Automobiles Of The Maharajas


Author: Sharada Dwivedi
Date of Publication: 2003

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SKU: BB5173 Categories: ,


Until Independence in 1947 when India became free of British governance, two-fifths of the Indian sub-continent comprised over 565 princely states ruled by Maharajas Rajas, Ranas, Jams, Nawabs, Mirs and one Nizam, who was once considered the wealthiest man in the world. Collectively, they were called the Indian Princes – for Kings they were not sanctioned to be while Britannia ruled the waves, despite the fact that the family trees of many rulers were more ancient than that of the British monarchy.

Around fifty years before Independence when the horseless carriage – as the automobile was defined in archaic terms made its way to India, it revolutionised the luxurious lifestyles of Indian royalty. In the new-fangled, four-wheeled mode of transport, the fabled Maharajas discovered an enthralling new passion that was to endure for many decades.

Special cars and contoured bodies were fabricated by the manufacturers or coachbuilders to the specifications of royalty, often catering to their incredible eccentricities. For the Maharajas, luxury motorcars became the symbols of power and eventually went to vintage car museums, others to private collectors and still others to were dumped on scrap heaps.

A few survived in the garages of the royal palaces; some were looked after with love and care while others corroded or simply fell apart and were damaged beyond recognition Each of those amazing and unique cars that came to India, however, had an incredible tale to tell – of ceremonial processions and shikar, of the close contact the ruler had with his people, of intrigues and assignations, of the exploits of young princes or the movements of beautiful princesses sequestered in or the confines of the system known as purdah.

This book attempts to present some of these wonderful stories and legends, many heard from royal automobile owners or found in published records, together with a wealth of of images.

Like the vintage cars themselves, some images are in pristine condition, others have aged and mellowed through time, but despite their deterioration, still provide a rare visual delight and a unique insight into a mechanical phenomenon that still generates a distinct awe and wonderment in the eyes of the beholder!

Hardback in excellent condition throughout, some slight bumping to corners of thi s large format book. Dust cover also very clean and bright.

Additional information

Weight 2.2 kg
Dimensions 30 × 29 × 2.5 cm