Tiger Cars

Discussion in 'Articles' started by AfricaHunting.com, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Tiger Cars

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    The ex-Maharaja of Kotah "Tiger Car"

    1925 Rolls-Royce New Phantom Torpedo Sports Tourer
    Coachwork by Barker
    Chassis no. 23 RC
    Engine no. CT 15

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    Equipped for hunting Bengal tigers and other wild game, this especially opulent and intriguing 1925 Rolls-Royce Torpedo Sports Tourer was originally commissioned by India's Umed Singh II. Also known as Sahib Bahadur, Umed Singh II was the Maharaja of Kotah from 1889 until his death in 1940. An avid big game hunter, the Maharaja enjoyed ample opportunity to engage his passion on the extensive grounds of his family's private estate. Monarchs, world leaders and titans of international industry frequently hunted alongside him, as his guests.

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    Umed Singh II was Maharaja of Kotah, a city in northern India, from 1889 to his death in 1940. At the end of his life he was known by the impressive full title Colonel His Highness Maharajadhiraj Maharaja Mahimahendra Maharao Raja Shri Sir Umed Singh II Sahib Bahadur, Maharao Raja of Kotah, GCSI, GCIE, GBE. Swig estimates that his highness would have paid around $17,000 for the Rolls Phantom in 1925. By comparison, a basic 1925 Ford Model T cost $290.

    In early 1925, the Maharaja contacted Barker and Co., Ltd. of London-at the time, the preferred coachbuilder for Rolls Royce chassis葉o specifically outfit a Rolls Royce New Phantom (aka Phantom I) for service as his estate's main hunting car.

    The New Phantom chassis upon which the Maharaja's Tiger Hunting Car was built was delivered to Barker for completion on August 8, 1925. The Torpedo Phaeton coachwork selected for the car featured a nautical theme, evidenced by the gently rounded body sides, pointed bow motif on the hood, and functional nautical-type cowl ventilators. The car was originally painted medium gray, with the interior fully trimmed in black crocodile hide.

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    A number of special big-game hunting features were specified on the Maharaja's order. These included the two large Stephen Grebel searchlights installed on the car-one at the front, and one at the rear. The lights swiveled left-to-right, and were used to locate and startle big game. A Tapley gradient meter was added to the instrumentation and a nickel-plated snake horn was installed. Extra-tall tires were specified for rough terrain, while a low gearing ratio helped the massive vehicle make its way through mud and brush.

    The standard New Phantom OHV straight six cylinder engine displacing 7668cc (467 cubic inches) powers the Maharaja's Rolls Royce hunting special. It is backed by a four-speed manual gearbox.

    The Tiger Car as presented tows a rare carriage-mounted Bira .450 caliber hand-cranked machine gun, once considered suitable for hunting Bengal tigers. Onboard firearms include a 'Howdah' gun-a large-caliber, short-range firearm useful for repelling beasts bent on attacking the car's occupants. Two lockable vertical racks within the interior contain an assortment of vintage big game rifles, bird guns and shotguns. The Lantaka cannon mounted to the rear bumper serves as an elephant gun.

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    An unusual feature of the car is its small safe, made by Chubb. Included in the original specifications, it secured contingency money set aside to compensate families of hunting assistants killed while stalking big game.

    The Tiger Car remained in India until it was discovered and obtained in 1968 by Christopher Renwick, a specialist in the treasures of the Maharaja era. Renwick brought the car to England, where it was soon acquired by Rolls Royce expert Charles Howard. Although having become a bit 'shabby,' the car evidenced little wear and was complete except for a few minor items. After having the car restored, Howard drove the car in a 1973 commemoration of the 1913 Alpine Rally. "It behaved extremely well," he recently recalled.

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    Rolls Royce Owners Club records reveal that by 1975, the Tiger Car was owned by a Minnesota collector. U.S. Open Champion golfer Gene "The Machine" Littler acquired the Tiger Car in 1984. Northern California car collector Rubin Jurman acquired the Rolls Royce from Littler in 1987.

    After performing an extensive second restoration that included refinishing the car in its current red color, Jurman showed the Tiger Car extensively. It has received multiple first-place Concours awards, including the Rolls Royce of Canada Award at the 1991 Rolls Royce National Meet. This was followed by a second in class award at Pebble Beach in 1992. Recently acquired by the vendor, the car was featured at the Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance this past May. Not only a show piece, 23 RC has been toured and the vendor reports it to run and drive well, having treated it to a recent servicing by ACME Car Service of Hayward, California.

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    This historic and exotic 1925 Rolls Royce is a truly extraordinary relic of a splendorous and lost age, and is sure to delight its next owner.

    In addition to the firearms currently shown with the vehicle, the Tiger Car is accompanied by an ammo box, the original copper mesh side curtains, two wide-mouth Thermos bottles as specified on the build sheets, as well as a complete tool kit. In addition, numerous awards and show memorabilia go with the vehicle.

    Rolls Royce New Phantom 23 RC is offered on a California Certificate of Title.
    Estimate: US$ 750,000 - 1 million

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    More Tiger Cars...

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  2. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    tiger-car.jpg
     
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  3. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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  4. TallGrassHunter

    TallGrassHunter AH Veteran

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    I'm surprised a hunting car is legal in California.

    Exceptional Jerome. The canon and machine gun seem a bit of over reach, but I guess excess is part of being a Maharaja. I wish my ancestors had been more ambitious, I'd love to hunt tiger.
     
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  5. CAustin

    CAustin AH Ambassador

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    I want one! Bet it would set me back a long way!
     
  6. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Elite

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    Now that is a cool piece of history. Be fun to take her for a spin. Sounds like they got serious about their firepower with elephants and tigers! Thanks for sharing. Bruce
     
  7. Mark19707

    Mark19707 AH Member

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    Great read!
     
  8. Pheroze

    Pheroze SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    That's really a very interesting bit of history. Although the lack of sporting etiquette is a bit disturbing. Thanks for posting. In reading his books I think Corbett was put off by this type of excess?
     
  9. David Middleton

    David Middleton AH Member

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    That car should be at AH headquarters!
     
  10. CAustin

    CAustin AH Ambassador

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    I found the brass cannon on the back to be a real hoot! Wonder what they were gunning for with that? Maybe it was to disperse bandits!
     
  11. ZG47

    ZG47 AH Veteran

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    The hunting car that @spike.t really wants? :D :D Cheers:
     
  12. norfolk shooter

    norfolk shooter AH Enthusiast

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    There's still a lot of them over in India but they won't let you export them due to historic importance. Even if they are rotting away!!
     
  13. Adam S

    Adam S AH Member

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    Thanks for posting this. It's a beautiful machine with an interesting history.
     
  14. edward

    edward AH Fanatic

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    common charlie,you own wal-mart.i need a raise.
     
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  15. edward

    edward AH Fanatic

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    the hag and slick Willey,oh, and the scum bab squating in the white house.
     
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  16. CAustin

    CAustin AH Ambassador

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    Be careful the one in there now likes to use drones to get people he has on a list.
     
  17. edward

    edward AH Fanatic

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    bring it on!!!!!
     

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