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

In a blend of history and horsepower, the 1924 Vauxhall 30/98hp OE Velox Tourer, once the pride of Maharajah Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, has zoomed into the spotlight again. This vintage marvel, boasting coachwork by Vauxhall Motors, revved up a storm at the Bonhams auction in December 2018, fetching a jaw-dropping INR 4.59 crore.

From its sleek chassis (No. OE115) to its distinguished registration (EL 1063), the Vauxhall is more than a car; it’s a testament to a bygone era of grandeur. This particular model, renowned among car enthusiasts for its unique features and remarkable originality, also carries a well-documented history, adding layers to its already rich pedigree.

But what makes this car, fondly known as ‘OE115’, stand out in the world of vintage automobiles? It’s not just its association with Maharajah Hari Singh, a ruler known for his progressive reforms, but also its exceptional design and performance capabilities that outshone contemporaries like the 3-Litre Bentleys.

The brainchild of Laurence Pomeroy, Vauxhall’s Chief Engineer, the 30/98 was an early example of the ‘big engine/lightweight car’ formula. With a 4½-litre, four-cylinder, side-valve engine, this machine was a force to be reckoned with, capable of hitting speeds up to 85mph and, in racing trim, exceeding 100mph.

This particular 30/98 OE model, ordered by the Maharajah himself, came with whimsical yet non-functional quirks like a handbrake on the passenger’s side and a driver’s side door. It even featured a split windscreen and ‘ship’s ventilators’ on the scuttle, making it a unique specimen in the Vauxhall lineup.

The car’s journey is as fascinating as its engineering, having changed hands from Indian royalty to an American artist and then to various collectors in the USA before making its way back to the UK. Throughout its life, ‘OE115’ has been lovingly maintained, participating in numerous vintage car events and resting in prestigious collections.

Now, as it finds a new home post the Bonhams auction, this Vauxhall 30/98hp OE Velox Tourer continues to be a symbol of luxury, history, and unparalleled engineering – a true jewel in the crown of vintage automobiles.

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