The Vintage Car Museum in Udaipur, Rajasthan, is indisputably a prime destination, for anyone who is passionately in love with automobiles. The museum offers a rare opportunity to watch closely and learn more about the history of motor vehicles in India. The rare collection includes cars imported from Europe by the Maharanas of Mewar, as old as 100 years ago.
A tour around the museum is not just a visual treat, but a knowledgeable guide to the evolution of motor vehicles. The museum showcases the shift in the manufacturing of motor vehicles over the decades, both in terms of aesthetic design and technology. The museum has a wide range of antique models having various engines, gears transmission systems, fuel tank capacities, body designs and materials etc. The exquisite designs and unique hand-crafted interiors in some of the oldest models can bewitch anyone, even those with limited knowledge of automobile technology. But for motorheads, there is certainly more to explore.
For instance, the Rolls Royce 20 h.p. model of 1924 is not a ride that you would easily get to see anywhere in India. The grand old car catches your eye instantly with its regal elegance. This century-old gem of a car imported from London runs on a G1135 petrol engine with a 3+1 transmission system. With a fuel tank capacity of 14 gallons, the built quality of the coach is simply brilliant even by the present standards. Apart from repainting and maintenance of the wooden parts, not much has been altered to this oldest model in the museum.
A pair of Cadillacs built in 1938 – a convertible model and a saloon model, adds diversity to the collection. Cadillac & Co was the first to introduce water-cooled engines, and since then considered as one of the finest American luxury cars ever made. Requiring very little maintenance, both the cars are still used by the House of Mewar on auspicious occasions.
Rolls Royce Phantom II is another vehicle of attraction among the oldies. Parked in the special pavilion at the centre of the circular-shaped museum compound, this model imported from the UK in 1934, adorns a full black body with metal linings in the famous ‘Sedanca deVille’ body style. Still, in running condition, the old lady looks as elegant as an English queen of the early 20th century. There are two more Rolls Royce models – a 1934 Rolls-Royce 20-25 H.P and a 1930/31 Rolls-Royce 20-25 H.P. in the museum.
Ford Model A is another path-breaking model in the oldest car segment among the collection. More than five million cars of this model were produced, making it one of the most sought-after models of the era. The one in Udaipur sports a Milano red and black colour combination.
Buick Super of 1946, the four-door sedan resembles the modern-day cars. Buick brought about significant achievements in the history of car design. In comparison, the two-seater MG – TC manufactured in the same year, has little in common. The broad grille, long bonnet and fancy wheels give it a sporty look. One of the oldest in the sports car category, it adorns bright red colour which became a norm among later versions in the category.
The Vauxhall 12 of 1946 with a four-cylinder engine, dry plate clutch and four-speed transmission amazes you with its eloquent design as well. It also has a sliding sunroof.
Several vintage models of Mercedes, a 1937 limousine from Opel Kadett, a convertible model Standard Herald, Austine A-55 Mark Cambridge add to the collection in Udaipur Vintage Car Museum. In addition to vintage motor vehicles, the museum also exhibits bullock carts, royal horse carts and some replicas of other modes of transportation.
The museum is located opposite the Gulab Bagh (Rose Garden) in Udaipur within 2 Km from Udaipur City Railway station. Run by the hotelier Aravind Singh Mewar, one of the successors of the erstwhile royal family, the museum also has two restaurants within the premises serving pan-Indian delicacies to visitors.
Images Credit: Abhivad MS