Show report: 2019 Cartier Concours d’Elegance
The 1906 Renault 8HP owned by Shrivardhan Kanoria won the Judges award.

Show report: 2019 Cartier Concours d’Elegance

27th Feb 2019 2:11 pm

Held at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, the 6th edition of the Cartier Concours d’Elegance had some of the rarest and most unique vehicles in Indian automobile history on display.


The 6th edition of the Cartier Concours d’Elegance was held at the sprawling lawns of the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. It was also the first time that the show was held in Rajasthan. Coincidentally, a large population of exotic vintage and classic cars surviving in India today once belonged to erstwhile Maharajas of Rajasthan. The palace was once home to the Maharani Gayatri Devi whose ex-car, a 1946 Buick Super 8 convertible, was displayed and won the Post War American Classics Class.

This year’s edition saw some interesting new categories along with regular classes such as the usual Pre-War American, Pre-War European and Pre-War Rolls-Royce classes, along with Post-War American and Post-War European classes. Alongside the popular 'Indian Heritage and Preservation Class' categories this year saw the addition of a new special Pre-War Transportation class, a roadster class and a sports car class, which included two Ferraris – a 1979 308 GTS and a 1974 356 GT4.

1920 Overland Model 4 Tourer owned by H.H. Maharaja Gaj Singhji of Jodhpur.

The Pre-War European Classic Class had some of the best cars from across the country participate, including a rare 1922 Ansaldo Tipo F owned by Chairman VCCFI Nitin Dossa, which won the prestigious Cartier Resurrection Cup. Another rare find was a 1937 Daimler that was owned by Ravi Pittie and originally belonged to the Princess of Kolhapur (who got married as a child and then was widowed at the age of 13). She had ordered an all-white car – there’s white exterior paint, white wheels, white brakes, white carpets on the interior and even a white engine block!

1979 Ferrari 308 GTS Targa owned by Apurv Kumar.

Other cars in the category included a 1906 Renault Freres 8HP Runabout, which was the oldest car at the show and also won the special Judges Award; Amal Tanna’s 1921 Fiat Corsa that was originally ordered by the Maharaja of Patiala; a rare Lagonda M45 Rapide ordered by the Maharaja of Bhavnagar and now owned by the Sanghi family from Indore with aerodynamic coachwork by Abbot; and the all black 1936 Alvis Speed 25 Sports Tourer with Vamnden Plas coachwork that won the best of class. It was originally bought in London by the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj and is believed to be the only one in the country today. The car is now owned by Nishant Dossa.

There was also a special Thunderbird Class restricted only to Ford Thunderbirds. The winning car owned by Viveck and Zita Goenka was first owned by the Maharaja of Gwalior and featured a unique tilt away steering for easy entry into the car. The car stunned the judges with its immaculate interiors and detail to period correct upholstery in the boot. Another notable entry in the class was a stunning red 1955 Ford Thunderbird convertible belonging to Vidita Singh of Barwani (daughter of the curator Manvendra Singh). The car originally belonged to the Maharaja of Palitana, and was not a part of the judging; it was only for display.

1934 Chevrolet 1 ½ Ton Series PA Truck owned by Kaizad Engineer.

The Post War European Classic category was won by Viveck and Zita Goenka’s immaculately restored 1962 Mercedes-Benz 220SE convertible that wowed the crowds with its neat engine bay and top-notch paint and interiors. Taking the top honours in the Pre-War Transportation Class was a true-blue – literally –1934 Chevy 1 ½ ton truck that was originally used as a water tanker for the Mandsor Fire Brigade. The truck later did duty at the Poona Turf Club watering the track until it was forgotten in a scrap yard with buildings built around it. The model was rescued early last year, with a crane literally hoisting the remains of the Chevy truck from its concrete and brick graveyard by its current owner, Kaizad Engineer. Most judges lauded the category and this particular car for its honest roots and the fact that unlike its competition in this category, it was not over restored.

