Queen Elizabeth II is known to live a robust and active life even at the prime age of 92. One of the things she thoroughly enjoys is driving herself, although protocol dictates that Her Majesty should be chauffeured wherever she goes.
In September of 2016, Queen Elizabeth II was pictured driving a green Range Rover with Kate's mother, Carole Middleton, in the passenger seat. She was giving her a tour of the grouse moors estate.
It's highly unlikely that the Queen will ever be seen driving herself in the streets of London, but she still enjoys the occasional drive in the estate. Her love for cars can be traced back to World War II. She was a member of the Women's Auxiliary Service and doubled up as a mechanic.
She's probably the only member of the royal family who knows how to change a tire. During her time with the military, she learned how to drive and fix engines of trucks and ambulances.
The royal garage has a fleet of luxury cars that have been used by Queen Elizabeth II, as she's the longest-serving monarch with more than 60 years on the throne. Her car collection is in excess of £10 million, which is around $13.8 million. Here are 25 rare classics owned by Queen Elizabeth 11.
25 Citroen SM Opera 1972
The Citroen SM Opera was named the 'Motor Trend Car of the Year' in 1972 in the US and came third in the European Car of the Year contest. Looking at it from the front, one would mistake it for a 3-wheeler, but they don't come look this good.
All of Citroen car models had hydropneumatic suspension, and this one was no exception. The car was unusual to come out of France since the automobile industry hadn't recovered after the Second World War.
Journalists and the public were doubtful of the performance metrics of the vehicle because they hadn't seen anything like it before in the French market. The car was in production up to 1975 and could manage a top speed of 140 mph and 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds.
24 1965 Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet
This was a high-end luxury vehicle that was designed by Mercedes and was used by high-ranking government officials like the Queen, the German government, and even the pope.
There were a total of 2,677 units produced between 1965 and 1981 when production was stopped. The Benz 600 was also the foundation for the Maybach 57/62 series, which failed to take off and was killed in 2012.
There were two models available for the 1965 Mercedes Benz 600. There was the shorter wheelbase 4-door sedan, and there was the other with a longer wheelbase, which was a 6-door limousine. Queen Elizabeth II owns this variant, and it has a convertible top. Jeremy Clarkson, a The Grand Tour presenter, is said to own one of these rare gems.
23 Rover P5
The Rover P5 was in production between 1958 and 1973. The company produced a total of 69,141 out of which Queen Elizabeth II owns two.
The P5 was the final model of the Rover and had a 3.5-liter V8 engine and produced 160 horsepower.
The 3.5-liter was highly regarded by high-ranking government officials, especially in Britain. It was used by Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, Edward Heath, Harold Wilson and James Callaghan.
The P5 was phased out and replaced by the Jaguar XJ as the official prime minister's vehicle during Margaret Thatcher's tenure.
The queen owned the JGY 280, which made an appearance in the popular motor show Top Gear in 2003. The car is currently on display at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon Warwickshire.
22 1953 Humber Super Snipe
Queen Elizabeth II has a soft spot for British cars. The Humber Super Snipe was produced by British Company Humber Limited between 1938 to 1967.
The first variant to come out was the pre-war Humber Super Snipe, which had a top speed of 79 mph, a feat that very few cars could achieve at that time.
The car was targeting the upper middle class and government officials. It was the 1953 model that caught the eye of Queen Elizabeth II. It wasn't highly priced but still had all the luxury to befit a queen. The car had a max output of 100 hp throughout its existence. The company was eventually bought by Chrysler, having produced some of the best cars in the '40s and the '50s.
21 1948 Daimler DE
The Dimler DE was the largest and most expensive car between 1940 and 1950. It's understandable why the queen opted for the DE36 all-weather tourer, which was a beast in its own right.
The DE36 was the last DE vehicle to be offered by Daimler and came in three options: the drop coupe, the limousine, and the saloon body style. The popularity of the Daimler DE wasn't only confined to the British royalty. The car was sold to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Thailand, Monaco, and the Netherlands royalty.
The Daimler DE rear wheels were powered by a Hotchkiss drive system with hypoid gears. This was a new technology that wasn't used in vehicles at that time and was seen as revolutionary engineering.
