As mentioned in the earlier chapter, RR GLK 21 was cannibalized and its engine put in RR 42 GO. The engine from 42 GO was in turn put in GLK 21, but it was in need of work and moreover it did not match with the gearbox. As a result, RR GLK 21 lay unused and almost forgotten for over half-a-century in the City Palace, Udaipur.
Then in the year 1999, it came to the notice of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar. He asked his Palace Motor Garage to take full stock of the Rolls-Royce 20 HP with Barker body and chassis no. GLK 21. A list of all available and missing parts was made. The work required to restore it was also listed and at the same time restoration experts in both India and the UK were contacted.
Finally, it was M/s Hofmann’s of Henley who were given the job of overseeing the project and they put Rolls-Royce restoration expert Graham Ashley-Carter in charge of this assignment. Andrew Wood, an engineering expert and founder of the UK Rolls-Royce specialist company P&A Woods, was also roped in to help out as were people like John Fasal, noted Rolls-Royce historian and author of books like Rolls-Royce Twenty.
Each one contributed in his own way. The original engine allocated to RR 42 GO was G 121 but this was replaced with G 154 and in 1936 engine G 1174 was fitted from RR GLK 21. Today engine G 154 is stored in the palace garage, where it resides even today along with other original parts like its spark plugs, rocker shaft assembly, push rods, connecting rods, camshaft gear, etc.
A new engine bearing number G1135 originally fitted to the 1924 Rolls-Royce 20 H.P. GDK 54 Saloon by the Albert Bridge Garage and repair works and a gearbox bearing no. G834 originally fitted to the 1923 Rolls-Royce 20 H.P. GH 70 a Barker Tourer was procured in the UK. The RR GLK 21’s original gearbox was also sent to Ashley-Carter in the UK to make modifications for it to match and mate if required with the engine. Then started the detailed and slow process of completely stripping down RR GLK 21. The radiator and some other parts were sent to the UK for complete overhaul and restoration. New leaf springs, new shackle pins, exhaust system, etc., were procured from the UK and new tyres from New Zealand. The switch box was overhauled and a new key made. Ashley-Carter insisted that to preserve the value and appearance of the car all the plating should be done in nickel and not chrome. Some of the work was outsourced to the UK and the rest was ably carried out in the Palace Motor Garage by the team of Anu Vikram Singh, Keeper, Vintage and Classic Car Collection (VCCC), Udaipur, Surendra Singh, Sr. mechanic, VCCC, Manoj Sen, assistant, Rajendra Sen, assistant mechanic and Mohan Lal Lohar, denting specialist.
There was lots of work to be done. The oil pressure gauge was overhauled and recalibrated; brakes were overhauled as was the speedometer cable that originally belonged to RR 42 GO. The petrol tank and wheels were opened up and serviced thoroughly. Denting and body work was done wherever required. At the same time, the full upholstery was being done in leather and the body prepared for a fresh coat of paint. The new engine, gearbox, exhaust system were installed as were the new springs and complete suspension.
In October 2005, Winston Teague and David Aston of Hofmann’s of Henley travelled to Udaipur to do the complete electrical overhaul. They overhauled the fuse box and the rewired the full electrical system. The starter was overhauled and new taillights, wiper motor, wiper arms and blades were refitted.
The RR GLK 21 also had a hand lamp or spotlight that could be manually adjusted by a lever at the back. It was very useful for shikar, which was very popular in India in the early 20th century. This lamp was an extra fitment ordered specially for India and it was made by Stephen Grebel of Paris. This spotlight was also completely stripped and restored as was the Klaxon horn.
The carburettor was also restored and the car painted powder blue, with the mudguard sprayed dark blue and the wheels black—the original factory colour combination. Then in the presence of Ashley-Carter, RR GLK 21 was fired up for the first time in almost 70 years, which it did the first time around—a truly historical moment! Ashley-Carter then undertook road trails in and around Udaipur and did a full tune-up and made final adjustments and settings.
Finally, it was time for RR GLK 21 to be adorned with the Udaipur coat of arms, state flags, license plates, ceremonial light, etc. After a restoration process that took around seven to eight years, RR GLK 21 was finally resurrected and took pride of place in the Udaipur palace garage. It was as if RR GLK 21, the Rolls-Royce 20 HP that had been bought purely as a source of spare parts for RR 42 GO, had been vindicated and was now making a miraculous comeback by ‘rising from the ashes like the phoenix’.