The 9th edition of the 21 Gun Salute International Vintage Car Rally and Concours d’Elegance took place on the weekend of February 15 and 16, 2020, and was one of the largest event of its kind
in India till date. It was a grand showcase of some of the finest vintage and classic cars from India and saw participation from overseas too. The 2020 edition was curated by Madan Mohan of the 21 Gun Salute Trust, in association with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. This year’s event also featured a drive that was flagged off at the iconic India Gate and traversed through Delhi-NCR and ended at the Karma Lakelands Golf Course in Gurugram where the cars were displayed.
The 35-member jury panel was led by Christian Kramer as the chief judge. Christian has recently served as a judge at the Pebble beach Concours d’Elegance and a few other major motoring events. Nigel Matthews was the assistant chief judge of the event. The panel also included esteemed figures such as FIVA president, Tiddo Bresters, Peter Larsen, Siegfried Linke, Quirina Louwman and Peter Stevens, amongst many more.
The participating cars were split into classes like the Edwardian, Pre-War American, Post-War American Sports, Pre-War European, Post-War American (Coupe), Indian Heritage and Preservation class. The event also featured one-make classes like Rolls-Royce, Bentley Volkswagen and MG. The Post-War European class cars saw one of the largest participation at the event. This year’s event also included the highly revered Pebble Beach class that displayed cars from India that took part in the Pebble Beach Concours 2018. There were some international entries too, like the 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster from the US, 1959 Alfa 2000 from Belgium, 1966 Ford Mustang and the Maserati 3500 GT Spyder Vignale from Belgium, amongst others.
Prominent car collectors from India like Viveck Goenka, Diljeet Titus, Amal Tanna, Jimmy Tata, Gautam Hari Singhania, Yohan Poonawalla, Den Gidwani, Arjun Oberoi as well as Ranjit Pratap from Chennai brought in the prized possessions from their collection to the event. There were cars from royal families including Yuvraj Harshvardhan Singh of Dungarpur, Yuvraj Dhananjai Singh of Khimsar and Yuvraj Mandhata Singhji Jadeja of Rajkot. MG Motor India participated at the event and the show was also supported by the MG Car Club from the UK.
Some of our show favourite cars were Amir Ali Jetha’s 1935 Rolls Royce P-II Continental from the Pebble Beach category, the painstakingly restored 1962 Mercedes-Benz 220SE from the Viveck Goenka collection, the 1935 Bentley 31/2 Litre Drophead Coupe by Antem owned by Jagdish Thackersey and the ex-Maharaja of Gwalior’s 1961 Ford Thunderbird. A few of the other gems included Jyotsna Sanghi’s 1934 Lagonda M45 Rapide, Amal Tanna’s 1921 Fiat Corsa, Diljeet Titus’ 1930 Stutz Series M, Madan Mohan’s 1927 Lanchester 21HP Tourer and Amol Nayak’s 1940 LaSalle coupe.
The top honour of the day was bagged by Yohan Poonawalla’s 1949 Bentley MK-VI Saloon, which sported bodywork by Hooper and Company. The ex-Maharaja of Mysore’s car, and winner of the
‘Best of Show’ award, had been recently restored to its full glory, especially for the Concours.
Madan Mohan, 21 Gun Salute Trust
This year’s event was very special as we had more than 150 cars in all, with quite a few international entries. The 35-member jury included 24 chief class judges from the Pebble Beach. The cars were judged as per ICJAG standards.
It’s my vision and my mission to place India on the world heritage motoring tourism map. According to our jury panel, this year’s event was better than a lot of European, American, and other developed country concours.
Adam Sloman, MG Car Club UK
I’m absolutely blown away. I knew that there were classic cars here in India, but I wasn’t expecting the array and quality of cars. And the passion that these guys have got for their cars is equal to anywhere I’ve been in the world. The 1950 MG YT, the YA, the YB, and the YT, which is the tourer with the convertible roof, all were quite unique for me. We never see those in the UK because they’re virtually extinct.
Best of Show
1949 Bentley Mark VI Saloon by Hooper & Co.
1919 Packard Twin Six
Pre-war American Class
1939 Buick Roadmaster convertible
Post-War American Sports Class
1961 Ford Thunderbird
Viveck and Zita Goenka
Post-War American Class
1947 Packard Clipper Limousine
H.H. Yuwarag Mandhata Singh
Ford Mustang Class
1964 Ford Mustang
Pre-war European Class
1936 Adler Trumpf Junior
Post-War European Class
1962 Mercedes-Benz 220S Cabriolet
Viveck and Zita Goenka
1952 Volkswagen Beetle Split Window
Viveck and Zita Goenka
1939 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith by James Young
1949 Bentley Mark VI Saloon by Hooper & Co.
1947 Packard Deluxe
1965 Jaguar E-Type Series 1
Indian Heritage Class
1957 Studebaker President
Pebble Beach Participants
1930 Stutz Series M Speedster
1950 MG YT
1949 Bentley MK-VI Saloon by Hooper and Co –Yohan Poonawala
Winner of the Best of Show award, this ex-Maharaja of Mysore’s Bentley was recently restored to its full glory and made its debut at the Concours.
