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karlosdeville 22nd September 2018 13:03

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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The 68th annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance has recently concluded on the 26th of August 2018 - as always, a visual delight with the rarest, prettiest and sometimes most outrageous collector cars congregating at the gorgeous setting of the Pebble Beach Golf Course just outside of Monterey, California.

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For the uninitiated, we are talking about the world cup of collector car shows. The biggest names across the globe go to enormous lengths to prepare their collector cars to exhibit and compete for the holy grail 'Best-of-show' trophy. It is probably best described at their own website,


Car collectors worldwide dream of competing at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where the famed 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links is the stage and the rolling Pacific Ocean serves as backdrop.
Begun in 1950, this concours is the top-ranking collector car competition in the world. It is also the event to which most other modern concours now trace their roots. Initially modeled on the early European concours that showcased new cars, the Pebble Beach Concours shifted its focus to collector cars in 1955—and other concours followed suit. It has also taken the lead by including racing greats and offering featured marques and special classes as early as 1953, introducing displays of dream cars and concepts in the 1980s, and instituting driving events and emphasizing the importance of preservation in the 1990s.
Guided by—and often driving—the interests of enthusiasts the world over, this concours continues to set the bar for all others.
The concours d'elegance is not a contest of speed, but of elegance. Automobiles are judged for their style and technical merit, as well as their history, their originality and the accuracy of their preservation or restoration—and the best garner reward and recognition.
I was fortunate to have attended in the past as well, for the 2012 edition with special featured class "Cars of the Maharajas". There were 15 cars entered in the class, though only 2 participated from India, the Holkar Delage and Rolls-Royce 20HP of Udaipur, GLK21. A third car, the Rajkot Phantom II, 188PY, had only just been bought abroad and was repatriated to India after the show with much fanfare. The cars were split into two sub-classes: Class E-1 was Maharaja and class E-2 was Maharaja Rolls-Royce - one cannot ignore India's love affair with the Best Car in the World after all. My report on the event can be seen here.

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The Monterey Car Week, as it has come to been known, is a diverse spectrum of events spread in and around the picturesque vicinity of Monterey. For just under a week, you can visit all kinds of events everyday - historic racing at Laguna Seca, drool over German sports cars at Legends of the Autobahn, have a good laugh at the Lemons Concours or hob-nob over wine and cheese at The Quail gathering. Hop into an auction or two (there must be over a thousand collector cars changing hands that week), fuss over automotive fine arts, check out the latest concept cars being unveiled by the top manufacturers, listen to masterclasses by top minds - the list is endless! Honestly, there is no way you can cover all the events in one trip. And for visitors from our neck of the woods, it can get overwhelming just seeing the cars on the streets visiting, not even participating.

The highlight of the whole week is of course the Sunday Concours. A total of 209 cars from 17 countries participated, and raised a substantial $1.8 million for various children's charities. Entries were as far flung as Israel, China, and of course, India.

Every year, it is the special classes that probably attract the most attention and generate the most interest. For 2018, the following special classes were announced:
  • Motor Cars of the Raj
  • Rollston Coachwork
  • OSCA
  • Tucker
  • Postwar Custom Citroën
  • Vintage-Era Sporting Cars
  • Eisenhower Era Dream Convertibles
For a while now, there were enthusiastic discussions on an India specific class returning to Pebble Beach. Finally it was announced that the 2018 edition of the Concours will feature an Indian class once again - "Motors Cars of the Raj", paying tribute to the luxurious automobiles that came to India during the time of the British Raj. Months of speculation ensued, many potential entries were discussed :) but in the end 11 cars were finalised from India, with another 3 participating from abroad, though only 2 of the 3 showed up. My report will naturally pay most attention to the India connection to the event.

