100 years of royal ride

Old is gold

The timeless beauty has turned 100. A symbol of elegance and regal splendor, the 1912 model Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Throne car has become the cynosure of all eyes as it stands majestically inside a specially designed glass showcase.

The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Throne

Endowed with a rich canary yellow body, gold mountings, lights and roof dome finished in silver, this priceless creation was ordered in 1911 by the Nizam of Hyderabad VI, Mir Mehboob Ali Khan.

However, Mehboob could not live to enjoy the drive. The made-to-order car was delivered to the rulers of Hyderabad after his death in 1912. It was Nizam VII, Mir Osman Ali Khan, then hailed as the richest man in the world, used the limousine for official purpose.

The Rolls Royce, which was the first car to be imported into the City of Pearls, is now on display for the visitors at Chowmahalla Palace of the Nizams.

“We do not have any records to show at what price the Rolls-Royce car was purchased at that time. One cannot give the  exact value for such antique piece, some say it could be worth Rs 20 crore,” the Director of Chowmahalla Palace G Kishan Rao said.

During his career of 26 years, the Nizam travelled in the car sparingly. He used it only on ceremonial occasions. As a result, this 100-year-old car ran only 356 miles.

The car which bears a chassis number 2117, and a 40/50 horse power engine capacity that gives a mileage of eight miles per gallon, is a 1912 make.

The order was placed with noted coach builder Barkers of Edinburgh, who were asked to develop a special body which was to epitomise a throne on wheels while retaining the regal splendour of the Nizam's grand court.

The original body was painted in a rich canary yellow with gold mountings and interiors were of gold silk and brocade upholstery with lace and silk curtains. The car has two seats in the back with separate seats for security guards. The driver cabin is separated by a glass panel.

It was maintained by the Hyderabad State Railway at its garage. After the Nizam’s death, it was lying in ruins at the Chiran Fort Palace until three years ago, when Ameenuddin Khan, administrator of the Nizam's private estate, took up the restoration work.

The task of restoring the royal car was entrusted to Rana Manvendra Singh Barwani of Indore—the famous curator of vintage cars. It has now been restored in its original rich canary yellow with gold mountings, laced silk curtains, and special upholstery from France, priced over Rs 50 lakh.

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