The people who once ruled over a part of Rajasthan, the royal family of Mewar have been known to be car aficionados. Generations of their family have travelled on some of the finest cars you could buy. The Royal family still continues to own most of these cars to this date, which is currently on display at the Vintage and Classic Car Museum in Udaipur. For an entry fee of INR 350, anyone can enter this space, which once used to be the personal garage of the Maharajas and have a look at all these cars, once ferrying the royal family, preserved all these years.
With quite a few numbers of cars, from different manufacturers and places, a petrolhead could easily spend a whole day just looking at all these cars. Some of them also still have the original paint they were ordered with all these years ago. The collection includes British cars like Austin, Herald, Triumph, MG and of course, Rolls Royce. German brand Mercedes also makes the cut in this garage, with models like the W124, W110 and more on display. American cars like Caddilacs & Buicks too were also loved by the Royals. While every car parked comes with a placard of information, we’d love to talk about some of our favourites from the lot, do read ahead.
Ford Model A
Everybody knows about the Ford Model T, the car that made people shift from horse driven carriages to the modern automobile. After a successful run for almost 18 years, the car had to be replaced. Ford introduced the Model A as its successor in the year of 1927. This particular car, in the Maharaja’s collection, is a 1930 model and was ordered in the standard Phaeton body style. Equipped with a 3.3-litre inline 4 engine, this car made 24.3 hp of peak power.
Rolls Royce 20 HP
Introduced in the year of 1922 and sold till 1929, the 20 HP was, dare I say it, and entry-level Rolls Royce of the time period. During those days, Rolls Royce would just manufacture the chassis and mechanical parts of the car, and the body had to be sent to a coachbuilder, who would offer different styles of bodywork to suit the taste of the owners. This particular example from 1924, was sent to renowned coachbuilder Barker where it was given a Tourer style body. This particular car has also been the winner of the Classic Award in the best in class category at the Cartier Concours d’Elegance held in Mumbai in 2008. The car also won ‘The Lucius Beebe Trophy’ at the 62nd Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2012 in California.
Austin A55 Cambridge
Produced from 1954 and sold in various generations till 1971, the Cambridge was a four-door sedan sold by the Austin Motor Company. The A55 Mark-I model was introduced in the year of 1957 and the royal family picked one up in the year of 1961. This car came with a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder engine, which got a higher compression ration than its previous models, generating 51 horses.
Mercedes Benz W110
The first series of Mercedes cars to undergo serious amounts of crash tests for occupant safety, the W110 series was built from 1961 to 1968. On display here, we see the second series, 1966 200 model. This car used a 1.9-litre, single overhead cam, inline-4 petrol engine which generated a healthy 75 horses.
Mercedes Benz W124
The first car to be referred to as the E-Class, a very popular car in the market today, the W124 chassis was made from 1984 to 1995. A pioneer car in many fronts, this was one of the first Mercedes models to come with a standard driver-side airbag and an optional passenger airbag. It also came with height adjustable seat belts and pretensioners for the front row of passengers. This particular model, perhaps the youngest in the collection, from 1989, came with a 3-litre inline six diesel engine, generating 84 hp.
Apart from cars, the museum also showcases a number of carriages which were used by the Kings and Queens before cars were invented. The museum also provides a glimpse of the future, with a number of high-tech solar-powered cycles on display. If you happen to be in Udaipur, we do recommend you visit this place and find out more about the rich automotive history of India. Linked below is an extensive image gallery of the various cars on display at the museum, do have a look.