The 1955 model Mercedes-Benz 180 T bearing the registration number CAN 42 has always been the pride of the erstwhile Travancore royal family, but very soon it will have a new owner in billionaire M.A. Yusuff Ali.
Sree Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the former Maharaja of Travancore who passed away in 2013, had promised Ali that this iconic vehicle, which was the envy of many including its manufacturer Mercedes Benz who had approached the royal family that it would be glad to take it and compensate them, but it was politely denied by the Maharaja.
The vehicle by now has covered a staggering 23 lakh miles and according to vehicle buffs and those who have seen it, "it's in mint condition" and is presently with the late Maharaja's son Padmanabha Varma and the Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma Foundation.
Bought for a then princely sum of Rs 12,000, its present value according to those conversant with vehicles, is priceless. This car will now be parked by its new owner at a stone's throw from the Palace, where Ali has built a new home.