There is nothing new about a member of the “rich and famous” class special ordering a custom made Rolls-Royce from Barkers of London. It was quite common in fact. But it was what the Maharaja of Kotah would do with his 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Torpedo Sports Tourer which prompted it to be called the “Maharaja’s Tiger Car.”
You see, when a specially outfitted 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Torpedo Sports Tourer was commissioned at Barkers of London it’s purpose was sport hunting. Bengal Tigers were the Maharaja of Kotah’s chosen prey. The custom built Rolls comes with a special trailer to tow a Bira .450-caliber hand-cranked gattling gun, which was the Maharaja’s preferred choice for bringing down the tigers. Of course, there is a Lantaka cannon attached to the rear bumper for elephant kills as well. There are also a number of bird guns, rifles and shotguns mounted in the cabin of the Touring car. You never know what you might run into.
This famous Rolls-Royce has had several owners over the years, and in 2011 was appraised for a Bonham’s Auction at between $750,000 to $1 million.
Here is an interview with the owner who restored this regal car the second time:
They write in their description: “This especially opulent and intriguing 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I 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. In early 1925, the Maharaja contacted Barker and Co., Ltd. of London—at the time the preferred coachbuilder for Rolls Royce chassis—to 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.”
They tell us this unique and exotic car comes with copies of the Rolls-Royce build sheets, full ownership history from new and all the factory tools. The Sports Tourer has won many concours awards in its time. They say it was restored twice. It has been one of the main attractions at The Auto Collections’ museum/showroom.
The Sports Tourer Rolls-Royce was given a nautical theme while at Barker in London. This is evidenced by the pointed seam along the metal hood and functional nautical-type cowl ventilators. The maharaja ordered two Grebel searchlights be installed, one up front and one on the rear valance. The extra tall tires were ordered in case of rough terrain. The massive vehicle also had a lower gear ratio to traverse through mud and heavy brush.
The big Phantom I OHV straight six cylinder engine had 467 ci displacement (7,668 cc) backed by a 4-speed manual gearbox.
Among the intriguing equipment installed was a small safe made by a company called Chubb. It was ordered by the maharaja to secure contingency money to compensate any of the bushmen’s families if one of them were killed while stalking the tigers.
With such a colorful history, this is one Rolls-Royce that could be the center piece of any top collection. The Auto Collections has listed it with Cars On Line.com for sale.