1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Torpedo Tourer by Barker.
Some of Rolls-Royce's best customers during the 1920s and 1930s were the maharajas, the tribal leaders of India during the British Raj. Maharaja Rolls-Royces were regularly ordered to the rather unique specifications of their original owners, and frequently fitted with special-ordered features and ornately detailed bespoke coachwork.
This particular example was commissioned by the Ruling Chief of Nandgaon State, Mahant Sarveshwar Das, who served as the 10th chief, from 1913 to 1940. It rides on a long-wheelbase that measures 150 inches and was outfitted with a louvered hood, a polished nickel radiator shell, a rear-mounted luggage rack, and wire wheels shod in wide whitewall tires. There is a Tapley gradient meter, and nickeled cobra horn and tool trays mounted in the running boards.
The car wears coachwork by Barker & Company, one of England's longest-lived coachbuilders, with a heritage reaching back to horseless carriage days. The chassis was finished in Nile Blue and features a beltline that followed the lines of the hood. There are polished disc wheel covers, a vee'd windshield with built-in sun visors, Lucas P100 headlamps, a single driving lamp, dual fender lights, and two cowl-mounted spotlights. The interior was finished with the inlaid cabinetry which provides space for a silver tea service, a silver cigarette case, a lady's vanity, and cocktail accoutrements.
Final testing occurred at Barker & Co on 7/3/30 and shipped per SS Bangalore on 28/3/30 (London-Calcutta). It was featured in the August 1930 issue of The Autocar.
In 1966 Ray Howard, an American enthusiast working in India, discovered the car in the ownership of the Maharaja of Orissa. He was able to purchase and export four of the automobiles, which was shipped to Italy, serviced, and then driven across the continent to England by its new owner. In November 1967 it finally arrived, at the end of a long ocean voyage, at the Howard family home in Oregon.
When Mr. Howard retired to Hawaii, the Rolls-Royce accompanied him to the islands. A restoration began, but Mr. Howard lost enthusiasm after dismantling it. The project remained unfinished for a quarter century, until its acquisition by Mr. Richard Hooper. Mr. Hooper completed the work. Further work continued under the care of its next owner, who refinished the body, reupholstered the interior, and improved its interior cabinetry, which still contains many of the original accessories.