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Published: 21/05/2020

Car transporters - old school

This is reported to be the 1938 Mercedes-Benz that Adolf Hitler gave to King Truibhuvan of Nepal in 1940.  The only modern roads in the country at the time were in the capital, so cars had to carried over the mountains from India along rocky, hilly roads to Kathmandu and this car was the first one in the city.

However, there is controversy about what the car was, to whom it was given and indeed where it actually is now.  Janak Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah, the daughter of Judha Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, Nepal’s seventh hereditary Prime Minister claims that the car was not given to the King; it was given to her father who held the real power in the country and that it was actually a 1936 Daimler-Benz.  It was one of only two ever made, Hitler having the other one.  It was presumably given to him by Hitler to try to prevent the Gurkhas being sent into WW2 to fight for the allies.  When the Prime Minister abdicated in favour of his nephew in 1945, he went to live in northern India and took the car with him.

His daughter used it whilst she was a student there and she says that the car is still there at the family’s mansion and it is not the car that was recently discovered at the old Royal Palace in Kathmandu.

One man who could remember carrying the car into Kathmandu was Dhan Bahadur Gole, born in 1922 in Chitlang village just outside Kathmandu.  He was the last known survivor of the famous team of car porters who carried the cars from India to Kathmandu until the Tribhuvan highway was built in 1956 linking Nepal’s capital to the southern town of Birgunj near the India border.  He had never been in a car and said that cars were of no use to him and he was happier at home anyway.