Explosivefashion Logo
 

EXCLUSIVE CHAT WITH HH MAHARAJA GAJ SINGH JI OF JODHPUR

— Jasmeen Dugal

A magnificent portfolio of classic and vintage cars was on display at the sixth edition of Cartier Concours d'Elegance in Rambagh Palace, Jaipur earlier this month. One of the top five concours in the historic motoring calendar, we witnessed a showcase of eighty-six vintage automobiles, hosted by Christophe Massoni, CEO Cartier Middle East, Africa and India, and curated by automotive historian Manvendra Singh Barwani. And, we were fortunate to connect personally with HH Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji of Jodhpur for an exclusive interview on the vintage automotive heritage of India.

 

Your Highness, what are your earliest automotive memories? Do share fond memories of your first car.

 

I started driving very early, at about the age of nine. I used to drive the Ford and Willys Jeep at the polo ground in Jodhpur. I was fond of Ford Jeep as a child!

 

You have an enviable collection of vintage cars including one of the last cars exported out of Britain before the second World War. What inspires your choices?

 

The fact that I grew up with vintage cars and drove them inspired my choices as a collector. In addition, they are interesting, beautiful works of rare automobile designs; they represent different eras and have their own unique history.

 

Restoration of cars, much like that of any artefact, is an art. Is it a challenge to restore and maintain vintage cars, today?

 

Yes, as mentioned above, these machines are rare works of automobile art; fortunately in India we now have genuine restorers and vintage car lovers and hence restoration and maintenance is less of an issue but in earlier days we did not have these young enthusiasts and specialists, and the import of the spare parts was an issue.

 

How significant is it to showcase your cars at the concours d'elegance Cartier "Travel With Style" and similar events? Do share some thoughts about this event as a platform for car collectors and restorers.

 

Cartier Travel With Style is a by-invitation only event which showcases only original vintage and classic cars. Indeed it is the most authentic platform where vintage and classic car owners, restorers and connoisseurs are acknowledged, recognised and rewarded.

 

Looking at the bigger picture- how would you describe the vintage car culture in India?

 

Fortunately the vintage car culture is very much alive and is on the rise especially with more new and younger enthusiasts getting interested in collecting, restoring and appreciating the vintage and classic automotive heritage of India. They are well informed and well researched due to the Internet.

 

Do you feel buying- restoring and maintaining vintage cars will soon become a lost art?

 

No; certainly not. Infact, it is growing as the demand for these cars is increasing. People are now more conscious as well as cautious about their tangible heritage and vintage and classic cars are part of our rich automotive heritage. Now all heritage hotel owners feel they should have these cars as part of the heritage experience!

 

This industry is propelled and sustained by the passion to collect. How does one attract the next generation's interest towards it?

 

Introducing the next generation early to the automotive heritage and therefore generating their genuine interest in collection, restoration and maintenance has already attracted several of our youngsters who are taking this passion and industry to new heights.

 

— JASMEEN DUGAL AND VERONIQUE POLES

PHOTOGRAPH CREDIT: Mehrangarh Museum Trust
 

HH Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji of Jodhpur
HH Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji of Jodhpur at Cartier Concours d'Elegance
 
HH Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji of Jodhpur at Cartier Concours d'Elegance
 
18-MARCH-2019
 
Share us on :
Join us on:  
 
0 Comments
 
Post a Comment
 

MORE BLOGS BY Jasmeen Dugal

 
2019-03-24 14:33:29 IN CONVERSATION WITH RAGINI SANGHI
 
2019-03-12 19:18:40 IN CONVERSATION WITH GAUTAM HARI SINGHANIA
 
2019-02-28 18:19:31 IN CONVERSATION WITH MADAN MOHAN
 
2019-02-27 18:31:46 IN CONVERSATION WITH ALLAN ALMEIDA