Category: Sudhir Choudhrie

Sudhir Choudhrie Maintains Extraordinary Vintage Car Collection

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.

The Rise of Sudhir Choudhrie: An UK-Indian Business Tycoon

Sudhir was born in Punjab, India, on 14 August 1950. His father, G.K. Choudhrie, founded Choudhrie & Sons, which is one of India’s largest diversified conglomerates, encompassing pharmaceuticals, among other businesses. In 1981, Sudhir Choudhrie founded the Indian specialist medical support organization Medical Control, now known as the Choudhrie Group. The group operates a large international healthcare company, which delivers healthcare to nearly two million people, largely in the developing world.

The group is also a major investor in the National Health Service and is involved in healthcare provision in the UK, the US, and India. Choudhrie’s companies have also made an unbroken string of successful investments in Britain in the past 40 years, such as BT Group, WH Smith, and London City Airport. Sudhir Choudhrie was born to S.K. Birla in a royal family of Marwari Jain ancestry. Despite not owning any of India’s rich conglomerates, SK. Birla’s financial holdings earned him the title of “The Last Maharaja.” However, he took to philanthropy as his business interests began to expand to the Middle East.

Sudhir Choudhrie had a formative experience that inspired him to apply his business acumen to good causes. His friend, Mahesh Patel, had a relative in a Nigerian refugee camp who died of Aids. The Indian government paid for burial rites in India but denied those of the deceased in other countries. Sudhir, therefore, set up a foundation in Nigeria to help AIDS orphans in Africa. Sudhir Choudhrie is the founder of the Omnicare Group, which he founded in 1993, and Fortis Healthcare and Indiabulls. Not to confuse the Mumbai-based Hinduja Brothers, his family (his father, Vamanbhai Choudhrie, was from Kutch, Gujarat) migrated to England during the British Raj.

Sudhir was educated in England at Abingdon School and was classed as a social diver. In the mid-1970s, he established Surya group, a distribution company selling pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and other sundries to over 8,000 pharmacies, drug stores, and hospitals.