Sudhir Choudhrie is known for being a successful entrepreneur, visionary, and philanthropist—one of India’s most successful people. Choudhrie made his fortune thanks to a wide range of investments and businesses that enjoyed astonishing success under his leadership.
Choudhrie and his wife are active philanthropists, who support a wide range of foundations and charities. One of their passions is art, leading to their founding of the Stellar International Art Foundation in 2008.
But Sudhir Choudhrie has another personal passion, one that’s led him around the world and made him an icon in an entirely different sphere— that of vintage car collecting and restoration. Choudhrie has one of the most respected collections of vintage automobiles in the world, and one of the finest personal collections in all of India. Not only does he collect these vehicles, but he has personally overseen their restoration to their former glory.
The Sudhir Choudhrie Vintage Car Collection
Since acquiring his wealth, Sudhir Choudhrie spends much of the time not already occupied by his business and philanthropic ventures with a very distinctive hobby— in addition to collecting Indian art, Sudhir is an avid and passionate collector and restorer of vintage cars from around the world. With a collection that includes dozens of vehicles, Sudhir’s cars reach back over a century in history and span multiple countries and continents. His collection features some of the finest luxury cars ever made alongside cars originally produced for their economic viability that later went on to become icons.
One can’t explore the history of automobiles without talking about Italy, one of the most impactful and influential countries in the rise of the automobile industry and its continued success and place in global culture. To put Choudhrie’s automobile collection into context, it’s important to understand where Italy fits into the rise of the motor carrier and its continued place as a major influencer on the worldwide stage.
The History of Automobiles in Italy
The automotive industry is one of the largest in the world, employing over 250,000 people and including over 2,130 companies.
Generally, Italian automobiles are known for being small, zippy, and perfect for driving around the city streets for which Italy is so well known. Italy’s automotive industry accounts for 8.5% of Italy’s Gross Domestic Product.
Nowadays, the Italian consumer automobile industry is almost completely dominated by Fiat. Over 90% of the vehicles manufactured in Italy are Fiat models, a figure that includes Fiat subsidiaries like Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and Maserati.
Italy has won more European Car of the Year awards more than almost any other country and has even won the World Car of the Year award on multiple occasions.
The Italian automotive industry first began in the late 1880s when pioneers like Stefanini-Martina and Enrico Bernardi began building self-powered vehicles.
In 1888, a man named Giovanni Battista Ceirano was selling bicycles when he realized there was a new market to explore. Less than 10 years later, he had cofounded Ceirano GB & C to develop and release the Walleyes motor car.
This ultimately led to the creation of the very first FIAT. Its top speed was 22MPH and it featured a 4-horsepower engine.
From here, the Italian automobile industry expanded rapidly to include brands like Aquila Italiana, Darracq, Diatto, Itala, Junior, Lancia, STAR, Rapid, SPA, and more.
When the World Wars hit, many of these smaller brands folded or were ultimately absorbed by FIAT or overseas manufacturers.
Italy Represented in Choudhrie Vintage Car Collection
Sudhir Choudhrie has vehicles from all over the world. Italy is well-known for its small and speedy cars, and in most cases, this means a model made by Fiat, which accounts for 90 percent of the cars made there. The Fiat is represented in Choudhrie’s collection. Although there is just one Fiat in the collection, it is definitely one of the more special cars in the collection, a Fiat 514 1930S.
Choudhrie’s cars are not just for collecting; he enjoys restoring them as well. As of 2017, Sudhir Choudhrie’s collection had 37 cars, which are stored and being restored, by mechanics in India. One day, Choudhrie hopes to share his collection with the public.
The Fiat 514 1930S, first produced in 1929 and discontinued in 1932, is one of the most iconic Italian automobiles in history. The range of versions include a 2-seater plus dickey with 2 doors, known as the Spider, a tourer with 4 doors and 4 seats known as the Torpedo, a Coupe design with 2 doors, a Saloon style with 2 doors and 4 seats, a 514 MM with 2 seats, and a 514 CA with 2 seats. One Fiat 514 was so iconic that it received its own individual name— Walter Bijou. It now sits in a museum in the Czech Republic.
Sudhir Choudhrie’s Fiat is a personality-rich bright yellow version with a black top and boasts all of the iconic curves and lines of the Fiat 514 series.
The Fiat Automobiles Company was first formed with the release of the Fiat 4 HP in 1899. It’s now the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy, with a century-long history that saw it competing with General Motors and Ford and holding the spot of the world’s third-largest manufacturer of automobiles until the car industry’s crisis that occurred in the late 80s.
Today, Fiat is the 7th largest producer of automobiles in the world, employing more than 100,000 people and once producing over 1.4 million cars each year.
Fiat brand vehicles are produced in a wide range of factories around the world, with the largest production facility outside of Italy being situated in Brazil. In Brazil, Fiat leads the market in all automobiles. Fiat also has factories located in Poland, Mexico, Argentina, and more.
Fiat has received a long list of awards for its cars, including an impressive 9 awards for European Car of the Year—the most of any manufacturer. It has also made a concerted effort to lower emissions by their vehicles, making it a consistent leader when it comes to low CO2 emissions among European vehicles.
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