racer's in the country and winner of the grand prix in 1956, there were a couple of pictures posted on the forum earlier, I thought it would be nice to document his life and times for posterity.

At the onset would like to thank Tootoo Imam's daughter Ms. Nattie Yadav for sharing old pictures and information about her legendary father.

Tootoo Imam came from a very well educated family, one of his ancestors served Emperor Aurangzeb and his father Syed Hasan Imam served as president of the Indian national congress and a judge of the Calcutta high court.

Details about his ancestors can be found here

Syed Hasan Imam (Father)
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Syed Hasan Imam with wife Nattie and son Tootoo
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Tootoo Imam

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with his beloved daughter Nattie
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with Sir Mark Tully
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in conversation at home
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Patna home
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Brief details about Tootoo Imam

Born in 1920, Syed Askari Hadi Ali Augastien Imam, or Tootoo Imam as he was famously known in India and abroad was a fit man even in his late 90s and walked and swam well into his 90's, he passed away on 4th January 2018, aged 98.

His son Bulu Imam, a renowned environmental activist told the following to the New Indian Express:

Quote:
With his demise, the last direct link with the great Imam brothers -- his father Hasan Imam and uncle Sir Ali Imam -- has also vanished.

"It is indeed an end of an era. He was the last surviving member from the immediate generation after the Imams, the one who saw them and grew up in their care. And, his own life was nothing short of extraordinary, making a name for himself as a motor racer, then a big game hunter, and also as an author and filmmaker.

He said, his father was baptised as a child, and he was buried in the compound of his home 'Kehilaan', reflecting the love he had for horses. 'Kehilaan' means an Arab breed of horse.

He is survived by wife Shahbat Imam, and another son Syed Hasan Francis Imam (named after his grandfather) and Nattie Yadav (named after her grandmother).

Tootoo Imam earned his reputation of living a flamboyant and rather quixotic life, and to his last days, dressed up as an aristocrat, an inheritance from his Imam lineage, and guests came to him from near and far, for big game hunting, till it remained legal in India.

His father, Syed Hasan Imam was a leading barrister of his days and later a Calcutta High Court judge and also served as the president of the Indian National Congress. And, his uncle, Sir Ali Imam too was a legal luminary, and both brothers were among the main architects behind the creation of the Bihar province in 1912.

"My father was born in a place called 'Hillside' in North Darjeeling. And, he used to spend time in Patna at the palatial 'Hasan Manzil' on Fraser Road and used to go to Darjeeling during summer holidays, where Hasan Imam, also had a property," Bulu Imam said.

"He was son of Hasan Imam through his second wife Nattie Imam, who was of Indo-French descent. But, my father's work as an author and documentary filmmaker and his life itself, means, he leaves a legacy of his own behind," he added.

His younger son, Syed Hasan Francis Imam, recalling his father's legacy said, "In 1956, he won the Indian Grand Prix in Calcutta, at a young age and shot to fame. And, his books 'The Brown Hunter', his love horses, and other books will be remembered for long."

From The Telegraph:
Quote:
In British India, he was a living legend - the man who'd slay man-eaters. But, Tootoo Imam was more than just a hunter. He was a hunter with a heart who didn't kill for sport.

Tootoo's family tree is reputable. His ancestors were known to have tutored Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Father Syed Hasan Imam was a leading barrister and a Calcutta High Court judge who went on to become the chairman of Indian National Congress. Tutu was born adventurous and was bound to it till death.

In 1956, then in his prime, Tootoo had hogged spotlight after winning the Indian Grand Prix in Calcutta. Two years later, his shooting skills turned around his life.

"He (Tootoo) was called to Koraput in Odisha to kill a man-eater. He succeeded. Fame was instant. Thereafter, he travelled all over India, slaying tigers, leopards and even elephants if they strayed into human habitats. He didn't kill for trophy ever. Delivering unarmed people from monster animals became his calling," said son-in-law Atul Yadav.