The list of cars entered in the Indian classes (F1 - Motor Cars of the Raj: Rolls-Royce & Bentley and F2 - Motor Cars of the Raj) are seen below

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Two cars were entered in the class L1 - Prewar Preservation
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The selection of cars was varied and to me a couple were even a surprise - albeit a pleasant one. The selection was endlessly debated but I suppose there will always be some better cars which aren't participating for whatever reason. For me personally I would really have loved to see the Jodhpur Delahaye grace the occasion, and also the Hyderabad Silver Ghost. Perhaps some day at a future event!

karlosdeville 5th November 2018 16:01

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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Once the invitations were sent out (much earlier in the year I presume), there was a rush to get the cars prepared for the event in August. Now it is important to remember that the process of shipping the car to America takes around a couple of months - this means the cars need to be ready to dispatch in June. While most of the cars were already in excellent condition - also having been exhibited locally in the past - the American standards of restoration expected meant the cars had to be taken a notch above, and many of them were rapidly re-restored. Just in time!

The cars were unloaded and fortunately there was no major damage in transit. In the couple of days running up to the event, most time was spent by the owners fiddling around, tuning up and detailing their cars to look better than ever before.

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The cars were stationed at a dedicated tent for the international participants, which gave us a sneak peak at some sensational cars
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The town of Monterey is collector car city! Lots of Auto parts stores stocking all kinds of goodies made life a bit easier. Last minute shopping runs were in the Rolls - and the streets are just loaded with cool cars from all over
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On Thursday the 23rd was the tour around the city, around 80 miles. Unfortunately I missed it and got in only on Friday. But the weather was great, the landscape gorgeous, and cars galore - what more could one ask for.
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On Saturday a photoshoot was organised at the venue for the Indian cars, by the legendary Ron Kimball and team. Now for someone whos's grown up ogling at his iconic images from annual editions of the show, this was a highlight for me. The whole of pebble beach cleared of all cars and people for our cars' shoot - Here are my photo bombed sneaked in shots during the shoot :D More specifics on the cars later on.

My ride to the venue was an imposing Lanchester from Mumbai - don't miss the tricolour proudly fluttering on the hood ornament.
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The setting was gorgeous, and the bright colours stood out. Stalwarts of the scene are seen all over :D
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The cars were placed in various formations
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Behind the scenes :D
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Owners standing proudly with their cars - a diverse and eclectic gathering.
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karlosdeville 5th November 2018 18:32

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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And onto the cars themselves

Class F1 - Motor Cars of the Raj: Rolls-Royce & Bentley

F1-1: 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Barker Tourer. Entered by the Larry Ellison Collection, Woodside California.
This car unfortunately did not show. Chassis 23RC was ordered by the royal family of Kotah with handsome Barker barrel side coachwork, and the car was exported to the West I assume in the 60s or 70s.

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Pictures courtesy the wonderful RR and Bentley facebook page, I think shared by Rob Geelan.

In more recent times we would see the car at events towing a cannon/machine gun amongst much other paraphernalia, reportedly for shikaar duty. While the car was originally equipped with some shikaar accessories, honestly, a machine gun is not hunting, that's decimating!

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Fortunately the car has been correctly restored losing the cannon and the loud red paint scheme is now a medium grey complemented by crocodile skin upholstery - the original specification. More detailed pictures here.
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F1-2: 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Thrupp & Maberly All Weather Tourer. Entered by Yi Hong Chen, Beijing, China.

Chassis 3XJ was delivered new to the royal family of Darbhanga - who arguably had the most handsome choice of Rolls-Royces. (Another car from their stables was GRO48, which will follow shortly).
The car was delivered with Hooper Tourer coachwork finished in a striking combination of polished aluminum and nile blue. Once again, archival image credit to the wonderful people at the Facebook page - Rob, our very own Prem and others.
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Soon after, the body was transferred to the Baroda Phantom II 104SK, and a new Thrupp & Maberly All weather body was installed on 3XJ, which it retains today.
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The car was exported at some point to the West, and at the time may have carried registration BRR 100.
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The original body from 3XJ now on 104SK
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karlosdeville 6th November 2018 12:07

