Most of us were not alive to remember how different the cars of 90 years ago were, the developments in the 9 decades has been astounding. So it seems a fitting tribute to the Queen’s 90 years to tell her story through the medium of motor cars, evoking the different eras throughout her life. A perfect celebration for the Queen’s birthday but also one that celebrates the British car industry too.
Lined up on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, the cars ranged from a 2016 Jaguar F-Pace to a “Bullnose” Morris Oxford Tourer built in 1926, the year of the Queen’s birth. Classic British icons such as the first ever Mini, a red London bus, a black cab and a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow were also present, driven by owners wearing the correct costumes for the era.
Several of the vehicles have particular significance to the Queen, such as a 1944 Austin K2 Ambulance of the same type she drove during for the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War; a 1991 Daimler she once owned, and an AEC Regent London bus made in 1952, the year she became Queen.
When the Queen was born in 1926, automobiles driven by steam were enjoying a brief renaissance. Today hydrogen fuel cells, driver less cars and solar power are the future of the car industry.
Looking at all the different vehicles just shows how far the industry has come in almost a century. Each car has its own story to tell and tells us something about the era and the technology from it.
The selection of cars ranged from the more humble, yet classic 1962 Ford Cortina, a 1959 Mini which was the very first to be built, a 2000 Vauxhall Vectra and a 2016 Ford Focus. At the other extreme was a thought to be an original Ford GT-40 supercar from 1967, worth in excess of £5 million. A timely reminder of how much of a powerhouse Britain was in motor racing.