(Not The Actual Vin Number)
1921 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Touring Phaeton
Coachwork by Steuart & Co. of Calcutta: Originally supplied to Maharajah Sir Manmathanath Roy Choudhary of Santosh
The Rolls-Royce was a favorite of the rulers of India from the earliest days of the Silver Ghost production. It is said that the first to have been smitten by their quality was the Maharajah of Gwailor, who in 1908 took delivery of one of the first examples built. His commissioned specific formal coachwork became known as 'The Pearl of the East'. By the time that 47 AG was delivered, Rolls could count agencies in Calcutta, Delhi, and Bombay reflecting the demand that they were supplying. This example had been commissioned through the former by its agent G. Mein Austin, of Calcutta in April 1921. Increasingly impatient with the delivery times of the product, many cars had their coachwork ordered at the time of chassis build to save time, but interestingly, this car is listed on its order document as 'Body to be built in India'- the maker is not listed. Though, it is aptly described as 'Sporty Open Touring' and has long been thought to be the work of Steuart & Co. of Calcutta. Mr. Austin's order was on behalf of His Highness, the Raja of Santosh, another serial Rolls-Royce customer, who had bought a 'Ghost in 1921 and would succeed this car with a Phantom 1. He was based in a smaller princely state in the former East Bengal. The factory records note the correct ownership of the Raja of Santosh in 1927, and on his being knighted in 1930. This is then crossed out and corrected to his new title of 'The Hon. Raja Sir Manmath Roy Chowdhury (sic) of Santosh, written in. Previously it was thought that the car had already left India at this point, but it transpires that the inclusion of a parts request for the sister chassis, 46 AG, owned from new by Mrs. A.W. Burchard, then in Paris, had migrated into the Rolls file. A conclusion was drawn that the car was back in Europe then. That anomaly can now be overlooked, and it must be assumed that as with many Indian cars, 47AG remained in India until the 1950s or 60s. The Raja died in 1939, and it is uncertain how long he retained his Silver Ghost. However, by 1969 47AG was in America. Over the course of the last 16 years, the touring car has been thoroughly enjoyed, mainly as a driver rather than show car. The car has recently been checked over and is reported to be running nicely.