A country long associated with fine touring automobiles and sports cars, the leaders of the United Kingdom boast some of the most elegant, luxuriant and sought after transportation in the entire political world. Dominated by names like Rolls-Royce, Jaguar and Bentley, these vehicles, insofar as being status symbols recognized the world over, represent Great Britain's standing in the world stage.
The Bentley State Limousine is a car created by Bentley for Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom on the occasion of her golden jubilee in 2002.
The vehicle's twin-turbocharged, 6.75-litre V8 has been modified from Bentley's Arnage R version to produce 400 hp and 616 ft·lbf of torque. Maximum speed is 130 mph.
The royal State Limousine is three feet longer than a standard Bentley Arnage, 10 inches taller, and six inches wider. It is equipped with broad suicide doors, which are hinged at the rear and open almost 90 degrees.
The car has been given an armour-plated cladding, a mine-resistant floor, RPG-proof glass, and a cabin that can be sealed against a gas attack. These security and safety measures hike the car's weight to almost 4000 kg, and it rides on run-flat tires.
Only two of these cars were ever built to a bespoke design, both for the Queen, making it even rarer than the legendary Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, of which only 18 were built, exclusively for royalty and heads of state.
Prince of Wales
The Prince of Wales, a closet petrolhead it may be said, makes most public appearances at the wheel of an Audi Allroad, but has been seen driving a number of bespoke-painted Aston Martin Volantes. For special visits, a Bentley Brooklands (1992) is also used.
The present Royal Mews is in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, to the south of Buckingham Palace Gardens, near Grosvenor Place.
In the 1760s George III moved some of his day-to-day horses and carriages to the grounds of Buckingham House, which he had acquired in 1762 for his wife's use, but the main royal stables housing the ceremonial coaches and their horses remained at the King's Mews. However when his son George IV had Buckingham Palace converted into the main royal residence in the 1820s the whole stables establishment was moved. The old Mews at Charing Cross was demolished and Trafalgar Square was built on the site. The current Royal Mews was built to designs by John Nash and were completed in 1825. They have been modified extensively since.
The Royal Mews is open to the public on certain days. The Gold State Coach and other carriages are kept there, along with about 30 horses.
There is also a Royal Mews overlooking Hampton Court Green near Hampton Court, but it is not open to the public. The old stables of St James's Palace, which stood where Lancaster House is now, were also sometime referred to as the Royal Mews.
Cars Housed in the Royal Mews
- Rolls-Royce Phantom IV
- Rolls-Royce Phantom VI
- 1900 Daimler Phaeton - Prince of Wales
- Aston Martin DB6 POW - Prince of Wales
Among the most popular vehicle ever used by British officials in the mid-20th century, the Rover P5 has seen service with HM Queen Elizabeth II and various Prime Ministers including, Thatcher, Heath, Wilson and Callahan.
Vehicles used by other members of the royal household.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair varied his cars - one of which is a Jaguar XJ8 (now been inherited by his successor PM Gordon Brown). However, the car is more popular amongst other cabinet ministers and MPs (Members of Parliament) - for example, John Prescott and Lord Levy.
Fmr. PM Tony Blair was usually seen in the rear compartment of a 2002 Vauxhall Omega, finished in a dark metallic grey. The car travels in a convoy of another Omega, fronted by Police motorcycles, cars and two armoured and bomb-proof Range Rovers.
- Jaguar XJ6 - John Major
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