20 1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom V
This is one of the best-looking vehicles in Queen Elizabeth II's 10-million-pound car collection. The car is a collectible, as there were only 516 units ever made, and most of them were bought by royal families and governments from around the world. The car was produced between 1959 and 1968 and was a successful vehicle in terms of the revenue it brought to the company.
It had a 4-speed automatic transmission with a V9 twin-carburetor engine.
Other than the queen, the other notable owner was singer John Lennon from the famous music group The Beatles. John Lennon is said to have commissioned the paint job himself, and the car was delivered from the factory in Valentine-black color. The car was retired from the Queen's official fleet in 2002.
19 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Limousine
The Lincoln Cosmopolitan is one of the few American cars to have been owned by Queen Elizabeth II. The car was produced between 1949 and 1954 in Michigan, US.
The 1950 'presidential car' came about when the then US president Harry S. Truman had a problem with General Motors. The company refused to commission presidential cars, and Truman turned to Lincoln for a solution.
As luck would have it, the company was already producing high-end luxury limousines in the name of Cosmopolitan. The White House commissioned ten Cosmopolitan limousines to be used as official State vehicles. The cars were modified to accommodate extra headroom for the hat. It still remains a mystery how Queen Elizabeth II managed to get one of the 'presidential Lincoln cosmopolitan limousines.'
18 1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
The 1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is one of the rarest vehicles in the world. There was one that was sold at auction for $7.1 million in 2012, making it the most expensive Rolls-Royce ever sold. The Queen owned this vehicle in the past, not so much as a means of transport but as a collectible.
It's also the most expensive collectible in the world, and you have to spend more than $7 million to own one. Its insurance cost is about $35 million.
Rolls-Royce termed it the 'best car in the world' when they were manufacturing it. A Silver Ghost owned by Rolls-Royce is still working and is still in perfect condition despite having covered 570,000 miles, according to the odometer reading.
17 1970 Daimler Vanden Plas
The Daimler Vanden Plas is another name for the Jaguar XJ series. The queen owns three of them, which she commissioned to be manufactured with special features. There were to be no chromes around the doors and only exclusive upholstery was to be used in the interior.
There were a total of 351 units to ever be produced. The car had a 5.3 L V12 engine and had a top speed of 140 mph. The Daimler Vanden claimed it was the fastest 4-seater vehicle at that time. 1972 saw the introduction of a long-wheelbase version, which was more versatile and provided more leg room for passengers. The DS420 is a rare vehicle today, and it's even hard to get them on auction.
16 1969 Austin Princess Vanden Plas Limousine
This Princess Vanden Plas limousine was one of the luxury cars that was made by Austin and its subsidiary between 1947 to 1968.
The car had a 6-cylinder overhead 3,995 CC engine. The early version of the Austin Princess was tested for top speed by The Motor, a British magazine. It was able to achieve a top speed of 79 mph and could go from 0 to 60 in 23.3 seconds. The car was priced at £3,473, which was a lot of money at that time.
The Queen bought the car because of the interior luxury and because it had the exterior of a royalty car. The fact that it's a limousine might've also influenced the purchasing decision.
15 1929 Daimler Double Six
The 1929 Daimler Double six was produced specifically to compete with the Rolls-Royce silver ghost. Queen Elizabeth II must've had a good knowledge of cars and car history to buy from two competing brands.
The engine design was maximized to achieve high power and smoothness without necessarily being loud. The cylinder block was made by combining two existing Daimler engines into one for even greater power.
Daimler is the 3rd most prestigious British car manufacturer, which explains why Queen Elizabeth II has several models of the brand. The car has become a collectible, and you'll have to cough out more than $6 million to get your hands on the Double Six. The Queen, as is customary, gave hers to the royal museum.
14 1951 Ford V8 Pilot
The V8 pilot was one of the top-selling cars by Ford UK. It sold 21,155 units between 1947 and 1951.
It boasted being the first large post-war British Ford. The V8 had a 3.6-liter V8 engine and had a top speed of 80 mph.
Like most Ford vehicles produced in that era, the V8 had vacuum-driven wipers. This was a design flaw, as it slowed down unexpectedly and or completely stopped when the car was on full throttle.
