Booklet Gearshift Owner's manual Original receipt
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Q: What is it?

A: It's a 1947 Vauxhall "14."

Q: What's a Vauxhall?

A: Vauxhall Motors is a British car company.


Q: How did it get named?

A: It was named the "Mahatma Rod" at a car-naming picnic. Many names were suggested (list). Thanks to all--from NYC, New Delhi, London, Muscat, etc.--who sent names!

Q: Did anyone suggest calling it the Taj Me Haul?

A: Yes.

Q: What did people eat and drink at the picnic?

A: Lamb kebabs, Thums Up cola from India and a cake that looked like this:


Q: What does "mahatma" mean?

A: "Great soul."

Q: It looks like a London taxi.

A: The 14 wasn't a London taxi. But it was a police car.

Q: Explain the license plates.

A: The first line is "UPR" for Uttar Pradesh. The second line looks like "8063," but those are the Hindi numerals "4073."

Translation: ''UPR 4073''

Q: Is that a hand painted license plate?

A: It appears to be.

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

A: The car was actually designed in the 1930s. Because of WWII, it stayed in production a very long time.

Q: Does the Mahatma Rod haul ass?

A: No.


Q: Was it sold in the U.S.?

A: It was sold mostly in Europe and former British colonies like Australia and India. (Also Guyana, Jamaica and Greece, according to people who have recognized it around town.)

Q: Let's pretend it's 1947, and I need to buy a car, and I'm in India. Please quote me a price in Indian rupees.

A: You need 9,575 rupees or you're walking home, according to the original sales receipt. (That would be about $23,400 in current U.S. dollars.)

Gearshift Buddha

Q: Is it mechanically original?

A: Mechanically the car is original, and cosmetically it's close except for things like the Buddha head on the gearshift.

Q: But the sunroof isn't original.

A: Wrong. That sunroof is a factory sunroof.


Q: Who's behind the wheel.

A: This person.

Q: What is the word for "spare tire" in Hindi?

A: The word for spare tire in Hindi is "stepney."

Q: I've got more questions.

A: Write to: mahatma [at] mahatma-rod [dot] com.