The 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II, more often known as The Star of India, is currently on view in the Maharaja exhibition. The car was custom built for His Highness Thakore Sahib Dharmendrasinhji Lakhajiraj of Rajkot and is named after the famous 5,630-carat star sapphire, The Star of India.
For those of you interested in what’s under the hood; the car is a 7 litre V8, 6 cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed manual, which can output 40 to 50 horse power. It has a total of 14 headlights, including adaptive curve lights that follow the movement of the steering wheel, and an all-weather torpedo convertible top custom made by Thrupp Maberly. The car is the only saffron coloured Rolls Royce in the world and, visible on all doors and side windows is Rajkot’s state crest with an inscription meaning “an impartial ruler of men of all faiths”.
Until recently, The Star of India has had its home in Germany, and was owned by Hans-Guenter Zach. When Yuvraj Saheb Mandhatsinhji Jadeja of Rajkot (the great-grandson of original owner His Highness Thakore Sahib of Rajkot), became aware that the Star was being put up for sale at auction, he enrolled himself as as a telephone bidder at the Sporting Classics of Monaco auction. Needless to say, he was successful. The final price came to 644,000 Euros, but no price can be put on the gratification that resulted from bringing The Star back to India.
So, what’s next for The Star of India? Following its stop at the AGO, it will return to India, to a private museum. The car will only be used on rare occasions such as religious, or cultural events. It will also be on view for visitors to Rajkot.