The 'Shooting Brake' body style found on the V8 was later adopted by different companies that produced the station wagon. The term ended up being used to refer to cars that were used for carrying shooting equipment and trophies.
13 1953 Land Rover Series 1
The 1953 Land Rover Series 1 was ahead of its time with the design and performance it offered. Queen Elizabeth II's love for the Land Rover is well documented. If she's driving herself in the estates, you're likely to find her in a four-wheel Land Rover vehicle.
The Series 1 was conceived immediately after the end of World War II. Before then, Land Rover was only known for producing luxury vehicles. The initial series 1 had a 1.6-liter engine with 50 hp. The car also came with a four-speed gearbox. There were improved changes every year with the Series 1, which opened the doors for Land Rover as a company. In 1992, the company claimed that 70% of all Series 1s ever built were still functioning.
12 2002 Land Rover Defender
The Land Rover Defender stands for everything British when it comes to car manufacturing. Production for the Defender came to a halt in 2016, although there are rumors that production could start again soon.
The Defender might not be the most expensive car in Queen Elizabeth's II car fleet, but it sure does hold some sentimental value. You can get the car for around $10,000 and you're sure of getting a long-lasting vehicle despite the history of the previous owner.
The car has a 2.5-liter diesel engine and is a 5-speed manual with aerodynamic styling. The maximum speed is 70 mph, which isn't really impressive. The Land Rover excels when it comes to off-road driving, and that's where its performance should be judged.
11 1956 Ford Zephyr Estate
This is another Ford in the Queen's list of rare classics. The 1956 Ford Zephyr Estate was produced between 1950 and 1972. The initial Ford Zephyr had a superior 6-cylinder engine offering. It wasn't until 1962 that Ford offered the Zephyr with either the 4-cylinder or the 6-cylinder engine.
The Zephyr, together with the Executive and the Zodiac, was the largest passenger car in Britain during the '50s.
The Ford Zephyr was among the few first cars in the UK to be issued in mass production. The Queen owns the upmarket Executive, which was included the final months of production of the Ford Zephyr Estate. The Mark III version was discontinued in 1966, with the Mark IV taking its place in the same year.
10 1992 Daimler DS420
The queen has popularised the Daimler brand, and it would be in order to state that it's the unofficial royal vehicle. The DS420 is also known as the "Daimler limousine" and is still used by the queen up to today. It's her preferred vehicle when she's attending weddings or funerals, and the car still looks good despite being 26 years old.
The car borrowed Jaguar's 420G flagship floor plan with minor configurations to the wheelbase. The car is said to have a mobile boardroom that was initially designed upon the request of Sir John Egan, who was the head of Jaguar in 1984. The interior was furnished with a cocktail cabinet, a TV, and a computer. Other than Queen Elizabeth II, the Danish royal house also uses it for funerals.
9 1961 Vauxhall Cresta Estate
This is one of those vehicles that keep you humble. Her Majesty the queen has a fleet of very expensive vehicles but still keeps the Vauxhall Cresta Estate.
The car was produced between 1954 and 1972 by Vauxhall. The Cresta was sold as an upmarket version and was to replace the Vauxhall Velox. There were 4 different trims. The Queen owns the Cresta PA SY, which was produced between 1957 and 1962. There were a total of 81,841 units made.
There was the option of a 5-door estate car or a 4-door saloon. It had a 3-speed manual with 2,262 CC engine. The PA is the most popular Cresta version. The car was inexpensive and was meant to compete with the likes of Buicks and Cadillacs at that time.
8 1925 Rolls-Royce Twenty
This is another rare collectible owned by Queen Elizabeth II. The car was produced by Rolls-Royce between 1922 and 1929. It was manufactured alongside the silver ghost which is another rare vehicle owned by the queen.
The twenty was a small car and was targeting drivers but a big number ended up being purchased by people with personal chauffeurs. It was meant to be a fun car to own and drive. The car was designed by Sir Henry Royce himself.
It bore an inline 6-cylinder engine with 3,127 CC. The Twenty was slightly more powerful than the Silver Ghost because of the engine design. They were placed in one block in which the 6 cylinders were detachable. There were only 2,940 units of the Rolls-Royce Twenty ever produced.
