Nizam's Rolls Royce Turns 100
Hyderabad, December 12: This Rolls Royce may not be able to give that 'magic carpet ride' like the recently launched Ghost but it definitely sweeps you off your feet. Endowed with a rich canary yellow body, gold mountings, lights and roof dome finished in silver, this priceless beauty is all set for a centenary next month. Authorities at the Chowmahalla Palace where the Nizam's Rolls Royce is on display in the vintage car shed are now planning to celebrate 100 years of the four-wheeler in a big way.
Made-to-order in 1911 on a London-Edinburgh chassis and restored at a princely sum of around Rs. 1.5- 2 crore, it was lying in ruins until about three years ago at the Chiran Fort. "It was in a terrible condition, populated with rats and moles. The tyres had gone soft. It took me over a year to convince the family to get it restored and put it on display," says Dr Ameenuddin Khan, administrator of the Nizam's private estate. However, he added that Mir Osman Ali Khan was fond of Humber cars and had five to six of them in his mighty collection.
"As per the records available, Nizam VI had ordered the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Throne Car," says G Kishan Rao, director, Chowmahalla Palace. Rao says the car with many special features was later re-bodied to reflect a 1930's style by the Nizams railway workshop sometime in 1934. But it was restored and brought back to its original form and style by Manvendra Singh Barwani of Indore. While there is no record of the car's cost when the Nizam purchased it, its vintage worth is estimated to be over Rs. 20 crore.
Authorities at Chowmahalla Palace say the luxury car was ordered by sixth Nizam, Mehboob Ali Pasha, who died before it was delivered. Later on, the car was sparingly used by Nizam VII only for ceremonial occasions and hence, it had done just 356 miles. The car has bagged "Best of Class Prize" in the Rolls Royce Class and "Best of Show the Concour de Elegance Prize" in the Cartier Travel with Style Concour de Elegance held at Delhi in March this year. It has been on display at Chowmahalla Palace since April this year.
Nizams and Their Luxury Cars
There are several anecdotes and rumours that have become almost legendary about the Rolls Royce and the Nizams. "It is said that the company had questioned his capacity to purchase the car. This, to the richest man in the world," says a senior staffer at Chowmahalla. After a century, the same company, Rolls Royce Motor Cars, announced opening of a dealership in the city a few days ago. That the seventh Nizam owned 50 Rolls Royce cars is also an unverified piece of history. City historians and experts note there is no evidence that the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan owned 50 Rolls Royce cars and it is impossible to verify history of this kind. But he owned luxury cars by the dozen, as was reported in journals then.
The last of the city's Nizams do not move around in the famed Rolls Royce. Mukkarram Jah, the Turkey-based last Nizam of Hyderabad, owns a 40-year-old Nissan which is parked at the Chiran palace along with two jeeps.
Author: Bushra Baseerat
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