From a Land Rover to a McLaren: a queen who had fun on wheels


The extremes of a 70-year reign and a common denominator. Queen Elizabeth II in cars made by Land Rover

70 years of reign were enough for Isabella II to be able to build up such an exclusive collection of cars that only a person in her state could have. The Queen of England loved cars and mechanics since she was a child, when she was still a princess and knew that one day she would come to the crown as the eldest daughter of King George VI, but she never imagined that it would only be at 25.

Being crowned so young gave her access to countless responsibilities and of course also many privileges. Between them, had the opportunity to access unique or very special cars, including vehicles built in very limited editions and intended to be the official car of other countries.

The list of cars Queen Elizabeth II owned is very long, and although many remain in the royal fleet, much of it was returned to those who had built them especially for her majesty and some was auctioned off for charity.

A perfect summary of his automotive tastes.  A special McLaren edition made this year bears a plaque with the Queen's name
A perfect summary of his automotive tastes. A special McLaren edition made this year bears a plaque with the Queen’s name

But some parts are really specialor at least they were for her, and it’s worth it know the reasons why they were part of his reign seven decades in two different centuries.

During his reign, the predilection for English cars was clear and although there were vehicles from other sources, the favoritism for domestic models held over time. In reality, it was Isabel who decided to replace Daimler, the former supplier of official cars to the crown, with Rolls-Royce.

If a brand is automatically associated with England, it is Rolls Roycewhich although paradoxically today is part of the BMW Groupits origins and essence they remain rooted in the British Isles.

1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the oldest car in the British royal house
1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the oldest car in the British royal house

The 1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is the oldest car in the Crown garage. Naturally, this is not a car that was used by Elizabeth II, who assumed her reign in 1953, but it is a piece of enormous value as an English collector’s car. Without going any further, the brand itself named it “the best car in the world”. It has a 6-cylinder in-line engine with a displacement of 7.4 liters, which allows it to obtain only 60 hp of power but to run at 130 km/h. Your odometer registers 926,000 kilometers and still running.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom V, still with a single headlight on each side, would be replaced by a very similar car, the Phantom VI, still used by royalty.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom V, still with a single headlight on each side, would be replaced by a very similar car, the Phantom VI, still used by royalty.

The first Rolls-Royce used by Elizabeth II was instead a 1953 Phantom IV State Laudaletteof which only 18 units in history. It was a seven-seater limousine, with blue upholstery in the front and gray in the back. It had a 5.7 liter V8 engine which allowed it to have very serene journeys and to reach a power of 165 HP.

Others came later Phantom of the V series with the denomination of State Limousine. They were in 1960 and 1961, and they already had the famous raised roof called “high roof”, used for presidential or royal cars. And finally came the one known as Tea Silver Jibilee Car, a Phantom VI given to her on her 25th birthday as Queen, in 1977.

Between the Phantom V and VI had no major external differences, although yes in its interior equipment. From the front it was possible to notice that instead of a single round fire on each side, the new Rolls-Royce had two smaller optics connected by a silver frame at each end of the wing.

Commemorating 50 years of reign, Elizabeth II received two unique units of this royal car, the Bentley State Limounsine
Commemorating 50 years of reign, Elizabeth II received two unique units of this royal car, the Bentley State Limounsine

Specifically, with regard to the Queen’s Jubilee, the year 2002when they have been filled 50 years in the British crown, Elizabeth II received from another English brand, Bentley, a car specially built for her. It was the Bentley State Limousinea completely sealed vehicle to ensure its safety against gas attacks or explosions, with Kevlar reinforced tires to ensure that the car is not at risk of having a flat tire, and moreover so that the queen is never late for a royal engagement.

The car has a 6.7 liter V8 engine, 400 horsepower and a top speed of 200 km/h. But the most amazing thing is that not one but two vehicles were built by automotive expert Vanarama for the crown, each costing around £10million.

