In the early years of the 20th Century, a relatively new invention called the automobile was mostly custom-designed in the small garages of private individuals who were master mechanics and nascent engineers. Some of the best were built by French innovators.
A few of the top names to emerge from France were Hispano-Suiza, Darracq and Cottereau. These car models comprised the most stylish and powerful automobiles to hit the roads of Europe in the early days of the new century.
Amazingly, fully-restored models of each of these rare French brands can now all be found in the collection of one man. He is an Indian-born British citizen Sudhir Choudhrie, a billionaire businessman who made a fortune in the import-export trade early in his career before expanding his interests to many sectors.
Sudhir Choudhrie began collecting vintage automobiles in the 1980s. That was when he happened to cross paths with a rusted-out heap languishing in a back street of Delhi. It was a 1938 Mercedes convertible –- or at least the remnants of one. It was serving as a home for stray cats when Choudhrie opted to lay down 50,000 rupees (about $9,000 at the time) to purchase it. It took years of painstaking work to restore the classic Mercedes to a state of pristine glory. When the job was done, Sudhir Choudhrie was hooked on a compelling new hobby and more
Choudhrie is interested in cars that pre-date approximately the year 1940. Many of the vintage specimens now in his collection are of exceedingly rare pedigree, some dating to the 1890s. Many items in his collection hail from the first five years of the 1900s. He has two Cadillacs, one a 1900 model and the other originally built-in 1902. In addition to French and German brands, Sudhir Choudhrie is a huge fan of the British Rolls Royce.