The classic selection of 25 vintage cars at the Mewar State Motor Garage makes for a memorable heritage walk at the lake city of Udaipur
Possessing a vintage car is a matter of great honour and pride for most us, but, for a select few, it’s even more than that. It’s like a family tradition that’s to be preserved, a prized possession that cannot be parted from, a memory that reminds them of their first driving lessons, and it’s something that’s so precious and close to the heart that it cannot be sold or kept in hibernation in a garage. The owners go to great lengths to preserve these vintage beauties, but some, like the Maharanas of Mewar, make a museum out of their entire collection. Inaugurated in February 2000, the Vintage & Classic Car Collection, in the lake city of Udaipur, is a feast for the eyes for all discerning travellers and passionate gearheads. The age-old, grand limousines and cars exhibited in the Collection belong to the House of Mewar and are still in perfect running condition.
The iconic collection features all the vehicles possessed by the Maharanas of Mewar, past and present. Although some of the vehicles are extremely old, dating back to 90 years, each one of them has been painstakingly restored to ensure that they are in working condition.
The former Mewar State Motor Garage houses a fine assortment of vehicles, creating an awe-inspiring effect on the visitor. The semi-circular garage museum looks fashionable, housing these petite ‘grande dames’ in separate garages in the inner forecourt of the courtyard. What’s unique is the presence of one of the original Burmah Shell petrol pumps, used in the olden days, which is not only still standing, but also in running order. About 25 cars are part of the collection of this museum, and several are ceremonial cars used in the past for ‘Princely State Functions.’ The highlights of the collection include the four Rolls-Royces, including the 20HP that won a trophy at Pebble Beach in 2012. Other Rolls-Royces in the collection are a 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II with coachwork by Windovers London and a 1930/31 Rolls-Royce 20-25 HP with a tourer body by Hopper Fendex.
The collection also has two right-hand drive Cadillacs in excellent condition. One is a 1938/39 Cadillac Series 39-75, and the other is a 1938/39 Cadillac Series 39-61. There are also three original, low-mileage, Mercedes-Benzs – a 180 D from 1956, a 1960 Mercedes 190 and 1966 Mercedes-Benz 200. Other cars in the collection are a 1946 MG TC, 1946 Buick Super Eight, 1946 Vauxhall 12, 1946 Chevrolet Truck, 1947 Chevrolet Bus, 1950 Morris Tiger, 1930 Ford Model A1959 Morris - Minor 1000 (Traveller), 1961 Austin Cambridge, 1961 Standard Herald, 1942 Ford Jeep and another 1942 Ford Jeep with trolley.