The Queen’s Royal cars over the last 70 years
Published on May 31st, 2022 | by Sophie West
If you love cars, which we all do here at Agility Fleet, you might be interested in what cars the royal family has owned and, more importantly, which cars her majesty has owned over her reign.
Not many people know, but she trained as a mechanic during WW2 for the British Army. So, cars are in her blood. The interesting thing about the Queen when it comes to driving; she’s the only person in the country that is allowed to drive without a driving licence – one of the benefits of being a monarch.
There are currently only four manufacturers that have a royal warrant to supply vehicles officially to the Royal Household. These are Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, Vauxhall, and Volkswagen, so it’s no surprise that cars from these manufacturers pop up a lot during this article.
Official royal vehicles
In 1948 Princess Elizabeth, as she was known at the time, and the Duke of Edinburgh were given a Daimler DE27 as a belated wedding present by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Woman’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). This car was meant to serve as the car for her and the Duke to carry out their official duties together. However, during a tour of the Rolls Royce factory the following year, the Duke fell in love with an experimental car with a straight-eight Bentley engine known as the ‘scaled cat’. This car later became the Rolls Royce Phantom IV. In 1950 both Princess Elizabeth and the Duke took delivery of the car in dark green.
The Royal Rolls Royce’s
Rolls Royce only made eighteen Phantom IV between 1950 and 1956. Because of the connection with the Royal Family, Rolls Royce only built them for buyers whom they considered worthy of the car. Sixteen still exist to this day in museums, in public and private collections.
When she came to the throne in 1952 the Queen inherited four state cars, including Daimler DE 36’s of her fathers, King George VI, however, she decided to use the Phantom as her official state car, which remains in regular use to this day. Interestingly, it was briefed that the Phantom IV had to fit in the 20 ft long garage onboard the Royal Yacht, Britannia, so it could be used on tours overseas. This is something Rolls Royce managed to achieve by a small margin.
The Rolls Royce Phantom is definitely a favourite of the Queens, as over the years she has ordered a few ranging from the one above all the way to the Phantom VI.
Since 2002 the use of armoured Bentley State has been used. These custom-built vehicles have twin-turbocharged 6.75 litre V8 engines, producing 400 horsepower.
Land Rovers and Jaguars
It is thought that the Queen has owned around 30 Land Rovers over the course of her reign both as part of the official royal fleet and her own private collection. One used for parades and other official rides is a 2015 Range Rover Hybrid. Two stretched Jaguar XJ limousines have also been used since 2012 for less formal occasions or for support vehicles. These are all painted in claret and black and have fittings for a mascot, roof flag and shield.
The Queen’s private car collection
When not travelling on official business, the Queen and late Prince Philip’s choice of cars are Land Rovers. She has been pictured at both her holiday home in Balmoral and the grounds of Windsor Castle driving a Land Rover Defender.
Another favourite of the Queens is a 2001 Jaguar Daimler V8 Super LWB. The car was her personal vehicle for three years and was used to drive around Windsor Castle estate and visit friends. It had a number of modifications including a specifically designed armrest as well as a unique switch which allows her to funnel fresh air to the sides after telling the designers that she likes the fresh air whilst driving, but not directly on her face.
In 1956 the Royal Family acquired its first modern estate car, a Ford Zephyr, and since 1961 the Queen has owned a series of Vauxhall estate cars. During the 1960s and 70s, she also owned a series of Rover 3 litre and 3.5-litre saloons. All these are a million miles away from the usual expensive luxury that she’s used to, but show her preference in cars she likes to drive compared to the cars she gets driven around in for official engagements.
The love of cars runs deep
Although we have talked about the love the Queen has for cars and her specific favourites, she isn’t the only one in her family that has this love. Prince Charles has a love for Aston Martins whilst his sons have gone off-piste from the British manufacturers and prefer the German option, such as Audi.