Three cars owned by businessman Yohan Poonawalla won prestigious awards at the recently concluded Salon Prive Concours d’Elegance in the United Kingdom. Salon Prive Concours d’Elegance was held at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire from September 1st to September 5th and is one of the world’s leading automotive events.
The award-winning cars owned by Poonawalla include the 1927 Rolls-Royce 20HP Tourer and the 1949 Bentley Mk VI. The former was designed by Barker & Co. and won the Most Outstanding Body Design Award, while the latter was built by Hooper & Co. and won the Duke of Marlborough Award.
In an interview with OurIndia in the UK, Poonawalla said: “These cars represent India’s rich automotive tradition. It is indeed a proud moment for all participants. I am very happy to be able to showcase these cars in the UK. This is them. This is the first time since I went to India more than 70 years ago.” Poonawalla’s 1979 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Limousine (Mulliner Park Ward) also won a special award at this event.
1927 Rolls-Royce 20HP station wagon
The Rolls-Royce 20HP is the first car of its kind to be brought to India and used as a test or demonstration car. The elegant four-door station wagon is equipped with some unique features. These include ivory steering wheels, controls and knobs; Stephen Grebel hunting lights and double windshields with double aprons. The car was originally purchased by Haidar Muhammad Yakut Khan of Sachin, a princely state affiliated to the Surat Institution, and his personal monogram was hand-painted on the door . It is also equipped with three spare wheels-two on the side and one on the back.
1949 Bentley Mk VI
On the other hand, Bentley Mk VI belongs to Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, the Maharaja of Mysore, and is nicknamed “Rhubarb and Custard car” because of its red and cream color scheme. The Bentley, restored by Allan Almeida in Mumbai, has won many awards, including the Best Performance Award in the 21st Gun Salute Competition in New Delhi in 2020 and the “People’s Vote for the second prize in similar competitions. The car has a plexiglass panel on the roof, cabinets behind the front seats, power windows, luminous trim, and sterling silver and 24k gold protective covers.
Mulliner Park Ward’s 1979 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI luxury sedan
The Burgundy Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine from Mulliner Park Ward is known as the ultimate Phantom. It is manufactured according to royal specifications and has been used as Queen Elizabeth’s car many times, including a state visit to Sweden in 1983. It has several features such as velvet carpet, curtains, cocktail cabinet, makeup mirror, electric rear seats and air conditioning.
Mohammed Luqman Ali Khan, an automotive historian and Concours consultant, said that the recognition of cars proves that historical cars that once belonged to the Indian royal family are becoming more and more popular. He said: “It is an absolute honor to see these legendary princes’ cars return to British soil.” “The passion for Indian car heritage is preserved by dedicated collectors, which is commendable.”