Last edited by Aditya : 27th September 2018 at 15:09. Reason: As requested
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Old 23rd August 2018, 13:50   #2
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Default re: The Legendry Tootoo Imam : Motor Racer

Tootoo Imam led a full life riding and schooling horses, hunting big game, sailing boats, racing cars, restoring cars and writing books.

Watch this fascinating you tube video, courtesy the Humans of Jharkhand.


Some details about his racing history from this video, which may not be accurate.

1. In 1952 he won the Netarhat hill climb, an alpine type race of some 13 miles in his Lagonda.
2. He won the 1954 Grand prix in his Lagonda.
3. In 1955 he was placed 3rd with the same car.
4. In 1958 he was placed 3rd with a short chassis 3 Litre Lancia Astura.


Here are the two pictures I found on our forum

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-04.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by travancore View Post
Attachment 1361221

A modified 1935 3.5 Liter Lagonda. Owned by A.Imam of Bihar (in 1954).

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Placed second behind the Robertson Special at the 1954 Calcutta Grand Prix (Alipore)

Last edited by Aditya : 27th September 2018 at 15:08. Reason: As requested
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Old 24th August 2018, 16:09   #3
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Default re: The Legendry Tootoo Imam : Motor Racer

Here is an old picture of the family (Picture courtesy :Mr. Bulu Imam)

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-bulu-imam.jpg

Quote:
From right: my uncle Raoul Saupin, maternal grandfather A.J.Sonny Saupin, maternal uncle Maurice, grandmother Poupette, mother Yvonne, myself in lap of step grandfather Shaukat Ali Meerza, at back uncle Eugene, father Tootoo, Great Dane dog Caesar, my younger brother Christopher in lap of our friend Gopal then directing Fiat Padmini in Mumbai.

Photo circa 1953-4, location Pupette Villa my maternal grandparents' home in Hazaribagh. Now no longer standing, part of St Xavier's school in Hazaribagh. In background Lagonda car : Bulu Imam
The Roll Royce in the pictures below was restored by Mr. Imam (and as per his interview in the you tube video shared earlier) it was granted special permission to be exported by the then Finance minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee.

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-31484772_1650209001729484_8456399510396993536_n.jpg


The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-50pe-coach-work-bithal-nago-hazaribagh.jpg

Karl, has identified the RR as 50PE, coach work by Bithal and Nago, Hazaribagh

Below is a Lancia Lambda which was owned by the Maharaja Bahadur Kamal Singh of Dumraon, Tootoo Imam restored it for him and helped him in selling it, this car is now a daily driver and is owned by a Bhpian in Bombay

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-maharaja-dumrao.jpg

Here is a Standard which we can also see in the video posted before, this is the only car which survives at the estate.

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Last edited by KartikeyaL : 14th September 2018 at 14:52.
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Old 4th September 2018, 16:08   #4
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Default re: The Legendry Tootoo Imam : Motor Racer

Here are some the racing cars which were owned/raced/modified by Mr. Tootoo Imam.

Pictures courtesy : Ms. Nattie

Thanks Karl in helping identifying some the cars below


The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-31460948_1650208568396194_1786102101827387392_n.jpg

Alfa 8c 2300 Monza 1933 red, ex BYA 3573

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-alfa-8c-2300-monza-1933-red-ex-bya-3573.jpg


Bijou Special Note the tusks stacked by the car
The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-bijou-special.jpg


Lagonda
The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-lagonda.jpg


SS 100, now part of the late Rashid Qayyum collection
The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-ss-100-rashid-qayyum.jpg


SS 100
The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-ss-100.jpg


Pictures of the SS100 courtesy Wasif , posted here earlier


The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-rb7.jpg

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at the moment these are the only details, pictures with me, I have asked his family to look for more pictures and hope we can know more on the cars and life of Tootoo Imam.

cheers.

Last edited by KartikeyaL : 13th September 2018 at 16:09.
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Old 26th September 2018, 15:50   #5
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Default re: The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th September 2018, 18:42   #6
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Default Re: The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-tutu-imam-lagonda.jpg

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-tutu-imam-tbd.jpg

Lovely thread!

Would these happen to be the same Lagonda in "bad boy racer" and "black tie affair" guises ? Just a wild thought!