The ‘Best of Show’ trophy and a Pre-War Rolls-Royce Class win were taken by one of the most beautiful cars in India, the stunningly gorgeous 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Streamline Coupe with Gurney Nutting bodywork. It was the last P2 Continental ever made, as understood by its chassis code, 62UK. It was originally ordered by the Maharaja of Jodhpur in Green and off white paint, the official colours of the Jodhpur Polo Team. In 1944, it was sold to the Maharaja of Rewa and is now owned by Amir Jetha from Mumbai, whose father bought it in 1962. The car also won its class and the prestigious Lucius Beebe trophy for the best Rolls-Royce at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Streamline Coupe Gurney-Nutting that won Best of Show at the 2019 Car Cartier Concours d’Elegance.

While Rolls-Royces were the obvious go-to for Indian royalty during the pre-independence era, there were a few bespoke cars from other special brands commissioned by younger members of royal families like Duljeet Titus’s 1930 Stutz Model M Dual-Cowl Speedster that won the best in class prize in the  Pre-War Classic Class. One of only two cars known to be built, this particular Model M is the only one in the country and has tremendous royal provenance. Owned originally and commissioned by Maharawal Sir Ranjitsinhji Mansinhji of Baria, the car featured unique dual-cowl roadster bodywork with four seats and two sets of windscreens. Famed coachbuilders LeBaron made the body for this particular car.

There were a host of motorcycles across classes and the best of show was a 1940 Indian Junior Scout owned by Sandeep Kapoor.

Curated by Manvendra Singh India’s leading automobile historian, list of eminent judges at the 2019 edition included HRH Prince Michael of Kent (Chairman), Chief Judge Simon Kidston (judge at Pebble Beach), Sandra Button (Chairman of the Pebble Beach Concours), Jean Todt (President of FIA), Giacomo Agostini (15-time world champion motorcycle racer), Lord March (Founder of Goodwood Festival of Speed), Prof. Gordon Murray (award winning F1 designer), Peter Stevens (renowned automobile designer), the Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie (leading industrialist), and Yasmin le Bon (former supermodel), to name a few.

Top cars and bikes at Cartier 2019

2019 Cartier Concours d’Elegance winners
Best of Show - Cars1935 Rolls Royce Phantom 2 ContinentalAmir Jetha
Best of Show - Motorcycles1940 Indian Junior ScoutSandeep Kapoor
The Mark Shand Adventurer Trophy1951 Standard-Vanguard Phase 1Viveck & Zita Goenka
Cartier Resurrection Cup1922 Ansaldo - Tipo F (1938 Mercedes 170V owned by Abhishek Jaiswal)Nitin Dossa
Best In Class – Preservation1947 Chevrolet FleetmasterKaizad Engineer
Best In Class – Thunderbird1961 Ford ThunderbirdViveck & Zita Goenka
Best In Class - Post-War Classic American1947 Buick Super 8Dinesh Lal
Best In Class - Post-War Classic European1962 Mercedes 220 SEViveck & Zita Goenka
Best In Class - Pre War Classic Transportation1934 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Series PAKaizad Engineer
Best In Class - Pre-War Classic American1930 Stutz Model MDiljeet Titus
Pre-War Classic European Rolls Royce1935 Rolls Royce Phantom 2 ContinentalAmir Jetha
Best In Class - Pre-War Classic European1936 Alvis Speed 25Nishant Dossa
Best In Class – Sportscars1973 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTVArjun Oberoi
Best In Class – Roadster1953 Jaguar XK 120Raj Kumar Ajai Singh of Jaipur
Best in Class – Indian Heritage1947 Studebaker ChampionAniruddh Kasliwal
SPECIAL AWARD1937 Daimler 24ELRavi Pittie
JUDGES AWARD1906 Renault 8HPShrivardhan Kanoria
Best In Class – Veteran Vintage Motorcycles1924 Douglas OBR. K. Jain
Best In Class – Post War Motorcycles1951 Sunbeam S7 Hafeez Contractor
Best In Class – Pre War Motorcycles1940 Indian Junior ScoutSandeep Kapoor

Also see:

2019 Cartier Concours d’Elegance image gallery

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