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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F1-3: 1935 Bentley 3 1/2 Litre Antem Drophead Coupé. Entered by Jagdish Thackersey, Mumbai, India.
The sole Bentley in the class, chassis B24BN has an interesting history. The car was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1934 with a Binder body, and soon rebodied by Antem and later delivered to Nicky Embericos, a keen racer and Greek shipping magnate. I believe Antem was the coachbuilder of choice for only 2 (or was it 3?) Bentleys, for the same owner. There is also the 4 1/4 litre car that is simply called the Embericos Bentley, with streamlined lightweight coachwork by Portout, I assume the same family if not the same owner. It is of particular interest to note the specification of B24BN - an English car with French coachwork and French Marshall lights, German Bosch foglights, English horns, an American Philco radio for a Greek owner and finally in India!

The car when new in England.
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At some point in 1942 I believe the car was on sale at Jack Barclay's, and bought by the Maharaja of Talcher who was studying in England at the time and brought it back to India.

The car when on sale in Indore I assume in the 60s. Picture from Faster789's fabulous archives. Don't miss the hood ornament. I wonder what it is.
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The car has been enjoyed by the present owner for over 45 years, and been through many looks.
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The car reverted to the original colours of black with cream accents for the event.
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Intense scrutiny at Pebble.
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The car bagged third in class.
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karlosdeville 6th November 2018 12:28

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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F1-4: 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Gurney Nutting Strealine Coupé. Amir and Wendy Jetha, Mumbai, India.
The poster car! Much has been discussed over the years on chassis 62UK (the restoration story is here), and no praise is enough. The last Phantom II Continental built was delivered to Jodhpur, passed to Rewa in 44 or so, and later to Bombay in the 50s, where it was put into use for the first time. The present owner's family acquired it in the late 50s or early 60s. The imposing size of the chassis is expertly masked through the graceful lines and bright colours (incidentally matching the Jodhpur Polo team).

The original rendering
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The car was repainted dark green when in Rewa. These fab images thanks to Faster789
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The car was later repainted Sand and Sable (or Coffee and cream?:))
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And for a number of years the car was black and cream (seen here 10 years ago at the inaugural Cartier Concours in 2008).
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Finally after so many decades the car returned to the original colour scheme.
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I have to say she looked right at home at Pebble Beach
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Intense scrutiny for a car everyone was waiting to see.
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She rightfully took Best in Class, as well as the Lucius Bebe trophy.
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The car was the face of this year's event - you couldn't miss it. But more on this later on.

F1-5: 1937 Rolls-Royce 25/30HP Gurney Nutting All Weather Tourer. Entered by Roshni Jaiswal, New Delhi, India.
Chassis GRO48 is a particularly elegant streamlined 4 door all weather tourer delivered new to the Maharaja of Darbhanga. 2 more cars of very similar design also came to India, GRO59 and GMP28. Luckily all 3 survive in India.

The car appeared in original advertising material of the period. The original colour was a light cream/ivory?
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The car when in use in Darbhanga
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This stunning car I believe is only with the second owners who have had it probably for decades, regularly attending events in Delhi.

Here is the car I believe in England when it was restored, painted a bright red.
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The next paint job was a rich deep maroon
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The car is now back to ivory. I'm being repetitive, but it has such an elegant stance, one can't stop looking at it!
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The car took second in class.
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karlosdeville 6th November 2018 17:20

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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The next class

Class F2 - Motor Cars of the Raj

F2-1: 1921 Fiat 501S Corsa Race Car. Entered by Amal Tanna, Mumbai, India.
The Maharaja of Patiala owned 44 Rolls-Royces, but this must have been the most fun car in the garage! Sharing the same underpinnings as the workhorse 501, the racy lines of this boat tail racer were probably penned by the factory itself. It is probably the only one built in this specification, though many more concepts were executed on larger chassis. The car was already in fine fettle, but being restored last in the 1980s, it was expressly grounds up restored once more in time for the event.

