Sudhir Choudrie: Businessman, Philanthropist, and Vintage German Car Collector

Sudhir Choudhrie is an Indian-born businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and billionaire. Born in 1949, Choudhrie was raised in Delhi by his mother whom he still considers one of his greatest role models. Choudhrie went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Delhi, before going on to join his grandfather’s real estate business based in Delhi.

Choudhrie’s entrepreneurial skills soon became apparent, as he launched his own business that involved resale of UK television equipment in India. His biggest client was in fact the Indian government, which was in the process of growing India’s burgeoning network of television stations in the 60s and 70s. It wasn’t long before Choudhrie then branched out his exporting business to include a wide range of other consumer goods, including farm equipment. He also expanded his global reach, dealing with a growing list of nations. In 1975, Choudhrie founded the Magnum International Trading Company.

Since then, Choudhrie has launched and led a wide range of successful businesses that have led to a net worth of over $2 billion. He’s received a number of accolades, including the Asian Business Lifetime Achievement award given to him by Theresa May.

Choudhrie now devotes much of his time to philanthropic efforts, one of the most significant of these includes Green Templeton College and the University of Oxford—where a library now bears the family name.

Choudhrie is also a benefactor of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York and many other organizations, spending much of his time working with charities from around the globe.

Choudhrie is also a lover of two major personal passions— Indian art, and the collecting of rare vintage cars, which he lovingly restores in his spare time. Choudhrie’s collection is often considered to be the greatest in all of India, and features vehicles that span over a century and multiple nations, brands, and manufacturing lines. In this article, we’ll learn more about the German vehicles featured in Choudhrie’s collection.

The History of Automobiles in Germany

Germany has a rich history of automobile manufacturing and is to this day the largest automobile manufacturer in all of Europe. In fact, the German automobile industry is among the largest employers in the world. It’s also considered the most competitive automotive market in the world, pumping out over six million vehicles a year.

German-designed cards have won major international car awards more than any other country, and iconic vehicles like the Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 911 have even been ranked in the top 5 in the Cars of the Century awards.

In the late 1870s, pioneers like Karl Benz and Nikolaus Otto were already developing internal combustion engines, and by the 1880s they were already attaching them to coach-style bodies to create automobiles. As early as 1901, Germany was already producing nearly 1,000 automobiles each year. By the early 1920s, iconic German brands were already beginning to emerge—including Mercedes-Benz and BMW, founded in 1926 and 1916 respectively.

The German Collection

Sudhir Choudhrie’s car collection features several of the most iconic German vehicles in automotive history, and in this rundown we’ll highlight some of the most impressive along with a short description of what makes each one unique.

Mercedes Benz 320 Cabriolet D W142 Series 1937- 42

The Mercedes Benz 320 Cabriolet D was designed by Hans Nibel and it was the first car in the collection, giving it a special place in the heart of collector Sudhir Choudhrie. This is the car that started it all. It’s a 4-door Cabriolet with 4-side windows, and its visually striking profile quickly made it an icon. It was in production from 1937 to 1942 before being phased out to make room for the next generation of vehicles based on the style and technical innovations of the time.

Sudhir Choudhrie: Mercedes Benz 320 Cabriolet D W142 Series 1937- 42
Sudhir Choudhrie: Mercedes Benz 320 Cabriolet D W142 Series 1937- 42

Mercedes Benz 170V Sedan W 136 Series 1936 – 1955

The Mercedes Benz 170V Sedan W 136 Series was also designed by Hans Nibel. With independent suspension, the model was advanced for its time and was instrumental in pushing the future of automotive design forward to an unprecedented degree. It featured an inline 4-cylinder side-valve engine with a 4-speed gearbox, making it also particularly powerful for a vehicle at the time.

Sudhir Choudhrie: Mercedes Benz 170V Sedan W 136 Series 1936 – 1955
Sudhir Choudhrie: Mercedes Benz 170V Sedan W 136 Series 1936 – 1955

Mercedes Benz 170V W136 Series 2-door Cabriolet A 1937

The Mercedes Benz 170V W136 Series 2-door Cabriolet A is another one of the favorites in the Sudhir Choudhrie Vintage Car Collection. It was (again) designed by Hans Nibel. This one is a 2-door Cabriolet with an inline 4-cylinder side valve engine, a 4-speed gearbox and independent suspension.

Sudhir Choudhrie: Mercedes Benz 170V W136 Series 2-door Cabriolet A 1937
Sudhir Choudhrie: Mercedes Benz 170V W136 Series 2-door Cabriolet A 1937

Mercedes Benz 230 W21 series Cabriolet D 1936/37

The Mercedes Benz 230 W21 series Cabriolet D 1936/37 was another one designed by Hans Nibel. It has a side-valve six-cylinder engine with a 4-speed manual gearbox. This Cabriolet features four doors and four windows.

Sudhir Choudhrie: Mercedes Benz 230 W21 series Cabriolet D 1936/37
Sudhir Choudhrie: Mercedes Benz 230 W21 series Cabriolet D 1936/37

Adler Trumpf Junior 1937

The Adler Trumpf Junior was designed to be a small family car with front-wheel drive, lower-body height and a comparably roominess in the passenger compartment. Adler stopped making this model in 1941, so this 2-door model had a short production run. It does feature a 4-cyclinder and a 4-stroke side-valve engine. As rare as it was for its time, the Adler Trumpf Junior features front-wheel drive and a 4-speed gearbox.

Sudhir Choudhrie: Adler Trumpf Junior 1937
Sudhir Choudhrie: Adler Trumpf Junior 1937

DKW F7 Deluxe convertible, 4-seater, 1938

The DKW F7 Deluxe convertible is an attractive 4-seater, which was envisioned as a replacement of the DKW F5. There were a number of options to choose from, but this model featured front-wheel drive, which was unusual for the period. The engine was an inline 2-cylinder, 2-stroke of 690cc. Speeds topped out at 53 mph.

Sudhir Choudhrie: DKW F7 Deluxe convertible, 4-seater, 1938
Sudhir Choudhrie: DKW F7 Deluxe convertible, 4-seater, 1938

About Sudhir Choudhrie

Sudhir Choudhrie, best known as a pioneering entrepreneur, art collector, philanthropist, and successful businessman who has won awards for his endeavors, is proud of his vintage German car collection. Most of his collection includes cars manufactured prior to December 1939, with the most popular designer of the cars in his collection being Hans Nobel, a noted German car designer from the 1930s.

The German portion of Sudhir Choudhrie’s collection could account for an incredibly complete collection in its own right, but for Choudhrie it’s just a small part of one of the world’s greatest automobile collections—and one of the largest in India.

Choudhrie loves restoring these vehicles in his spare time. He considers it a labor of love, and some of the restoration projects take four or five years since parts for vintage cars are sometimes hard to come by. Even with the help of seven mechanics, some restoration projects have taken him up to 10 years.

These cars are currently not on display, but when all the cars in his collection have been restored, Choudhrie plans on opening a hotel and convention center that will include both a car museum and an art museum that will house his collection of Indian art.

 

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