Unique 1925 Rolls Royce Torpedo Tourer or Tiger Car, used by the Maharajah of Kotah for hunting Bengal tigers is now up for auction. It will be one of six pre-war Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars available for sale on Friday, August 19, 2011 at The Quail Lodge Sale, Pebble Beach, California where could fetch between $750,000 to a cool $1 million.
Powered by its original 8-litre, 6-cylinder engine, the handmade car was commissioned by the Maharajah, also known as Sahib Bahudur Singh. The car is equipped with a large-calibre gun for seeing off charging game; a number of bird guns, rifles and shotguns mounted in the cabin; and, at the rear, a trailer towing a Bira .450-caliber hand-cranked machine gun – the primary weapon for hunting Bengal tigers. Affixed to the rear bumper is a Lantaka cannon, intended for elephant hunts. The machine gun attachment still exists and is part of the auction.
Car interior boasts a Chubb safe for holding contingency money for any family members of hunting assistants killed in the bush, according to Bonhams literature. It also has seats upholstered in crocodile hide just in case riders were in any doubt what the car’s purpose was for.
There was no going to the dealership and just picking out a Phantom in a colour you liked, David Swig, a specialist with Bonhams auction house told. They were built to order. Many maharajahs built cars like this.
The car has been owned by collectors in England and the United States, and received two restorations, one in the late 1960s and another in the late ’80s. [Bonhams]