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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Unforgettable Legacy of Pranlal Bhogilal Shines Through: Her Late Father’s Passion For Vintage Cars Is continued by his son in law Brijesh Chinai and daughter Chamundeshwari Bhogilal Chinai.


Mumbai: During the recent event held in Udaipur, Rajasthan, a vide array of vintage and classic cars were showcased. Among them were many notable marques such as Bentleys , Rolls- Royce’s, Lagondas, Daimlers ( to name a few ) bringing the entire Indian automotive heritage to a single venue. 

 

However, it was the 1937 Mercedes Benz 540K Cabriolet B that garnered a lot of attention and stole many a hearts on accounts of its history as also the age old tradition of its renowned owner to display his cars in a separate non- compete section so that enthusiasts admire it for their academic and personal interests. 

 

Unveiled at the 1936 Paris Motor Show, the Mercedes Benz 540K Cabriolet B was renowned as one of the world’s swiftest and most opulent automobiles available for purchase. Featuring a massive 5401cc engine with 8 straight-line cylinders, the car boasted an impressive power output of 180bhp thanks to a supercharger. Paired with a four-speed gearbox, the 540K could effortlessly reach speeds of up to 170 km/h, solidifying its status as one of the most comfortable, secure, and rapid vehicles of its time. In 1938, the car came into possession of Yashwantrao Martandrao Mukne, Maharaja Of Jawhar, remaining in his family until India gained independence. Upon learning of the car’s existence, Late Pranlal Bhogilal endeavoured to persuade the Maharaja and successfully acquired the 540K in 1976. Despite having its engine upgraded to a more fuel-efficient diesel unit from Perkins, the car’s original engine was rediscovered and reinstalled when it was retrieved from the basement of Sterling Apartment. However, the gearbox had endured significant wear and tear, leading to unresolved issues that ultimately led to the car being stored in the garage for over four decades, out of sight from prying eyes. 

 

 

Meanwhile, Pranlal Bhogilal grew to become the most prestigious car collector in India. Born on November 28, 1937, he was just a young teenager when he started collecting art, artefacts’, jewelry, and cars from the royal families of India. By the mid-1970s, Bhogilal had amassed an extensive collection that included a wide variety of items, with a particular focus on vintage vehicles of historical significance. Tragically, he passed away in 2011. His daughter Chamundeshwari and son-in-law Brijesh Chinai have been quietly and yet actively working at rejuvenating the various gems in the Pranlal Bhogilal’s collection. Among the standout pieces this time was the Mercedes Benz 540K.

 

 “As we carefully worked on the restoration of the vintage car with specialists helping us, a sense of pride, happiness, and nostalgia enveloped us. The gleaming paint, the purring engines, and the intricate details evoked memories of our childhood spent tinkering with him in the garage. Each vehicle told a story of an era long past, a testament to his passion for preserving its craftsmanship and beauty. Bringing these automobiles back to life was more than just a mechanical accomplishment. It was a way for us to honour his legacy and preserve his love for vintage and classic cars. After restoration, we could almost feel his presence beside us, smiling at the sight of one of his cherished car finding new lease of life in our hands. 

 

Our journey to rejuvenate this collection has not only enriched our lives but we hope to continue our late fathers commitment of preserving the heritage of our country, carrying forward stories and sentiments that words could never express,” concluded late Pranlal Bhogilal’s daughter Chamundeshwari and her husband Brijesh Chinai.


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