Yusuffali to treasure car gifted by a king: A 1955 Mercedes Benz

The vehicle was reportedly purchased for Rs12,000 in the 1950s

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Thu 7 Apr 2022, 11:30 AM

Last updated: Fri 8 Apr 2022, 12:25 AM

Indian business tycoon MA Yusuffali will cherish a vintage 1955 Mercedes Benz gifted by the Travancore royal family.

The rare Benz 180 T, which was owned by late titular king Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, is currently at a palace in Thiruvananthapuram.

Speaking to Khaleej Times through a representative, the chairman of Lulu Group said he intends to keep the car in Thiruvananthapuram for public viewing.

"I am looking out for a suitable place to keep the car in Thiruvananthapuram, as it belongs there," said Ali. "I do not have any intention to drive it. People can view it and click photos with it."

Indian media reports said the vintage Benz was the late king's favourite car, and he did not give it up despite being offered two new ones in return.

King Uthradam reportedly purchased the car for Rs12,000 in the 1950s at the age of 38.

"The car has got a lot of history and legacy behind it," said Ali.

He recalled how king Uthradam had first shown him his prized possession during a visit to the palace.

"I had a very close relationship with the Maharaja. We had visited each other on several occasions. (During one such visit), he had shown me the car and said he wanted to gift it to me. When I heard that the first time, I felt so delighted. I still cherish those memories with him."

When asked when the car would be handed over to him, the industrialist said the date had not been finalised.

"I will be going to Thiruvananthapuram in the near future … maybe after the holy month of Ramadan. It may be handed over then."


Sharing another anecdote, Ali said, "When he visited my house once, I had gifted him a small memento - a crystal sword. When I went to the Maharaja's palace after his demise (in 2013), I saw the sword kept in a prime position. It made me feel really special. The Maharaja's son told me that the crystal sword was very precious to him."

The Maharaja was a man of great knowledge, he said.

"I have a learnt a lot of things from him, including serving humanity."

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