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Maharaja’s Vintage Rolls-Royce Takes a Rollicking Ride from Royal Weddings to World Tours!

1927 Classic Rolls-Royce 20hp Tourer Transforms from Maharaja’s Gift to Global Wanderer, Fetching a Majestic Sum at Auction!

In a tale as captivating as the vehicle itself, the 1927 Rolls-Royce 20hp Tourer, once a wedding present from The Maharaja of Burdwan (Also called Bardhaman Raj), has journeyed through time and geography, finally coming to rest under the gavel at a Bonhams auction for a princely sum of £69,700 (approximately INR 72.96 lakh).

Originally commissioned as a nuptial gift by The Maharaja of Burdwan, a prominent figure in Bengal, India, this Rolls-Royce isn’t just any car. It’s a testament to post-WWI luxury and innovation, embodying the era’s shift towards smaller, more affordable cars without sacrificing the craftsmanship Rolls-Royce is renowned for. Described by Edward Eves in ‘Rolls-Royce, 75 Years of Motoring Excellence’ as a model that simplified construction yet maintained impeccable standards, this car is a perfect blend of history and engineering marvel.

The journey of this majestic vehicle is as intriguing as its origin. In 1958, an American enthusiast, Mr. Whittingham, acquired it in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and embarked on an epic road trip, driving it overland to Genoa, Italy, before shipping it to New York. From there, it cruised across the USA to Mr. Whittingham’s home in Los Angeles, California.

The Rolls underwent restoration in the UK in 1987, and its excellence was recognized with top honors at the RREC’s Annual Rally in 1991, followed by another win in 1994 as the best Hooper-bodied car of the show. In 2006, it claimed the ‘Best in Show’ award at the RREC’s South of England Rally, proving that like fine wine, it only got better with age.

This Hooper & Co-coachworked beauty is not just a vehicle but a moving museum piece. It boasts original features like Stephen Grebel headlamps, step lights, window glass inside the doors, Auster screen, occasional seats, a three-piece windscreen, luggage rack and cases, and a Grebel ‘tiger lamp’ on the running board. Its cream/green finish and black leather interior exude timeless elegance.

The car’s final twist in its extraordinary journey came in December 2009, when it was sold at a Bonhams auction. This sale marked not just a transaction but the passage of a piece of automotive and cultural history into new hands. From royal weddings in Bengal to a cross-continental odyssey and prestigious awards, the 1927 Rolls-Royce 20hp Tourer’s journey is a story of timeless elegance and enduring legacy, much like the Maharaja who once owned it.

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