THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The 1955 Mercedes Benz 180 T, one of the favourite cars of the late Marthanda Varma, the Maharaja of Travancore, will soon adorn the collection of LuLu Group chairman Yusuffali MA.
The Travancore Royal family and Sree Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma Foundation are set to hand over the car, currently kept in Pattom palace under the supervision of Marthanda Varma's son Padmanabha Varma and the foundation, to Yusuffali. The move aims to honour the late king's announcement in 2012 that he would present the car to the businessman.
The car, bearing the registration number CAN 42, is registered in Karnataka. The royal family bought it in the 1950s for Rs 12,000. Built in Stuttgart, Germany, the car was one of the favourites of the late king who used to take it everywhere during his stay in Bengaluru.
It was nicknamed 'Mile A Minute' as Marthanda Varma rode it at a speed of one mile per minute. It is estimated that Marthanda Varma covered a total of 40 lakh miles in the car, either by driving on his own or as a passenger, since he was 38.
Medal by the west German car maker are also affixed on the front of the car to mark the distance the vehicle covered. The late maharaja drove the car even when he was 85.
Several dignitaries had offered handsome sums of money to buy the car. Even Benz wanted to turn it into a symbol of its pride as the distance the vehicle covered was more than that of its newer models.