The British Royal family took delivery of its first motor vehicle, a Daimler Mail Phaeton

Wednesday 28th March 1900

The British Royal family took delivery of its first motor vehicle, a Daimler Mail Phaeton. There is no proof that King Edward VII or King George V could drive, but later monarchs King Edward VIII and King George VI could. The Queen’s State and private motor cars are housed in the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. For official duties – providing transport for State and other visitors as well as The Queen herself – there are eight State limousines, consisting of two Bentleys, three Rolls-Royces and three Daimlers. Other vehicles in the Royal fleet include a number of Volkswagen ‘people carriers’. State cars are painted in Royal claret livery. The Bentleys and Rolls-Royces uniquely do not have registration number plates, since they are State vehicles.n technical terms, the special Bentley cars have a monocoque construction, enabling greater use to be made of the vehicle’s interior space. This means the transmission tunnel runs underneath the floor, without encroaching on the cabin. Technical details show how different the Bentleys are to standard cars. The Bentleys are 6.22 metres long, nearly a metre longer than a standard Bentley Arnage. At 3.84 metres, its wheelbase is 1.3 metres longer than that of an average family sized saloon. The engine drives a standard, four-speed GM 4L80-E gearbox, which directs power through up-rated driveshafts to the rear wheels. Although they have a powerful engine, the Bentleys, like any other cars, are subject to normal speed restrictions. On processional occasions, they travel at around 9 miles per hour, and sometimes down to 3 miles per hour. The rear doors are hinged at the back and are designed to allow The Queen to stand up straight before stepping down to the ground. The rear seats are upholstered in Hield Lambswool Sateen cloth whilst all remaining upholstery is in light grey Connolly hide. Carpets are pale blue in the rear and dark blue in the front.

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