RR Phantom II 1934 "Star of India" named after famous 563 ct sapphire is a symbol of Rajkot Royal Family

1934 Rolls-Royce "Star of Indiac1.staticflickr.com

The 1934 Rolls-Royce "Star of India" is an extraordinary vehicle with a deep-rooted connection to Indian royalty, epitomizing the extravagance and sophistication of its era. Commissioned by Maharaja Dharmendra Sinhji Lakhajiraj of Rajkot, this custom-built Rolls-Royce Phantom II 40/50 HP Continental "All-Weather Convertible" stands out not just for its luxurious features but also for its historical significance and unique design tailored to the Maharaja’s needs.

Star of India, world's largest gem.i.pinimg.com

Above image; Former Maharajah of Rajkot Princely state, Gujarat named the RR Phantom II 1934 after the world's  largest gem-quality blue star sapphire 563 carat................

 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II "Star of Indiac.supercars.net

Opulence and Custom Design

The "Star of India" is distinguished by its saffron-colored paintwork, which symbolizes the purity of Hinduism. This vivid hue is complemented by the car's polished aluminum fenders and hood, designed to reflect the intense Indian heat, thus keeping the interior cooler. The dashboard is intricately marbled with saffron paste and finished with oak veneer, showcasing a blend of artistry and functionality.

1934 Rolls-Royce "Star of Indiac .supercars.net

Crest of Rajkot, RR 1934 dailymail.co.u

Above image:  Mandhata Sinhji Jadeja, a royal descendant of the original owner, repurchased it in 2010 for €644,000 at an RM Sotheby’s auction in Monaco. It is back at its original home Ranjit Vilas Palace after 42 years....................... 

Emblazoned with the crest of Rajkot, the car features a Sanskrit motto translating to "the one who fulfills the obligation of the happiness and welfare of his people is their ruler." This inscription reflects the Maharaja’s duty and the car's role as a symbol of his commitment to his subjects.

Practicality and Innovation

One of the most remarkable aspects of the "Star of India" is its practical design for hunting, a favored pastime of Indian royalty. The car includes a specially designed gun rack integrated into the chassis, allowing for hunting expeditions without compromising on luxury. Additionally, it has foldaway seats with lockable compartments, enabling the accommodation of up to eight people and securing valuable belongings during travel.

The car's lighting system was ahead of its time, featuring what would now be considered adaptive-curve lights. The headlights included fog lamps that followed the direction of the front wheels, and giant spotlights by the windscreen that could be manually directed, facilitating late-night hunting trips. This innovative design element set a precedent for modern automotive lighting systems found in contemporary vehicles like BMWs and Mercedes.

Historical Significance and Legacy

The "Star of India" holds a unique place in history as the last design overseen by Henry Royce before his death in 1933. Its association with significant historical figures, including Mahatma Gandhi and the Queen of England, further enhances its prestige. Initially sold in 1968 to British vintage car collector Bill Meredith-Owens, the car eventually made its homeward journey  when Mandhata Sinhji Jadeja, a descendant of the original owner, repurchased it in 2010 for €644,000 at an RM Sotheby’s auction in Monaco. This costly car symbolizes the opulence and innovation of Indian royalty, blending luxury with practical design elements

This vehicle is more than just a car; it represents the opulent lifestyles of Indian maharajas and their efforts to maintain status and decorum during the British colonial period. The Maharajas were known for their lavish expenditures, including vast collections of jewelry, multiple concubines, and luxurious cars like the Rolls-Royce. Despite their extravagant lifestyles, many were also dedicated to the welfare of their subjects.

Modern Relevance

The allure of Rolls-Royce cars continues in modern India, where descendants of royal families and affluent enthusiasts uphold the tradition of owning these luxury vehicles. The booming Indian economy has further fueled the demand for high-end cars, reflecting a legacy inherited from colonial times.

Source:  https://www.navrangindia.in/2017/12/rolls-royce-1934-then-costliest-car-in.html