A factory photo of the car. Note the goose hood ornament.
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The same car was spotted earlier on the forum in this picture, presumably with Elizabeth Junek?
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At Saturday's shoot.
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The car was displayed with a full set of tools, amongst other accessories

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I can imagine the judges had a lot of interest in this one!

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karlosdeville 7th November 2018 15:03

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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F2-2: 1923 Lanchester 40HP Convertible Tourer. Entered by Abbas Jasdanwalla, Mumbai, India.
Originally delivered to the Maharaja of Gondal, this large and imposing car sports many unique features including detachable occasional seats.

This lovely period image of the car featured in the event magazine.
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When the car was restored in previous ownership it was presented in a light cream. I do not know what the original colour was.
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The car is now in a livery of dark blue with cream wheels
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F2-3: 1927 Lanchester 21HP Convertible Tourer. Entered by Madan Mohan, Gurgaon, India.
The Maharaja of Nawanagar was a strong patron of Lanchester motor cars, and his fleet included dozens of them. It is believed that he also had a stake in the company, though I cannot verify that.

This car was earlier painted a dark blue when first restored.
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The car was repainted in a brighter 'cambridge' blue, as most Nawanagar cars originally used to be.
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karlosdeville 7th November 2018 15:30

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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F2-4: 1930 Stutz M LeBaron 4-Passenger Speedster. Entered by Diljeet & Anurita Titus, New Delhi, India.
This is a particularly interesting entry, the only Stutz surviving in the country. The car was exhibited at the London Motor Show, and bought by the ruler of Baria State. The was specified in a very striking combination of black with red striping and wheels and the underside of the fenders, as found by travancore here.

Subsequently the car was painted silver, and when found it was yellow and black (more reading here).
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When first restored the car sported a rich deep purple paintjob.
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The car looks stunning with the full complement of lights and other fittings on the handsome dual cowl coachwork.
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Gorgeous red leather looks superb.
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The car took third place in the class
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F2-5: 1931 Cadillac 452A Pinin Farina Boattail Roadster. Entered by Anne Brockington Lee/ Robert M. Lee Automobile Collection, Sparks Nevada.
This is easily one of the greatest cars that India ever had, in my opinion.
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A brief history is mentioned here. Credit to them also for some images, what a lovely page.

