The 1947 MG TC that once belonged to a nawab from UP
When you talk about the best Concours d'Elegance, those held at Pebble Beach (this year, they had a section dedicated to Maharajas’ cars) in the United States and Goodwood in the UK spring to mind. And the Cartier Travel With Style Concours d'Elegance, the biennial vintage car gathering held in India, is fast catching up.
At a preview for the third Travel With Style Concours d'Elegance, to be held in Mumbai next February, Mark Shand, travel writer, conservationist and brother of Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, says the Cartier event is fast gaining popularity with international Concours judges. “I met with some of the judges who were super excited [about the event]. India is their favourite,” he says.
And it should be. About 65 rare vintage cars and 35 bikes will be on show at the event. “This makes Cartier Travel With Style one of the most unique Concurs in the world,” Shand adds.
Breaking down the event for us, Manvendra Singh Barwani, curator of the Cartier Concours d'Elegance explains that besides showcasing motorcycles for the first time, the event will also showcase new classes including the Shikar (hunter) Class, the Edwardian Class and the Limousine Class of vintage cars, which were then used almost exclusively by women.
Best in Show
Cartier's Louis Ferla, Yash Ruia, Manvendra Singh Barwani & Mark Shand with Ruia's 1947 Rolls Royce Wraith
At the preview, set up at the beautifully restored Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, we got up and close with four vintage cars, including a 1947 MG TC that once belonged to a nawab from UP, a 1947 Rolls Royce Wraith which ferried around India’s last viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, and a 1934 Packard Tourer that once belonged to the Maharaja of Datia, as well as three vintage bikes that will be seen at the Concours d'Elegance.
1934 Packard Tourer
Louis Ferla, Cartier’s regional director for the Middle East, India and Africa, says the luxury jewellery brand has chosen to host its Concours d'Elegance in India primarily because of Cartier’s strong heritage links with the country. “We’ve created many pieces for Indian maharajas – like do you remember the Patalia necklace? Another reason is that you can’t take the vintage cars out of the country, and there are a lot of cars to be discovered here. So many are locked up in garages and are in disrepair. In fact, two years ago, we helped the princess of Hyderabad restore her Rolls Royce. It won first prize at the Concours d'Elegance,” he explains. The idea is, he adds, to help repair and restore a part of India’s heritage.
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