King Charles latest set of wheels is an all-electric 2018 Jaguar i-Pace
The first ride that King Charles III took to Buckingham Palace as monarch last September was in a 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, which had been a gift to his mother, Queen Elizabeth, for her silver jubilee in 1977.
But for the coronation, King Charles and Queen Camilla will travel from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach, drawn by eight horses. King George III first used this coach to travel to the opening of parliament in 1762, and it has been used at every coronation since William IV in 1831.
Usually, the King and Queen travel by official limousines. As well as the ’77 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, there are plenty of other vehicles in the Royal fleet, including two Bentley limousines gifted to the royal family in 2002 for the Queen’s golden jubilee celebrations, a 1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, and a 1962 Rolls-Royce Phantom V.
The King has a car collection worth an estimated $7.8 million, according to a recent report in The Guardian newspaper. However, the newspaper also found it difficult to determine the exact ownership of the vehicles. Some are called “state cars” and are available for use by the royal family. Some cars were gifts, some were leased, and others were purchased.
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King Charles learned to drive on a blue 1968 MGC-GT, a gift from his parents in January 1968. The MGC was produced for only two years. It shared a body with the very popular MGB, but the difference was under the hood: the MGC had a bigger six-cylinder 2912 cc engine, well up from the 1978 cc four-cylinder engine in the MGB. The bigger engine meant horsepower jumped to 145 from 92. It’s easy to spot an MGC because the hood has large bulges to accommodate the larger engine.
Both the MGB and MGC were available as either convertibles or coupes; enclosed coupes had the GT designation added. The King’s MGC-GT was restored after it had gone 75,000 miles. The engine was rebuilt, it was repainted, and the leather interior was redone. King Charles kept this car for more than 30 years and then passed it on to his eldest son, Prince William.
For Charles’ 21st birthday, his parents gave him a new blue 1969 Aston Martin DB6 Volante – and he still has it. He later had it converted to run on a blend of gas and ethanol. That car was driven by Prince William and Kate from their wedding reception to Clarence House in 2011.
There were several vehicles in the Royal Fleet for Prince Charles to drive over the years, including several Range Rovers.
In 1986, the future king got a second Aston Martin, a V-8 Vantage Volante convertible, green with a tan interior. He requested some changes, including modifications to the grill and front spoiler. A wooden steering wheel and wooden gearshift knob were also added. Because he’s not a smoker, the ashtray was replaced with a holder for sunglasses. A glass jar with a silver lid to store sugar cubes for his polo ponies was added to the centre armrest. In all, 22 copies of the car were made and became known as the Prince of Wales models.
In 1994, he replaced this Aston Martin with a new Aston Martin Virage Volante, with a 500 hp 6.3 litre V-8, instead of the usual 5.3-litre engine. He used this car until 2007. Also in 1994, he added a Bentley Turbo RL to his fleet, which he kept for just two years.
The future king drove rather common Vauxhall Omega sedans and station wagons for a time. He then switched to Audis, including an A8 limousine, two A6 all roads, and an all-electric Audi E-Tron.
The latest set of wheels for the new King is an all-electric 2018 Jaguar i-Pace. Like so many of his cars, it’s also royal blue.
It wouldn’t be surprising if more all-electric vehicles were added to the Royal fleet in the years to come under the reign of King Charles, a car buff who has been moving to electric cars, just like many of his subjects.
Dale Johnson is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who has worked in TV, radio, print and online.
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