Booklet Gearshift Owner's manual Original receipt
FAQ | Photos | Car Naming Picnic | Glovebox | Comment | FoM

Maybe you've spotted this car prowling the streets of NYC. Or maybe not. Anyway here's the story.

(If you have a question that isn't answered here, please click the "comment" button at the bottom of this page to ask.)

Q: What is the car?

It's a 1947 Vauxhall 14. Built in Bedfordshire, England.

Q: What is a Vauxhall?

It's a British make that's been around for more than a century, but wasn't sold much in the U.S.

Q: If it's a 1947, why does it look so 1930s?

This model was designed in the early '30s. But because of World War II, it didn't get updated for years. So you could say it's one of the last cars from the "1930s" ever built.

Q: Explain the license plates.

The car spent most of its life in India, and the tags are in Hindi. The first line is "UPR" for Uttar Pradesh, the state it was registered in.

The number looks like "8063," but in Hindi it actually reads "4073" in case you were wondering.

Q: Does this car have a name?

Its name is The Mahatma Rod. It got this name at a car-naming picnic. More than 100 names were nominated and considered, from "Chutney Chutney Bang Bang" to "The Taj Me Haul."

Picnic goers also ate lamb kebabs, drank Thums Up (India's national cola), and ate a cake that looked like this:

See the whole list of suggested car names here. Thank you to everyone--from NYC, California, Muscat, London, New Delhi, New Jersey etc.--who suggested names!

Q: How many ponies under the hood?

This vehicle boasts a six-cylinder, 48-horsepower engine that will get you up to 30 mph without even breaking a sweat.

Q: The Mahatma Rod looks like an old British taxi.

The shape is similar but this model of car was never used as a London taxi.

Q: Was the Vauxhall 14 sold in the U.S.?

It was sold mostly in Europe and in former British colonies including India and Australia. (Also spotted in Guyana and Jamaica we're told. And Greece.)

Q: Let's pretend I'm in the market to purchase a new car. And the year is 1947. And I'm standing on a new-car lot in India. What's the damage? (I'll take that price quote in rupees, please.)

You need 9,575 rupees or you're walking home, according to this car's original sales receipt.

Q: How faithful is the restoration?

Purists might sniff at The Mahatma Rod's gearshift knob, which is a Buddha. But mechanically the car is original and cosmetically it's close enough.

Q: But the sunroof isn't original.

Wrong. That sunroof is a factory sunroof.

Q: Do you have a 10-second video of the car driving down the street?

Yes. Here's a 10-second video of the car driving down the street. (Click here for more car videos; scroll to the very bottom of the last page).

Q: Is the Mahatma Rod available for hire?

It's available for photo shoots or for use as a stationary prop at an event.


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