Overview

  • Features: Vintage and classic car collection of the Maharanas of Udaipur
  • Opening Times: 9am to 9pm, daily
  • Best Time to Visit: Late October to early March
  • Duration: 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Travelled By: Auto rickshaw
  • Cost: Rs 150 (incl refreshments), incl lunch / dinner Rs 300
  • Address: Garden Hotel, Garden Road, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
  • Type: Museum

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Summary

The Vintage Car Museum Udaipur is the Vintage & Classic Car Collection of the Maharanas of Udaipur, past and present. The pick of the Collection are the four Rolls Royce’s of which one has won awards while another was used in the James Bond classic Octopussy. Other classics such as a Cadillac Convertible has been used by dignitaries on their visit to Udaipur.

Car Enthusiasts Must Visit Vintage Car Museum Udaipur

 

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Being car enthusiasts, we didn’t miss the opportunity to visit the Vintage Car Museum Udaipur while in town. The Vintage & Classic Car Collection has been a popular attraction in the city of Udaipur ever since it was inaugurated in 2000. The grand limousines and cars showcased in the Collection belong to the Maharanas of Mewar both past and present. Despite some vehicles being over seventy years old, each one has been painstakingly restored so that they are still in perfect working condition. The Collection has been curated for the benefit of vintage car lovers from India and all over the world.

 

Vintage Car Collection Udaipur

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The collection is housed in the original former Mewar State Motor Garage, a glorious setting for such a fine assortment of vehicles. The bougainvillea-coated Garden Hotel and Restaurant is also contained within the garage’s grounds. The semi-circular motor garage with its forecourt is housed within a greater courtyard, creating a pleasant hideaway from the bustle of the streets. One of the original Shell petrol pump is not only still standing, but also in a usable condition. The motor garage itself was built at a time when the only cars in town belonged to the Mewar State Motor Garage.

The 20 cars exhibited have all belonged to Udaipur’s previous three Maharanas, each of whom has shown himself to be an avid motoring enthusiast. Below is a list of the classic cars in the collection with beautiful pictures of each one.

 

 

Rolls Royce at Vintage Car Museum Udaipur

 

The picks of the exhibits on display are the magnificent set of four Rolls-Royce’s.

Rolls Royce was the preferred car for indian Royalty between 1907 and 1947. A total of 36,000 Rolls Royce were produced in Britain out of which 1,000 were exported to India.

The craze for the luxury car started in 1908 when the Maharaja of Gwalior bought a Rolls Royce that won the Bombay-Kolhapur rally. Soon it became a status symbol. The Maharaja of Patiala owned 38 and Nawanagar had a garage that could hold 450 cars, including 8 Royce’s. The Nizam of Hyderabad, one of the world’s richest men, had 50 Rolls Royce’s. In Baroda, the Maharaja had the interiors of his Rolls plated with 24-carat gold and fitted with solid silver door handles. A number of Rolls Royce’s were also adapted to serve on shikaar (hunting). These had footboards on which servants could stand as the car raced through the jungle and were fitted with a high power ‘shooting lamp’ to dazzle the animals.

 

 

ROLLS ROYCE 20 (1924) 

 

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The Rolls Royce that deserves special mention is the 1924 Rolls-Royce 20 H.P which was on display in the middle of the courtyard. This car received the ‘Classic Award’ in the the ‘Best of Class Category at the Cartier Concours d’Elegance’ 2008 in Mumbai. It was also the winner of ‘The Lucius Beebe Trophy’ at the ’62nd Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance’ 2012 in California, USA.

 

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Brief History

Between 1908 and 1940 the Rolls Royce car was made in their Derby factory where the car itself was designed by Royce.

At this time (up until the end of the Second World War) the customer chose the body that suited his needs best and a coachbuilder was employed to supply it. Barker, of South Audley Street in London was one of the top coachbuilders at that time and they supplied the unique coachwork for GLK 21.

 

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Barker gave an aerodynamic shape to the windscreen, which was innovative and also a very rare feature of contemporary bodies.

Chassis GLK 21 was an early model that started life with rear wheel brakes only. It wasn’t until 1924 that the system was improved by the fitting of front wheel brakes and mechanical servo assistance.

This model was also equipped with headlamps that could be manually adjusted by a lever that was next to the driver. The attention to detail in these early pre-war luxury cars was superb.

 

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About the Restoration

Rolls – Royce GLK 21 was one of the first Rolls Royce cars acquired by The House of Mewar. The restoration work started in 1999 at The Palace of the Vintage & Classic Car Collection, Udaipur, it was an extremely challenging undertaking! The project was supported by experts from Hofmanns of Henley UK, a specialist mechanical engineering workshop.

The car required a complete overhaul of the engine and gear box which was carried out in Udaipur with the help of Mr. Graham Ashley-Carter of Hofmanns of Henley and Mr. Andrew Wood, an engineering expert and founder of UK Rolls Royce specialist company P & A Wood. A number of major parts including the radiator were sent to London for repair. New tires for the car were sourced from New Zealand.

