Maharaja Cars to Feature at Inaugural Auto Royale Concours
Britain’s newest classic car event, Auto Royale, has now declared the first of its headline classes in its inaugural British International Concours d’Elegance. “The Maharaja Cars” will celebrate the epitome of colonial elegance with a hand-picked selection of 10 incredible automobiles, some of which will be taking the long trip from India for the very first time.
In the first half of the 20th century, wealthy Indian regional rulers competed with each other to acquire some of the finest automobiles of the time, resulting in opulent collections which ranged from the exotic to eccentric. While those Maharajas might have lost their official powers when India gained its independence in 1947, the glorious vehicles that marked the days of the Raj have achieved royal status in the concours world, and have been celebrated at events from California to Paris.
UAE-based author and motoring historian, Mohammed Luqman Ali Khan has curated the class and is excited with the line-up. “It is an honour to bring together such a fine display of automobiles from esteemed collectors both in India and the UK, and to feature cars that have been previously celebrated at Pebble Beach, Retromobile and 21 Gun Salute”, said Luqman.
“I have selected a plethora of Rolls-Royce to pay my personal tribute to the ‘Flying Lady’ – the most recognizable automotive emblem in the world. 2021 sees the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ celebrate its 110th birthday and vehicles with that hood ornament will outnumber other marques in the class. For those who have not before experienced the opulence and whimsy of the Maharaja cars, they are certainly in for a treat.”
Headlining the non-Royce members of the class is the 1930 Delage D8 Sports Tourer, resplendent in its bright orange, Figoni coachwork, originally owned by the Maharaja Holkar of Indore. The young king was a true petrol head in his day, and his cars were famous for not only their quality, but their personalised embellishments, including his trademark black on orange paintwork. Now part of a famously large collection, the Delage was most recently seen in the Maharaja Class at Pebble Beach Concours in 2012.
Joining the Delage is the 2020 21 Gun Salute, Best In Show-winning 1949 Bentley Mk VI Light Touring Saloon by Hooper (pictured top), formerly owned by the Maharaja of Mysore. Nicknamed “the rhubarb & custard car” it is now part of the famous YZP Collection and will make its UK debut at Auto Royale.
Based closer to home, Katie Forrest’s “Nellie”, a 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost “Taj Mahal”, is always a crowd-pleaser. Originally in the collection of the Maharaja of Nabha, the car has enjoyed a colourful history, and is the only surviving pre-1914 Indian trials car. Amazingly with only two owners since new, “Nellie” also received top honours in her class at the 2019 London Concours d’Elegance.
“In leading with The Maharaja Cars, Auto Royale really has sprinted of the barriers with a line-up of truly world-standard vintage and pre-war cars” said Event Director, Paul Mathers. “In more than 10 years of directing concours, this is literally one of the finest displays I’ve ever had the privilege to assist in curating. To think that this is only one of the many highlights we have to offer, I really look forward to our fellow concours enthusiasts embracing this newest event on their calendar”.
The inaugural Auto Royale will take place at Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury from Friday the 16th to Sunday the 18th of July 2021. More than 100 rare and collectable cars will grace the lawns of the former Rothschild pile, complemented by a motoring expo with more than 70 exhibitors, award-winning street food concessions, three bars, live entertainment and VIP hospitality.