Farina [Italy] Factory records [which I have not seen] reveal that the chassis of this car left Detroit on July 17, 1931, bound for Turin, Italy [that month, only 17 cars/chassis were completed, they were #703136 to 703152]. The special, boat-tailed speedster or "tiger-shoot" car was commissioned by the wealthy Maharajah of Orccha, one of India's princely states before the country gained independence in 1947. The Self Starter issue for June, 1965, carried a factory photo of the car, the same one that I got from the PF archives in 1975 and that I wrote about in the Classic Car magazine for June 1976. Dave Towell, Cadillac dealer and collector of Akron, OH, wrote me in September 1976 to say that he had bought the car in April that year, from the late Sheikh Mukhtar, a Pakistani actor and film director who had acquired it in 1960, directly form the Maharajah, for a reported 7000 rupees (circa $560). In 1976, the car had barely 12K miles on the odometer. The car's presence in the USA sparked much interest; Bill Mitchell, then Director of GM Styling, went to Akron to examine it. Gita and I went to see Dave's cars too, in June 1978, on our first trip to the USA. Grand memories! I understand that Dave paid $105,000 for the car. It arrived in Akron in July 1976. He did almost no restoration work on the car before selling it again. The car was later acquired by Tom Barrett, then by Jack Frederick and Fran Roxas who, in my opinion, "over-restored" it. The roadster was featured shortly thereafter in AQ, Vol. 20, #4, in its new black garb with an unlikely red velour interior (!). In the eighties, Ken Behring acquired it for his renowned Blackhawk collection in Danville, CA. This particular ad appeared in the CLC's Self-Starter magazine in August, 1983: 1930 V16 Boat-tail "The ultimate 50s hot rod". The car was being offered for sale by a Mr. Jack Wenger of Broadway, VA (I assume it was this same car). Motor Trend ran an article on the car, in March 1985. According to the Self Starter for July, 2001, the current owner is Robert Lee of Sparks, NV. Rare and "exotic" Cadillacs like this one have a habit of turning up in the most unexpected places and at the oddest times; their tale is often told, distorted, embellished, often for the sole purpose of increasing the car's marketability. Late Extra (5/2010): I'm not sure if there is any truth to a rumor that the car is to be repainted back to black with red trim [the repaint colors selected by Jack Frederick and Fran Roxas [in the 80s] for upcoming show (in 2010?) of Pinin Farina custom jobs. It sounds odd indeed (and very expensive). Will the car be repainted, again, back to the original PF color scheme, after that show? Note: Members of a classic car forum in India have discussed this car; they seriously doubt the accuracy of information about it on internet sites (including mine?) and in magazines like Motor Trend. According to the current Maharaja of Orccha, HH Madhugar Shah, whose father ordered this car, it remained in use with the Orccha family at least until the late fifties and would drop him off and pick him up from school. He asserted that it was never designed, nor used, for hunting tigers; that was just a myth! One of the original "V-16" hubcaps still survives in the Orccha garages. According to one member of the forum, the Pinin Farina speedster and a rare Duesenberg SSJ with body Gurney-Nutting that had belonged to India's princely Holkar family, were smuggled abroad by actor Sheik Mukhtar and traded for a pair of new 1960 Chevy Impalas! Another members, Nigel Davis with whom I have been in contact, remembers seeing the car in the late sixties when it was still owned by film actor and director Sheik Mukhtar. It's licence tag read "ORCCHA 1"; he said it was parked on the road; Mukhtar had come to visit a famous Indian story-writer. Nigel was a little boy at that time but he still remembers the car. Years later he read in Motor Trend how Mukhtar had found the car buried in the ground with the boat tail sticking out. He bought it and later took it out of the country, though Pakistan, and sold.Will the truth ever be known?
BHPian shyml has earlier kindly shared the most dramatic images of this beautiful car here when it was owned by Sheik Mukhtar. Now this was a big car, and he seems to dominate even a car of this size!

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The car is no stranger to Pebble Beach, having attended at least 3 or 4 times I think.
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This time the car reverted an older paint scheme of black with red interior. I think it was earlier a poster car at Pebble in this colour scheme.
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karlosdeville 7th November 2018 16:34

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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F2-6: 1934 Lagonda M45 Rapide Abbott Sports Tourer. Entered by Sharad Sanghi, Mumbai, India.
The Bhavnagar royal family owned some fantastic automobiles back in the day, including sporting models like a WO Bentley and this super desirable M45 Rapide, bodied by Abott. Thanks to the Lagonda Owner's Club for this factory photo
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We are lucky to have many archival shots from the Nath family and as always Faster789
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The first time I saw the car was at the inaugural Cartier Concours exactly 10 years back in 2008. The car was expressly restored once more for the event, and looks like a million bucks!
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F2-7: 1936 Alvis Speed 25 Vanden Plas Tourer. Entered by Nishant Dossa, Mumbai, India.
This very elegant Alvis was delivered new to Mayurbhanj, and has been attending events for donkeys years.

A recently posted image of the car prior to the first restoration, courtesy John Fasal.
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The car has been beautifully restored
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She took Second in Class.
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karlosdeville 7th November 2018 17:29

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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Class L1: Prewar Preservation.

L1-4: 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost James & Co. Open Tourer. Entered by Kesri Dev Singh, Wankaner, India.
This charming Silver Ghost has the distinction of being in the same family from new, and remains unrestored. Originally a tourer with coachwork by Maythorn, chassis 113LG was fitted with a new open tourer body by the little known firm of James & Co. of Bombay.

The Maythorn coachwork.
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The second body in period.
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The car is mechanically updated but cosmetically untouched with a charming patina.
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The car won the FIVA award for prewar preservation
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L1-5: 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Windovers Limousine. Entered by Maharaja Gaj Singhji of Marwar-Jodhpur, Jodhpur, India.
Again a remarkable Rolls in the family from new. We can read more about the refurbishment process here.

