Thursday, 28 July 2011

Kota Maharaja's 'Tiger Car' to go under hammer

One of the most opulent cars built, a brilliant red and chromeRolls-Royce customized with a machine gun for Umed Singh II, the erstwhile Maharaja of Kota, is now up for auction at Bonhams , a privately-owned British auction house. 

The car that is said to have been used by the maharaja for hunting tigers has tall tyres that were designed to cross rough terrain and the low-gearing ratio that allowed the huge vehicle to creep through mud and bush. 

According to information available from London-based auction house Bonhams, one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques, Tiger Car" as the vehicle is called, is estimated to fetch between $750,000 and $1 million. 

Equipped with powerful brass searchlights that swing side to side and an arsenal of animal killing weaponry, the 1925 Torpedo Tourer or "Tiger Car" will be among six prewar Rolls-Royce andBentley up for grabs at the Bonhams annual auction inCalifornia on August 18-19 in the category 'Exceptional Motorcars, Motorcycles and Automobilia.' 

The handmade automobile commissioned by the maharajah, also known as SahibBahudur Singh, is powered by a 8-litre , 6-cylinder engine with dual spark ignition set to a low gearing ratio that allowed it to creep powerfully through the jungles of Rajasthan. 

Umed Singh II, who ruled Kota from 1889 to 1940, was an avid hunter . For its final construction, the Rolls-Royce chassis was sent toBarker & Company, Ltd. for final coachwork and then shipped toBombay as a dedicated hunting car for the maharajah. 

According to Nitin Dossa president Vintage & Classic Cars Club of India, Mumbai, "It's a rare car that was sold by the royal family long back, though I wonder how the maharaja could sell it. These are prized collections that are sold for a song and the Indian government should bring back the heritage memorabilia." 

The Rolls-Royce Tourer was recently sold to the Faulknor family of the San Francisco Bay Area and was previously owned and exhibited by Rubin Jurman, 83, Los Gatos, CA. 

In an earlier tour of the vehicle, Jurman wrote, "Among unique styling cues in the rich coachwork, the Torpedo model integrated nautical themes, including gently-rounded body sides, a pointed bow motif on the hood and the working nautical ventilators on the cowl. The vehicle is loaded with lights, including a single powerful central searchlight that swings side to side and two front headlamps that move up and down. There is a similar set up in the rear.


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