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Sunday 3rd June 2012

Driving the Queen's V8 Land Rover

PH gets into the jubilee spirit with a drive in the Queen's V8 Landie



There's a video on YouTube of Her Majesty driving her Land Rover V8. What's the Royal driving technique? Squirt it in first and second, tease third and swiftly clack-clack into fourth. She doesn't mess about, does the Queen, showing the early-production 1983 110 why she not only rules the nation but is also the master of its integral transfer case four-speed, legacy of wartime service driving and fixing trucks as a teenager.

The world's shiniest Landie?
The world's shiniest Landie?
I only saw this after I drove her Land Rover V8 around Windsor Park. Pity. Because my approach was one of regal gentility, noble respect - and not a little intimidation. There was the famous name on the V5, the fact it's priceless ... and, well, the grumbling, rumbling noise. I could hear it from within the Queen Mother's 1995 Range Rover LSE, which I also drove (it was one of those days) as I followed in the wheel tracks of the green Land Rover up front. What's this, I thought, the Rangie's 4.2-litre V8 is experiencing major ignition-off run-on? Nope, it was the snarling, snorting beast that was her majesty's Land Rover up front, all but spitting unleaded as it daunted all around it. Be in no doubt, this Land Rover is packing a V8. A great big fiery V8.

One has certain standards
Behold, then, the Queen's A-reg Land Rover, made famous by the 2006 film (and not quite faithfully replicated - they missed the B-pillar grabhandles fitted to this one). It appears largely stock, but there are some telling differences: the rich green leather seats, the special radio with a hotline to the Home Office. The colour's bespoke too - and look at the panel gaps, says the photographer. Yes, they're more straight and true than on perhaps any other Land Rover in the world. These Lexus assembly standards are finished with paint glossier than something from the Bentley booths. Unsurprisingly, Land Rover really went to town with this V8.

Aucock feels the pressure...
Aucock feels the pressure...
A very Royal rumble
Fire it up again, via the fiddly key mounted to the left of the massive padded plastic steering wheel. Yes, that's definitely a V8 alright. Gingerly swing the broomhandle-long gearlever into first, with a positive clack, and I'm driving the Queen's Land Rover. I don't stall: it's impossible with this torquey V8. The YouTube movie shows as much - distracted by her lackey talking about removing the ivy on the treetrunks of her estate (or some such), she tries to pull away from a junction in fourth. Realising her error, the Queen snicks down. Into third. And it's away, from about 300rpm. God bless the Rover V8.

So although it's not particularly fast, it feels extremely purposeful. Gears don't really matter because it pulls in any speed - it's simply the degree of thrust that you alter with the ratios.

Her majesty ran this Landie for 18 years
Her majesty ran this Landie for 18 years
It's quite glorious to drive. Sitting, ahem, regally high, it reminds me of those V8 LDV ambulances they have in central London: unlikely, but wondrous because of it. This should be clattering at tickover, not burbling. In the old-school, unsoundproofed, raw environment of a 1980s Land Rover, the fact this is the car chosen by the Queen is gloriously amusing. Rather like driving it. Dominated by its engine, it is an absolute blast.

Purist streak
This vehicle was finally retired in 2001, 18 years after she took delivery. But only after she'd covered 43,000 miles in it. Yes, the Queen drove over 2,000 miles a year in this Land Rover. Not bad for an estate hack. Then again, the Sandringham Estate is 8,000 hectares. At a probable single-figure mpg return, she probably drained the tank daily in this thing.

The Queen prefers her V8s with a manual
The Queen prefers her V8s with a manual
The Queen donated it to the Heritage Motor Centre, where it's now on display. What did Land Rover replace it with? Another V8 110, by this time called Defender following the 1991 rebrand. It was actually delivered with a special order auto, reveals Land Rover guru Roger Crathorne - one of just a handful. The only others he knows of are the Tomb Raider Defenders. Yes, the Queen shares her tastes in Land Rovers with Lara Croft - those were V8s too.

Not for long, though. Apparently, it was returned to Land Rover, with a service note: change it back to a manual. The Queen, a petrolhead who likes her V8s raw and her drive involving? Who knew.







 

richardaucock
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Author Discussion

loudlashadjuster

Original Poster:

1,117 posts

67 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
The old girl certainly gives it the beans a bit, doesn't she?

New found respect.

Benbay001

3,567 posts

40 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
God Save the Queen! (And anything V8 powered)

V88Dicky

5,072 posts

66 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
Wish I had a nanna like that. biggrin

The Boy Lard

438 posts

106 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
My mate used to own Princess Anne's old Range Rover...

heppers75

2,804 posts

100 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
Top marks on good taste there HRH.
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cptsideways

10,598 posts

135 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
HRH was/is a proper petrol head I am led to believe, a member of the PH Clan maybe biggrin

v8will

2,728 posts

79 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
I've somehow cocked up and given this 5/10. Blame the hangover.

Anyhow, top marks. Lovely vehicle and surprised HRH seems to be a petrol head

FraserLFA

4,972 posts

57 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
loudlashadjuster said:
The old girl certainly gives it the beans a bit, doesn't she?
I did a double take trying to work out if it was some kind of prank. Wasn't expecting her to be so, um, quick.

God bless her!

Johnny

6,251 posts

167 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
For some reason I find that video extremely pleasing.

Top work ma'am.

V8Triumph

5,982 posts

98 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
v8will said:
I've somehow cocked up and given this 5/10. Blame the hangover.

Anyhow, top marks. Lovely vehicle and surprised HRH seems to be a petrol head
Thought it was a fairly well known fact? Why does it surprise you? smile

Richard A

124 posts

59 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
Proper tyres and steel rims, none of those fashion victim alloys for HRH.

v8will

2,728 posts

79 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
V8Triumph said:
Thought it was a fairly well known fact? Why does it surprise you? smile
I knew that HRH can and does drive but just not so enthusiastically or so many miles.

RikkiGTI

554 posts

32 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
Brilliant! Much respect! smile

Riley Blue

7,037 posts

109 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
HRH joined the ATS and trained as a mechanic during WW2, definitely a petrol head


Rex Ironstone

767 posts

73 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
What a great photo smile

LongLiveTazio

2,649 posts

80 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
Favourite car was supposedly her P5B. Proper cars.

0a

12,677 posts

77 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
Great article PH!

billzeebub

3,085 posts

82 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
Lovely vehicle. Though, some of the Royal vehicles do occasionally get lost. A few years ago when I was searching for a classic RR, I came across a lightly armoured example with bullet proof windscreen and several items of additional specification. The vehicle was very averagely priced and the only thing that stopped me going for it was the fact I ideally wanted a late softdash. The general consensus seemed to be that it used to be at the disposal of the Queen Mother. This was for sale before she died with no documentary evidence. Wish I had taken a chance on it and gone after the provenance. At the very least I bet the vehicle had an interesting history, and this sort of thing goes for silly money on auction sites these days

johnpeat

4,162 posts

148 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
Riley Blue said:
HRH joined the ATS and trained as a mechanic during WW2, definitely a petrol head

That's a bloody brilliant photo - they should put that on a £20 note smile

escortwagon

2,217 posts

35 months

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Sunday 3rd June 2012 quote quote all
great article. for anyone bored on a rainy afternoon, there's some fantastic footage of HRH from the same channel (from a doc in 1992)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ssd-IOKDk5M&fea...
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