 

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Once the mechanical work and body repairs had been done, the car was painted in N. C powder blue. The mudguards were painted dark blue and the wheels black. All chrome work was re-plated and the seats reupholstered in leather. It has taken almost five years to complete this work.

The final phase involved a complete rewiring of the electrics and was carried out in October 2005 during a visit to Udaipur by Mr. Winston Teague and Mr. David Aston of Hoffmans of Henley. Soon after this work the car was fired up for the first time in many years and is now in regular use.

 

 

ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM II

 

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The other popular car in the Collection is a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II 40-50 HP that was bought by the 76th Custodian House of Mewar, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur.

The Rolls Royce Phantom II was used in the James Bond film Octopussy which was largely filmed in Udaipur.

Amongst all four models, the 1934 Phantom II is considered to be the most prized in the Rolls Royce family of cars. The car is still in immaculate condition and has undergone restoration work including rewiring and clutch related work.

The Phantom II has a chassis lubrication system operated by a foot pump inside the car so the driver can lubricate the chassis while he is driving the car.

 

 

OTHER ROLLS ROYCE CARS

 

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There is a 1934 Rolls-Royce 20-25 H.P that was originally a limousine and was later converted into a pick-up by Maharana Bhagawat Singh mainly to transport the cricket team to and from the grounds.

There is also a 1930/31 Rolls-Royce 20-25 H.P (picture above) that was originally a Tourer and was later converted to Shooting Brake by Maharana Bhagawat Singh.

Today the thought of shooting or bussing a cricket team in a Rolls Royce would seem a little extreme, but it is precisely this history that makes these cars so alluring.

 

 

Cadillacs at Vintage Car Museum Udaipur

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The garage also houses two enormous 1938 Cadillacs that are still used on special occasions and come as a pair. The four-door Convertible is the Maharana’s car, while the saloon is for the use of the Maharani, hence the curtains in the rear windows. Family crests adorn the rear doors of both Cadillacs, adding a further royal touch to these two majestic automobiles.

The House of Mewar was amongst the first to own a pair of Cadillacs – the Convertible and the Saloon. The Cadillac Convertible is still in operation. It is used by Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur for important functions such as regal ceremonies and festivals like Ashwa Pooja, Dussehra and Holika Dahan. The Cadillac Saloon on the other hand, is used by the Maharani as her personal car.

The Cadillac Convertible has a very rich history. It was the car used during the visits to Udaipur of Her Majesty the Queen of England in 1960, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy in 1963 and His Majesty, the Shah of Iran in 1968.

 

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Vintage Sports Cars at Udaipur Vintage Car Museum

 

MG-TC 1946

 

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Of the remainder of the collection the bright red 1946 MG-TC convertible stands out. For lovers of sports cars seeing this speed machine is a must.

After the war, Morris resumed car production in 1945 but concentrated their efforts on the new MG-TC which was a single two-seater car powered with 1250 c.c. four cylinder engine with twin S.U. carburetor. The car could reach a maximum speed of 70 mph taking 15 seconds to reach 50 mph. The car was stylish with wire wheels, a long bonnet and expansive radiator grill; slab petrol tank exposed at the back and of course its bright red colour that became a trade mark for sports cars.

The TC rapidly became MG’s biggest selling model at the time and by 1949 the production lines were manufacturing 10,000 vehicles. A third of which were sold in Britain with some 2000 earmarked for the export market. In 1946, forty nine MG-TC were sold to India. Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur purchased the MG-TC from Hyderabad in early 70’s.

It has taken mechanics and technicians over two years (between 2002 – 2004) to restore the car to its former glory as the entire body of the car had to be dissembled.

 

 

FORD-A STANDARD PHAETON 1930

 

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Most of the other cars are rather more sedate. Yet vehicles such as the 1930 Ford-A Convertible or the Vauxhall-12 are no less remarkable because they have so much more panache than the cars now produced by these companies. They are delightful examples of the golden age of motoring.

 

 

Other Vehicles in the Vintage Car Collection in Udaipur

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Also on exhibition were a couple of horse drawn carriages. These were vintage, in excellent condition, and looked like they could be used in the present day.

There were also a couple of American army jeeps that were part of the Vintage & Classic Car Collection.

Below is a picture of an American army jeep from World War II. This could have been used in the Vietnam or Korean Wars; unfortunately there weren’t detailed descriptions for the jeeps.

 

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These were some of the cars on display at the Vintage Car Museum Udaipur. There were also cars from Buick, Ford and Mercedes, as well as a Chevrolet truck and bus.

If you’re a motoring and car enthusiast, definitely make your way to the Vintage Car Museum Udaipur to check out the Vintage & Classic Car Collection of the Maharanas of Udaipur.  It is a unique and impressive collection of old yet beautiful cars.

 

Vintage Car Museum Udaipur Timings

The Vintage Car Museum Udaipur is open from 9 am to 9 pm daily. It takes about an hour to fully appreciate the classic car collection here; however, you can add a lunch or dinner package to your ticket price which is highly recommended as the meal is provided by the beautiful and stunning Garden Hotel which is located within the grounds.

 

Tell us what you think. What is your favourite car from the Vintage Car Collection in Udaipur? 

We love to hear from you so please leave your comments below.