Maharajas’ cars to star at Retromobile 2014

| 17 Jul 2013

A near priceless 1929 Isotta Fraschini 8A with a body by Milan-based coachbuilder Cesare Sala will star in Paris from 5-9 February.

Powered by a 7.3-litre engine, which was the most powerful straight-eight of its time, the Italian car cost more than a Duesenberg Model J in period and was capable of at least 93mph.

It was owned new by Rajah Sajid Hussein of Kotwara – who became an Indian Maharaja at the age of just 14.

He bought the car while studying at Edinburgh University – opting for it over Cambridge, which did not allow first-years to own cars.

Completing his course in 1932, Hussein returned the car to India that same year.

By 1937, the Rajah was married to Selma Rauf Hanim Sultana – granddaughter to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, but the Princess died in ’41 and the Rajah remarried.

He would have two children with his second wife, one of whom – Muzaffer Ali – became a respected movie-maker in Bollywood.

Ali would later restore his father’s car, using it until 1972, when it was sold to the manager of Led Zeppelin, Peter Grant, and exported back to the UK.

The car was auctioned in 1996, following Grant’s death, and acquired by the Imperial Palace Collection in Las Vegas, going on to be shown at Pebble Beach, before being sold to a private collection in Colorado.

The car is just one of many with Indian Royal connections that will be showcased at Rétromobile.

Stay tuned to the event’s website for more announcements.