Indian Maharajahs, their quirks and Rolls Royce cars - bewildering facts! - 03

The story of Indian Maharajahs and rulers is the story of excess and extravaganza, one may say it was a sort of publicity bonanza for them. Eccentricity galore, each ruler has his own quirks when customizing RR cars. A few rulers had the car designed to  carry their cricketing gear, others their hunting gear, etc. For many Indian Maharajahs and Nawabs, the stylish Rolls is their preferred marque, accounting for 20% of RR company's total production before 
Phantom III 1937
the Maharajah of Rajpipla
1924 RR 20 HP for the Maharaja of
Indian Maharajahs' quirks and their passion for Rolls Royce cars (contd):

01.  One Maharajah  preferred better visibility while going on a royal tour of the town. He wanted cabriolet versions to enable him to sit on a raised seat in the back of the car. This would help his subjects take a good look at him and his extravagant royal regalia.

02. . Other rulers preferred privacy in public while travelling with  their Maharanis. They had the curtains installed inside the car so that the beautiful Maharanis  would avoid the roadside Casanova's  curious stare while in the Purdah model car.

03.  The Maharajah of Bharatpur  is believed to have owned as many as 200 Rolls-Royce cars at one point (citation needed). It is said that when RR mechanics failed to give service  as per his wish on time, the ruler would, in rage, turn some of his Rolls-Royce cars into garbage vehicles. So that RR company wont make the mistake again.

04,. Writer Murad Ali Baig has another interesting story and this is about the Travancore Princely state, S. India. "A 1933 Rolls-Royce 20/30 (Sedanca de Ville) that belonged to Maharani Sethu Parvati Bai of Travancore had a small stool on the floor. On it sat a dwarf who massaged the queen's legs," So, occasionally the servants had to be kept invisible to the scoop-hungry media and  curious public.

05. The Maharajah of Darbhanga, a teetotaller chose a novel way to please his better-half. Upon his wish, Roll-Royce Phantom  1927 was converted into a “drinking car” for his Maharani. Fitted with  bar accessories like  crystal glasses and decanters, it was meant for her to be driven around the town while she freely indulged herself to burp up frustration and ennui  caused by royal gossips and surmises.

06. John Fasal, Rolls-Royce historian and restorer based in the UK, had close a contact with Indian rulers and aristocrats for a few decades. The 70 plus year old man  visited India 25 times to supply spares to RR cars. According to him, Indian rulers' quirks fascinated him and gave him a good laugh. He mentioned, "In the 1930s, Maharajah Bhupinder Singh of Patiala had the largest RR fleet in India, a total of 44 cars", not even the Hyderabad Nizam. The Nizam  "possessed only one and it was driven for just 300 plus  miles".

07. John M. Faisal further mentioned that in all, before 1947, a total of  tailor-made 900 Rolls-Royce cars were sold to Indian princes to take care of their various needs and to match their taste and idiosyncrasies

08. RR company could take care the needs of handicapped Maharajah as well, if he was ready to pay extra money. The Maharajah of Udaipur, Arvind Mewar, mentioned that his physically handicapped grandfather, ordered RR with  the controls set in the steering wheel so that he could drive comfortably. Ruler of Mewar said his family in the 1940s had  10 of them.

09. In India Mumbai-based Pranlal Bhogilal, a mill-owner  is believed to have the largest number - about 65 in his collection of some 200 plus cars cars. His collection attracts lots of people.

10. One Maharani  who owned a fine-looking RR,  was not happy with her kingdoms' lack of good road network to ride her car. So, she had to be content with riding up and down over  a 100m short stretch of paved roads  till  she finished her special drink - gin.

11."The greatest show on the earth" - the Delhi Darbar of 1912 -  the coronation of King George V in India under the direct management of Lord and lady  Curzon , gave a great boost to the RR company, opening up a vast marketing opportunity. The media took the event across the globe watched by millions of people. The motor company had  more than 200 Rolls Royce cars  on display. It was a blessing in disguise for the young company.The company grabbed the opportunity presented on a silver platter and since then, the company's prestige  had begun to show upward mobility.

12.  Maharajah of Jamnagar went one step ahead of other rulers and outshone their eccentricity.  He specifically wanted the RR company  to paint the car in pink color. Besides, he had sent  one of his wife's pink slippers to the company as a sample so that  his Phantom II was painted in exactly the right color shade to avoid his wife's  fret and fume.