Real life review & news

Chat with us

Have a question, comment, or concern? Our dedicated team of experts is ready to hear and assist you. Reach us through our social media, phone, or live chat.

You can email us on,

Maharaja’s Rolling Palace: The Tale of a Vintage Rolls-Royce Phantom with a Hidden Gun Compartment

In the annals of automotive history, few tales are as intriguing as the journey of the 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I, once the prized possession of the Maharaja of Pithapuram. This luxurious chariot, a blend of British engineering and royal Indian flamboyance, recently came up for auction at Bonhams in Paris, boasting a hefty price tag of INR 1.97 crore.

Delivered fresh off the assembly line to the Maharaja, this Rolls-Royce Phantom I, chassis number ’57EF’, embarked on its majestic journey on 12th April 1927. Crafted by Hooper & Co, the esteemed London-based carriage makers to Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, this automobile is a masterpiece of its era.

Adorned with a ‘Parso-Glaze’ paint finish, the car’s exterior is a sight to behold, featuring a raked, four-piece windscreen, louvered bonnet, and domed wings. The twin side-mounted spare wheels, ‘nautical’ scuttle vents, Stephen Grebel headlights, and a rear luggage rack add to its grandeur. An intriguing feature is the side screens that can be lowered into the doors, a novel concept at the time.

The interior of this rolling palace is where the Maharaja’s touch is most evident. Ahead of the driver lies an aluminium dashboard with silver-faced instruments and an ivory-coloured steering wheel. Not to be missed are the pleated upholstery, drinks cabinet, occasional rear seats, and a card case. Adding a dash of intrigue, the original order specified a ‘receptacle for revolver between front seat cushions and flap to cover’, a nod to the turbulent times in late 1920s India.

The Phantom’s journey didn’t end with the Maharaja. It found its way to the USA, only to be repatriated in 1989 by Rolls-Royce connoisseur, Charles Howard. Registered in the UK on 25th April 1991 as ‘DS 8933’, the car underwent extensive restoration and was a showstopper at the Pebble Beach World Classic Auto Exposition in 1993. Its elegance caught the eye of another notable owner, Thomas Barrett III of Scotsdale, Arizona.

Today, the Phantom stands resplendent in Carlton Grey livery and red leather interior, just as it did in Pebble Beach ’93. Its journey from a royal Indian garage to a revered collectible in the UK is a testament to its timeless allure. This unique and beautiful Phantom, with its fascinating history, is indeed a jewel in the crown of any car collection.

Share this article
Shareable URL
Prev Post

Hyundai Motors Races into the Heart of Gurugram with ‘Progress for Humanity’ Marathon Madness

Next Post

Royal Ride Rolls in Riches: J&K Maharajah’s 1924 Vauxhall Fetched a Fortune at Auction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read next