- Car once owned by Jayachamaraja Wadiyar
- Now industrialist Yohan Poonawalla owns it
London: Billionaire industrialist Yohan Poonawalla’s Bentley Mark VI has won the ‘Best in Class’ award at the RREC Concours d’Elegance in the UK.
The award-winning 1949 Bentley Mark VI – chassis B-294-EY – 4 Light touring saloon was coach-built by London-based Hooper & Co for Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, the Maharaja of Mysore. It is famous as the ‘Rhubarb and Custard Car’.
The competition was organised between July 1 and July 3 by the International Club for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Enthusiasts (RREC). Their Annual Rally and Concours d’Elegance is the biggest gathering of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars in the world.
The event was held at the Burghley House located near Stamford, known as England’s most fabulous Elizabethan House. The ‘Mysore 1’ went up against a collection of beautiful Bentleys and emerged victorious in the class.
Receiving the ‘Rob Emberson trophy’ from the REC Chairman David Wyld, owner of ‘Mysore 1’ Yohan Poonawalla said “I am happy the car was judged as the finest in its class from a line-up of very impressive Bentleys. I see this as a testament to the dedication and passion of my hardworking team and would like to thank everyone involved with this car”.
A personalised coach
The Maharaja had ordered seven Bentleys at the time altogether and they were delivered in 1949. ‘Mysore 1’ is regarded today as one of the most historically important Bentleys in the world. It has been personalised to match the royal tradition and was finished in bright red and yellow which earned it the moniker ‘the Rhubarb and Custard car’.
It was upholstered in cream leather and piped green and came with lots of regalia and a range of extras, Special features include cabinets to the back of the front seats, with flasks and a picnic set, a hollow arm-rest fitted with a cut glass toiletries set with silver tops, an open tray for spectacles.
It has two suitcases in a solid hide for the boot, a folding tray, one large sandwich box, a recess in the top part of the rear seats to accommodate water bottles, thermos flasks and four silver beakers.
This was in addition to power-operated windows, two flag staffs, illuminated plaques and shields in solid silver and 24-carat gold fitted to the front and rear of the car, and an illuminated plaque on the top of the windshield engraved with the Mysore Royal Coat Arms.
Restored in Mumbai
The ‘Mysore 1’ was purchased by Yohan Poonawalla about 16 years ago. The car’s original colour (bright red and yellow) was prepared for the ‘21 Gun Salute Concours’ 2020’s vintage car rally in New Delhi. Allan Almeida restored the Bentley in Viveck Goenka’s restoration workshop in Mumbai.
After the car was built, it was photographed in front of the Hampton Court Palace, before making its way to India. Now, 73 years later, the ‘Mysore 1’ was taken back to the scene for a photo session a day after the event. The car’s final outing was a visit to Crewe, the home of Bentley Motors Limited and the place of the car’s birth, before making its way back to India.
The ‘Mysore 1’ has previously also won the ‘Best of Show’ award at the 21 Gun Salute Concours d’Elegance and also the prestigious ‘Duke of Marlborough Award’ at Salon Prive.