1927 Lanchester 21HP Tourer – Madan Mohan
This car participated in the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and is believed to be first owned by the Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar.
1952 Volkswagen Beetle – Viveck and Zita Goenka
Probably the only known split window Beetle in India; one of the finest surviving samples in the world.
1919 Packard Twin six – Amal Tanna
The car that participated featured a 135-inch wheelbase and is probably one of very few surviving models. It also had one of the first V12 engines on a production car in the world.
1965 Triumph Spitfire Mk II – Ishtiyaq Nagree
This Triumph was once owned by legendary musician R.D. Burman. It has been with its present owner’s family since 1973. The current owner, Ishtiyaq, used to go to school in this car which was gifted to him by his uncle in 2000.
1920 Ford Super 8 – Xerxes Master
Originally part of the Junagadh royal fleet, this Super 8 was the first all-new model from Ford after World War II.
1961 Ford Thunderbird – Viveck and Zita Goenka
This ex-Maharaja of Gwalior’s car won the Post-War American Sports class with its remarkable detail to restoration.
1939 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith by James Young – Gautam Singhania
This Silver Wraith is one of three produced in this design, and it features a kneeling Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament that was considered more aerodynamic.
1930 Stutz Series M Speedster – Diljeet Titus
This Stutz Speedster was specially ordered with a custom body designed by LeBaron, and a high-compression engine. It was owned by ex-Maharawal Ranjitsinhji KCSI of Baria, Gujarat.
1967 Dodge Charger – Jimmy Tata
Attending the event in its original Silver Mist Metallic shade, the Charger has a 318 cu-in V8 engine. The car features unique headlights that rotate to open and close.
1960 Alfa Romeo 2000 Touring Spider – Raol San Giorgi
One of the international entries at the event, this Touring Spider was designed by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan.
1965 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 – Aditya Malik
Jaguar’s E-Type is a rare Series 1 car and was the winner of the Jaguar-Daimler class award at the event.
1921 Fiat Corsa – Amal Tanna
A special order for the Maharaja of Patiala, the Corsa has been restored grounds up. The Maharaja ordered it after being inspired by the actual GP-winning race car.
1935 Adler Trumpf Junior – Sameer Kadam
The Trumpf was one of the first front-wheel-drive cars in the world. It took home the honours in the Pre-War European class.
1946 Packard Clipper – Aniruddh Kasliwal
This Packard was recently restored to its original specifications. It was given the right paint shades, and the upholstery was matched to the original preserved swatch.
1937 Daimler EL24 – Ravi Pittie
This 7-seater limousine was delivered to Her Highness Princess Indumati of Kolhapur. It features an in-house coachwork by Daimler, and has black tinted glass, as ‘purdah’ was the norm for most royal cars used by women.
1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental – Amir Ali Jetha
Originally owned by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, it was painted in the same colours as his polo team. It features body work by Gurney Nutting, and is the last Phantom II built.
1935 Bentley 3 ½ Sports Drophead – Jagdish Thackersey
This Bentley has coachwork by Antem of Paris, and it’s considered to be rare for a British brand to feature coachwork by a French company.
1962 Mercedes 220SE Cabriolet (W111) – Viveck and Zita Goenka
Believed to be one of two in India, this 220SE Cabriolet features spotless exterior and interiors. SEs are highly sought after the world over.
1961 Maserati 3500GT Spyder – Theierry Dehaeck
An international entry at the event, the roadster underwent a two-year-long restoration that ended in 2018.
1950 MG YT – Daman Thakore
The model that won the MG class at the show.
1937 Pierce Arrow Eight coupe – Gautam Singhania
This late model coupé is one of the only survivors from the ones built in this model year. It was part of the popular Guyton collection.
1934 Lagonda M45 Rapide – Sharad Sanghi
This Lagonda was originally ordered by the Maharaja of Bhavnagar. It features a unique body by Abbot that includes a concealed spare wheel.
1940 LaSalle coupé – Amol Nayak
The LaSalle brand was sold alongside General Motor’s Cadillac luxury marque. The coupé was imported from the United States by its present owner.
1964 Mercedes-Benz 230SL (Pagoda) – Anosh Shroff
This silver convertible belonged to philanthropist Kishinchand Chellaram. It’s an early model with a 4-speed manual gearbox and right-hand drive. The car has been with its present owner for over 35 years.