Built for a Maharaja - a purpose-built, Tiger-hunting Rolls Royce
The Quail Lodge sale held during Pebble Beach Car Week in August each year, always attracts extraordinary automobiles, and this year, the most talked about lot at the auction is one of the most delightfully eccentric for many a year.
It is a handmade 1925 Rolls-Royce New Phantom, commissioned by the Maharaja of Kotah to be specifically built for tiger hunting.
The eight liter Roller has spotlights for night hunting, a mounted Howdah gun (double-barrel shotgun in pistol form), a rifle stand in the rear passenger compartment.
There's also a mountable Lantaka cannon, and a machine gun mounted on an attached, matching trailer.
Just the thing for peak hour!
The list of special extras for this car is a bit longer than you'd normally find on even the most lavishly bespoke roller, with some of them kinda weird.
F'rinstance, there's a hidden safe, a nickel-plated hissing snake horn, and the car came from the factory with the lowest available gearing, enabling it to creep through the Rajasthan jungle in search of prey. One wonders if the noise of the Rolls Royce was more or less conducive to finding quarry than the animal it most certainly replaced - an elephant -
though it was no doubt a tad more comfortable.
What it lacked in stealth, it more than made up for in firepower, though with the hidden safe and rear-mounted machine gun, there's just a hint that bandits might have been an issue too.
Rolls-Royce employed coachbuilders Barker & Company of London to design and create the highly specialized and bespoke Sports Touring body for His Highness. The car will be available at auction for the first time in August and carries an estimate of US$750,000 to US$1,000,000.