In 1911 the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad – Mehboob Ali Khan – ordered a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, and had it sent off to Bakers of Edinburgh to create a very special body, fit for Nizam (think Maharajah, the generic term for Indian Royalty).
The brief was to create a body that would be a throne on wheels, and Bakers duly obliged creating a Silver Ghost with rich yellow paintwork, a silver domed roof, gold mountings and fittings and an interior trimmed with silk and brocade.
Sadly, by the time the Rolls Royce arrived in Hyderabad, Mehoob Ali Khan had died, so the Rolls Royce was received by his son, Osman Ali Kahan, 7th Nizam of Hyderabad, a man said to be the richest in the world at the time. He used the Throne car for ceremonial purposes but managed to do just 356 miles during his 26-year rule, after which the Rolls appears to have been laid up at the Chiran Fort Palace and left to crumble.
But now the administrators of the Nizam’s Estate have dug deep and had the Throne car restored to its former glory by Rana Manvendra Singh Barwani of Indore, complete with new gold mountings, new paintwork in the original colour, lace and silk curtains and special upholstery brought to India from France.
Now, 100 years on from when the Silver Ghost Throne Car was delivered to the Nizam, the newly restored Rolls Royce has gone on display – in a glass case – at the Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad. But what did it cost originally, and how much did it cost to restore?
Sadly, there appear to be no records to show what the Nizam paid for his Rolls Royce, and the Nizam’s Estate are being coy about what it cost them to restore. But they do reckon it’s now worth somewhere around 20 crore (about £2.5 million).
Not that it’s ever likely to come up for sale.