Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The first Rolls-Royce owned by Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla

The car partly visible in the background is the first Rolls-Royce owned by Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla, a Silver Ghost 1913.

Maharaja Vijaysinhji  of Rajpipla - with a passion for cars like his father, Maharana Chhatrasinhji - bought several of the leading makes. The Delhi Durbar of 1911 and the famous Alpine test of 1913 - passed effortlessly by the Silver Ghost - fuelled interest in Rolls-Royce cars in India. Having succeeded to the gadi of Rajpipla in 1915, the young ruler was on the lookout for a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. He found a 1913 model in Calcutta, then owned by Charles W. Tosh who had taken delivery of the car in April 1914 in London where it carried the UK registration R-1956. This Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 40/50 hp 1913, chassis no. 16 CA, carried torpedo phaeton tourer coachwork (convertible in common parlance) by Barker, as depicted on page 37 of the Barker sales catalogue. In the hands of the new royal owner, a RAJPIPLA No. 3 red number-plate was put on this iconic automobile. Thus began Maharaja Vijaysinhji’s fascination for Rolls-Royce cars, owning twelve of them over the next three-and-a-half decades.

The lead car in the photograph is a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 1921. Behind it is a Rolls-Royce 20 hp (Baby Rolls) 1922. More about these Rajpipla cars later.

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