Last edited by travancore : 27th September 2018 at 18:55.
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Old 28th September 2018, 10:13   #7
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Default Re: The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer

Quote:
Originally Posted by KartikeyaL View Post
Some of us might have heard or read about about Tootoo Imam one of the early motor racer's in the country and winner of the grand prix in 1956, there were a couple of pictures posted on the forum earlier, I thought it would be nice to document his life and times for posterity.
A superb idea, thank you for sourcing and sharing these.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KartikeyaL View Post
Watch this fascinating you tube video, courtesy the Humans of Jharkhand.
He must have had enough stories to fill a library I'm sure. Pity I didn't get to meet him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KartikeyaL View Post
The car survives in Mumbai.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travancore View Post
Would these happen to be the same Lagonda in "bad boy racer" and "black tie affair" guises ? Just a wild thought!
I had the same thought. Could very well be. Though the car was originally a Silent Travel Saloon. I believe it came from Burdwan to Tootoo.
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Old 28th September 2018, 11:44   #8
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Default Re: The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
Lagonda
The car survives in Mumbai.
Pictures please.

Adding here your old post of the RR and the picture from when it was with Tootoo Imam

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
A friend shared these gems today, from back issues of the RREC bulletins

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This is really interesting, Silver Ghost #50PE - with a locally built body by 'Bithal and Nago of Hazaribagh' - I wonder if that was just a workshop/dealer plate, or the actual coachbuilder itself. The body does look locally built no doubt.
The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-50pe-coach-work-bithal-nago-hazaribagh.jpg

Last edited by KartikeyaL : 28th September 2018 at 11:47.
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Old 29th September 2018, 20:54   #9
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Default Re: The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer

Now I am really showing my ignorance! I had though it was Alvis, but could this be a Lagonda Silent Travel Saloon (Burdwan / Tutu Imam car) ?

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A Bangalore car, posted by Kartikeyal here:
.https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/vinta...ml#post4401599 (Nostalgic automotive pictures including our family's cars)
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Old 9th October 2018, 13:27   #10
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Default Re: The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer

The Lancia Lambda ex -Maharaja Bahadur Kamal Singh of Dumraon, when with Tootoo Imam for restoration.

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-maharaja-dumrao.jpg

and at the Cartier show
Picture credit: Karl

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-lancia04.jpg

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-lancia05.jpg

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Old 10th October 2018, 05:57   #11
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Default Re: The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer

Quote:
Originally Posted by travancore View Post
Now I am really showing my ignorance! I had though it was Alvis, but could this be a Lagonda Silent Travel Saloon (Burdwan / Tutu Imam car) ?
Its confirmed to be an Alvis by the ex owner

Quote:
The car is Alvis speed 25 special sports saloon, which was with us for more than 35 years, a beautiful car
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Old 12th December 2018, 11:57   #12
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Default Re: The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer

Posting Karl's post from here

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
This letter to the Motor Sport Magzine was published in 1954 talking of Tutu Imam's well known Lagonda.
The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-01.jpg

The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer-01a.jpg
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Old 13th December 2018, 16:11   #13
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Default Re: The Legendry Tootoo Imam : Motor Racer

Quote:
Originally Posted by KartikeyaL View Post
Tootoo Imam .....
1. In 1952 he won the Netarhat hill climb, an alpine type race of some 13 miles in his Lagonda.
2. He won the 1954 Grand prix in his Lagonda.
3. In 1955 he was placed 3rd with the same car.
4. In 1958 he was placed 3rd with a short chassis 3 Litre Lancia Astura.

Here are the two pictures I found on our forum
This is the short chassis 3 Litre Lancia Astura

Cheers, harit
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Old 18th May 2019, 20:06   #14
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Default Re: The Legendary Tootoo Imam : Car Racer

Many thanks to Mr. Bill Shepherd who uploaded this video on YouTube so it could be shared here.

He had earlier shared it on the awesome Nostalgia on wheels facebook page.

The clip is from Barrackpore from 1960's, Mr. Tootoo Imam can be seen exercising his red car, which car is it ?

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