After years at Range Rover, the Queen decided in 2017 to adopt the Bentley Bentayga for her hunting expeditions to Balmoral
After years at Range Rover, the Queen decided in 2017 to adopt the Bentley Bentayga for her hunting expeditions to Balmoral

years later, just In 2016, the same English brand offers to test its new SUV on the grounds of Balmoral, which is then called the Bentley 4×4 and will eventually become the Bentayga. The car is equipped with a 6-liter twin-turbo engine and during the presentation of the Frankfurt Motor Show, the president of Bentley, Michael Winklerannounced that number 1 would be for Queen Elizabeth IIbecause after trying it he decided it would be the natural replacement for its large fleet of Land Rovers and Range Rovers who had accompanied her all her life on her hunting expeditions.

The Royal Family's history with Land Rover dates back to the late 1940s and continued into the reign of Elizabeth II (Photo by Fox Photos, Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The Royal Family’s history with Land Rover dates back to the late 1940s and continued into the reign of Elizabeth II (Photo by Fox Photos, Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

This relationship with Land Rover goes back to his childhood. It all started with King George VI in 1948, when he accompanied him to the unveiling of the 100th Land Rover Defender. Since then, more than 30 units of various models of the English brand have been part of the Queen’s fleet. In his private activities he used to use models Defendbut for official receptions and trips where he could do without the Rolls-Royce, he did so in a model of Range Rover, including in 2015, a version called LWB Hybrid.

Daimler Majestic 4.0 LWB from 2001, a car fitted to the queen down to the smallest detail
Daimler Majestic 4.0 LWB from 2001, a car fitted to the queen down to the smallest detail

One of the cars Elizabeth II used the most was a Daimler Majestic 4.0 LWB from 2001. It was a saloon in the shape of a Jaguar, which was actually the origin of the design. It was made in 2001 and was used by the Queen until January 2007 when it was auctioned off to charity. The car has been painted color British Racing Green, England’s famous dark green in Formula 1, featured Catkin leather upholstery with red trim. Among the unique curiosities, a holder had been designed for the queen’s classic handbag.

Only 10 units of the Lincoln Cosmopolitan Limousine were built for the exclusive use of the White House, but Elizabeth II managed to have one in England in the 1960s.
Only 10 units of the Lincoln Cosmopolitan Limousine were built for the exclusive use of the White House, but Elizabeth II managed to have one in England in the 1960s.

She had not long held the crown when Elizabeth II had the opportunity to visit Dwight D. Eisenhower in the United States. Was in 1957and on this occasion he had the opportunity to walk with the President of the United States aboard a 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Limousine which was equipped with famous bubble roof. Ford builds only ten units of this modeldesigned exclusively for use by the White House, and since there is no documentation proving how it happened, the only thing known is that a few years later, one of these Lincoln Cosmopolitans came to the UK to be part of the crown cars.

In January 2022, on the eve of her 70th anniversary, McLaren is producing this unique version of the Artura, named Elizabeth II in her honor.
In January 2022, on the eve of her 70th anniversary, McLaren is producing this unique version of the Artura, named Elizabeth II in her honor.

But if you had to choose a car that could never relate to the Queen of England, it’s a super sports car. However, that same year, when the 70 years of the reign of Elizabeth II, McLaren decided to build a tribute car in his honor. It is McLaren Arthur Elizabeth IIand was designed and produced by the marque’s Woking-based special car department called McLaren Special Operations (MSO).

The model chosen was the Artura as it is the first McLaren model to feature a hybrid powertrain., because it combines a 3-litre V6 Twin Turbo thermal engine with an electric motor, allowing it to reach a total power of 680 hp in propulsion. Even though Queen Elizabeth II stopped driving for 3 years due to personal safety decision after Philip of Edinburgh accident in 2019the car is painted especially for her, with a color called “Platinum Jubilee”and bears a plate on the front, also in platinum, with the Inscription Elizabeth II.

Between a rustic Land Rover Defender from 1948 and a modern and technological hybrid McLaren Artura from 2022, they passed nearly 75 years of cars that were built or just driven by a single queen like these vehicles.

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