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besiege him and his car. “Actually, I’d prefer to drive a two-seater,” he says. “But we always need guards with us in the vehicle who keep an eye on the cars. After all, the people here still get completely out of control when they see an AMG.” Whenever Hima’s desire for greater automotive freedom overwhelms him, he travels to Europe to let off steam on racetracks and highways. But at the present moment we want to explore his own princely realm. We set off in a convoy of several AMGs and trucks with strongmen on board. Hima drives us in his C 63 AMG to a large warehouse. “Well, that’s it!” he shouts. “These tires have not lasted very long, and now they need to be punished for it!” He lets us get out and glides in the C 63 AMG into the middle of a vast open space. One of his men walks over and pours water next to the prince’s car. As soon as Hima lets the car spin wildly, giving off clouds of smoke, hundreds of people appear out of nowhere. Shortly afterward, the local police arrive and together with Hima’s companions try to keep the spectators at a distance for their own safety. The loud acceleration and the great deal of smoke make the onlookers go absolutely berserk, with some even shrieking out of enthusiasm. “And now I’m really going to let it rip,” cries Hima, who has since taken a seat in the cockpit of his red SLS AMG – and he’s gone. We try everything to keep up in our breathtaking CLS 63 AMG without electronic speed limitation, but the SLS AMG goes off like a rocket and for the time being is something we can only make out as a small red dot in the distance. We don’t catch up with it until reaching a speed bump that the SLS can only just slip over sideways. Our chauffeur, Mohammed, the oldest driver — and the mechanic, butler, and chef of the family in this personal union — grins. He is one of four people who assist the prince in the restoration and preservation of vehicles. During our stay a Bollywood movie is filmed on the palace grounds. Thousands of sightseers from all corners of Gujarat camp day and night outside the palace in the hope of catching a glimpse of the star, who has just been named “India’s Sexiest Man.” Every time a car tries to leave or return to the palace it is immediately surrounded by euphoric fans. Hima still managed to get in, though, and as we say goodbye to him, we find a contented, relaxed man. The beneficial effect of the copious amount of rubber burned in the last few hours has not gone amiss. The Prince Prince Himanshu Sinhji of Gondal, it is believed, is the 178th descendant of the moon god Chandra and the 126th descendant of Lord Krishna. The inhabitants of Gondal worship the royal family – today primarily more for their social commitment than their divine origins. 47


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