7 1966 Aston Martin DB6
The Aston Martin DB6 was also driven by the Prince of Wales in the '60s. There was no way one could buy this car in order to be chauffeured around. Queen Elizabeth II must've acquired it for her personal driving.
The car was produced from September 1965 to 1971. Of all the Aston Martin models produced up to this day, the DB6 is the longest running. There were a total of 1,788 units produced.
The car was the successor of the DB5, which was also an amazing car. It had a more appealing aerodynamics design. The new DB6 came in either a volante four-seat convertible or 2-door coupe.
It had a 3,995 CC engine, which produced 282 hp at 5,500 rpm. These numbers were astonishing for a vehicle that came out in 1966.
6 2016 Bentley Bentayga
The Bentley Bentayga is a rare car that's meant for the select few in the world. By "select few," I mean the less than 1% that control the world economy. Her Majesty is in the elite few, and that's why the first 2016 Bentley Bentayga to be produced was delivered to her.
Her Bentayga was customized for royalty. The Bentayga is currently the fastest SUV in the world. It has a top speed of 187 mph with a W12 engine under the hood that produces 600 horsepower.
What sets it apart from other SUVs in the market is the luxurious detailing of the interior. If the interior looks better than your living room, then it's definitely not the car for you.
5 1930 Citroen C4
The Citroen was way ahead of its time when it came to the exterior design. The C4 was meant to replace the Type A and family cars.
The styling cues were heavily borrowed from its American counterpart that was also producing a similar model at the time.
Citroen was known for a consistent grille style. With the Citroen C4, the conventional grille style was abandoned and replaced with a flatter and sleeker-looking one. The car was produced between 1928 and 1932 during which a total of 121,000 units were manufactured. It was one of the most successful cars to be produced after World War I. Even with the high numbers, there aren't so many C4S alive in the present day.
4 1955 Imperial Midget Racer
This particular car was a birthday gift to Prince Charles, who was turning 7 in 1955. Isn't it just how amazing how cars can write history in their own way? What was just a birthday gift in 1955 has turned out to be a rare collectible!
It was designed to be a racing car, and not a lot has been documented about this vehicle. In fact, most of the information about it is tied to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.
The queen demonstrated yet again that her knowledge of cars was unmatched. In order to make Prince Charles's 7th birthday memorable, she needed to identify a present that would be remembered for the rest of eternity, and it was immortalized in the 1955 Imperial Midget Racer.
3 2002 Bentley State Limousine
What makes the Bentley State Limousine special is the fact that only 2 were produced, and they all belong the royal family. The car was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate her Golden Jubilee in 2002.
There was a challenge on Bentley's part of delivering a luxurious limousine that could still perform. They did a wonderful job, as the Bentley State Limousine has a 6.75-liter V8 engine, which was a modification of the Arnage R version.
The engine can produce 400 hp with 616 pound-feet of torque. It has a top speed of 130 mph, which is still impressive for a state limousine.
Compared to the standard Arnage, the Bentley State Limousine is 83 centimeters taller. The bodywork and the glass are fully armored as you'd expect.
2 Landrover Range Rover Hybrid Landaulet
Chances are, you've never heard of such a vehicle. This is because only the queen uses it, and you are not likely to get it at your local dealership.
The queen first made a public appearance in the vehicle in 2015 at an official function. To say that the car matched her royal grace would be an understatement. The queen wanted a modern landaulet, and what Land Rover did, basically, was to transform a Range Rover into one.
Land Rover has provided 4 cars to the royal family since the first one, the Land Rover Series 1 in 1953. According to the Land Rover, the Hybrid was designed to replace the previous official Range Rover, which was dated.
1 Edward VII Town Coach
This is a rare vehicle that's still used by Queen Elizabeth II up to today. The car, as its name suggests, was named after Edward VII and was restored in 1964.
There were several Edward VII town coaches that were used by the Royal Palace but were all, with the exception one, disposed of after World War II.
The one that was left was put into storage until 1964, when restoration work began. They added four new glass windows to the carriage, and the queen could occasionally use it for State functions.
The car was named after Edward VII, who ruled the United Kingdom from 1901 to 1910, when he died. He played a big role in modernizing the British Fleet.
Sources: Wikipedia.org; rmsothebys.com; hiveminer.com