Yohan Poonawalla: Classic Car Ambassador Of The Year MOHAMMED LUQMAN ALI KHAN – 11 JAN 2024

A few weeks ago, a wonderful surprise at the British classic car magazine Octane’s Historic Motoring Awards in London was Yohan Poonawalla’s historic win of the prestigious award, the Classic Car Ambassador of the Year 2023.

The magazine published in its recent January 2024 issues the reasons why the panel of judges comprising of experts from the across the world, chose Yohan Poonawalla amongst several well-known collectors worldwide, stating that, “Yohan Poonawalla’s mission is to share India’s motoring heritage with the world via his personal collection of vintage and classic cars.”

The magazine went on to add: “He became the first Indian to feature in the annual list of the world’s top 100 classic car collectors compiled by the Classic Car Trust.”

This was on the back of his felicitation as ‘India’s Motoring Ambassador to the World’. He was also announced ‘The Collector of the Year’ at the Geneva International Motor Show Qatar in October 2023 where he showcased seven historic cars at the ‘Classics Gallery’.

One of his seven cars was the ‘star car of the show’, “the Rolls-Royce Phantom V bodied by James Young was delivered new to the then Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Ali Al Thani, after it starred at the 1962 Geneva Motor Show.”

It was a truly momentous occasion to witness the passion and contributions of one of India’s leading car collectors recognised on the world stage in the presence of global ‘motorati’ assembled at the Dorchester Hotel for what is considered as the ‘Oscars of motoring’, according to some.

A lifetime’s passion for classic cars has been acknowledged at the highest level and a thoroughly well-deserved title bestowed. This award is a testament to one man’s mission to protect, preserve and promote classic motoring.

Commenting on the award, Yohan Poonawalla said “I am delighted and honoured to receive this very special award. I would like to thank HMA for conferring on me this recognition, the first for an Indian. It is my pleasure to showcase historic cars globally and I am committed to help and support the growth of the classic car movement. I would also like to thank my family for always being by my side and giving me their unstinted support, and my dedicated and hardworking team deserves a special mention today. I want to congratulate all the winners and finalists.”

“The Historic Motoring Awards are the only truly global recognition of endeavour in the industry, and they are by far the most prestigious accolade for enthusiasts and ‘the trade’ alike. The Awards span everything from glamourous concours to gritty restoration, from people just starting out in the classic car world to those who have already dedicated a lifetime to it. HMA is the most prestigious event to celebrate the entire classic world, the great and the good of the classic and performance car world gather for a night of celebration unrivalled on the classic calendar” said James Elliott, Editor-in-Chief of Octane Magazine.

Even if deRivaz & Ives has featured several cars and events where Yohan Poonawalla’s cars have figured, we have yet to do a comprehensive story on the very special collection that the billionaire owner of the famed Poonawalla Stud Farms, Poonawalla Racing and Breeding, Poonawalla Real Estates, Poonawalla Financials, Poonawalla Engineering Group & Share holder in the Serum Institute of India has built up over the years.

Some of the cars from the Yohan Poonawalla Collection that we have featured includes a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI (The Queen And The Phantom ‘PGH 116’ (derivaz-ives.com), a 1927 Rolls-Royce Twenty, which used to be owned by the Nawab of Sachin (India’s first entry at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este (derivaz-ives.com), a Bentley Mark VI, from 1949 (1949 Bentley Mark VI: Mysore 1 Goes Back to Its Birthplace (derivaz-ives.com) and a 1964 Lincoln Continental (The Pope, Mother Teresa And A Lincoln Continental (derivaz-ives.com).