“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.” These lines marked the Independence of our nation. And also marked the new beginning of the industry in India. One of the major industries that have emerged since then is the Automotive industry. Many of the companies have strived through the hardships faced while a few vanished and became a talk of history. One such company is the Aravind Automobiles. This company came up with a total of 3 cars out of which the Model 3 is the one you might have heard of.

Aravind Palace Special: An Untold Story

Goa became a hub for luxury cars
Goa became a hub for classic and vintage cars

After Goa being part of India, many luxury cars were open for sale in the country. The Maharaja of Travancore wanted one for himself. So he appointed his secretary Mr V.P. Tampi and Mr K.A Balakrishnan Menon to go to Goa and bring a car that would supplement the aura of the Highness.

Mr Menon and Mr Tampi scourged through the plethora of cars that were available for sale in Goa. But none of them was good enough to be presented to the Highness. The delegation fo the two members returned to their hotel, frustrated as they were not able to find a suitable car.

But Menon being an automobile enthusiast, was not ready to give up so easily. He grabbed a pen and a paper and drew an outline of a car himself. He also told Tampi that if they cannot find a car, he’ll build one himself for the highness.

Baffled and astonished by the idea of his friend, Tampi thought that Mr Menon is ridiculed by the idea of not finding a car. But after careful consideration, Tampi promised to present the idea to the Highness.

What happened then? Was the car going to remain on the paper?

No, absolutely not. As promised, Tampi shared the idea with the Maharaja. He told that there was a 1939 Cadillac Fleetwood which Menon will modify to suit the shine of the Palace. Menon was given permission to go ahead, but with a condition. If the car is not able to meet the expectations, Menon will have to bear the cost of building of the car and the cost of acquiring the limo.

The Aravind Car | A Forgotten Piece of Indian Automobile History
The Aravind Badging

With sword hung on his head, Menon started the work. In a small garage with few blacksmiths at his disposal, he built the beauty, Aravind Palace Special was born on 29th of May 1965 after a hard work of over 10 months.

When it was showcased in front of Maharaja, the highness was really impressed by the work of Mr K.A.B Menon. He congratulated Menon on the job well done. Even the press was present at the launch of the second car from Aravind Automobiles. Mr Menon was praised for his excellent skills which went into building a car of its own kind.

Then, What went wrong with the company?

Mr Menon decided to respond to a tender that was put out by the Indira Gandhi’s government for the small car project and came up with the Model 3. But if the company was praised so much, why was it not able to produce more? The simple answer is no support. Mr Menon tried to get the government’s support in setting up a factory from where he would roll out cars that would cost less than Rs.5000 at that time.

1965 Aravind Palace Special
1965 Aravind Palace Special

But the government decided not to support the motive and instead the support was given to Maruti Udyog for clearly obvious reasons. Let’s not dwell into the politics right now. But this company was not able to take off due to no support. Hence, another company lost the race to become a renowned automobile manufacturer in India and Indians were never able to have a taste of the first truly Indian car.

The Aravind Model 3 | A Forgotten Piece of Indian Automobile History
The Aravind Model 3 | A Forgotten Piece of Indian Automobile History

Whatsoever be the fate, this unsung marvel of the Automobile industry needs to be appreciated and well-known. Let us know your views in the comments section below. To know more about Aravind Automobiles, click here.

Have a look: 1949 Meera Minicar | A Micro Car Made in India

The Aravind Car | A Forgotten Piece of Indian Automobile History
Late Mr K.A.B Menon | The man behind the Aravind Car

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