Factory photos show the opulence the interior was specified in.

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The car looked stunning in its polished coachwork
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The car won the Lord Montague trophy.
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karlosdeville 7th November 2018 18:14

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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Special Award: Lorin Tryon Trophy.
A special honour was bestowed on Manvendra Singh Barwani, being presented with the Lorin Tryon Trophy. The Lorin Tryon Trophy is presented to the automotive enthusiast who has made significant contributions to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and the collector car world. It is a moment of great pride for us - his efforts and contributions to the movement are without parallel and finally received due recognition. Kudos!
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While there are too many cars to talk about, here is a small selection of things that caught my interest. Sights and sounds, if you will.

While the quality of our restorations in India has grown tremendously, you need to spend some time with some of these cars to understand we still have a long way to go.
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Preservation Class in its true meaning! Would you believe that's original paint?
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Tuckers were a special class
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This wild Cadillac V16 with coachwork by the Swiss Hartmann made quite an impact on everyone. With good reason!
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A variation on the conventional Mother in law seat :)
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We see cars of all shapes and sizes at Pebble. Even cars that don't even look like cars! How cool was this Ferrari Modulo?
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A Presidential Cadillac (I overheard someone saying this car was following JFK in his Lincoln on that fateful day).
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What a thoughtfully designed trophy. And yes, it is as heavy as it looks.
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Sophisticated fuel gauge in the Wankaner Rolls. Its original!
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Starting instructions for cars in transit.
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Jay Leno has been associated with the show for decades, and truly is the nicest car guy you'll meet.
He was presented with a copy of the Bristol book, that is posted here.
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Loads of cars are auctioned at the Montery Car Week. Some great deals to be had, some not so!
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The future of our hobby? An electric conversion kit for the bug.
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Vidita Singh also displayed her automotive fine art.
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Caviar cart - after all this is Pebble Beach:D
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A lot of people dress up in period costumes. Some just like to dress up!
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By the later part of the day its one big picnic ground. An absolutely enjoyable atmosphere.
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This Indian Chief was also visiting from India, and was entered in an event at the near by Quail festival.
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Anand Mahindra was visiting, and being the owner of Pininfarina, he was only too happy to see the Orchha Cadilllac.
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karlosdeville 7th November 2018 19:19

re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
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And finally in conclusion - I mentioned earlier that the Rolls-Royce 62UK was the face of the event - here is to explain exactly how. The car was EVERYWHERE!

To start with it was the featured car for the concours poster...
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The original painting was on display as well, and auctioned for an impressive sum.
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It was the face of all the event literature including the guide book.
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It was on the merchandise in the Golf club shop.
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And more..
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And more...
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It was on the cups, the towels, EVERYWHERE!
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It was even on media communciations.
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The prize distribution ceremony commenced with Pebble Beach Chairperson Sandra Button driving up in the Rolls - a rare honour.

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The whole family is very much a part of this journey. After the event the Jethas took advantage of the trip and drove over California for a few hundred miles. The car didn't skip a beat.
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Gassing up at one of the nicest pumps I've seen.
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An obviously elated restorer, Marespand was responsible for the job on this car as well as the Bentley and Fiat
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Amir got two trophies...:D The girls and he were a good sport to pose after we asked them to.

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And to sign off, a sign of things to come? :)
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aah78 8th November 2018 08:41

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Classic Car Section. Thanks for sharing!

KartikeyaL 8th November 2018 10:27

Re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
Fabulous report Karl, an apt diwali gift for all the vintage enthusiasts. Great pictures/write up thanks for sharing.


coolmind 9th November 2018 11:08

Re: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018 - With Motorcars of the Raj
Wonderful report Sir. Thanks for your time and endeavor.:thumbs up
It really deserves a 5-star.
I wonder how strongly the cars were built in those good old days and credit to the owners for maintaining them in such a fruitful condition.

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