PMs and their cars: a love affair

PMs and their cars: a love affair

We might still be in the throes of an economic crisis, but that hasn't prevented David Cameron from being regularly snapped in his swanky Jag. The financial implications aside, British prime ministers (and certain civil servants!) have driven some fantastic cars over the years - here are some of our favourites.

Winston Churchill's Austin 10hp

So, this was never exactly a beast on the road, but it was Winston Churchill's go-to car during the second world war, so it must have something going for it! However, with a top speed of just 60 mph you have to question whether the PM and his chauffeur could have held their own in a high-speed car chase.

His 1938 Austin 10hp was sold for an incredible £66,400 back in 1997, 11 times the price it was estimated to go for. A photo of the PM with the car was also thrown into the deal for the lucky buyer. It's worth noting here a couple of the other cars that Mr Churchill had during his career - the Daimler DB18 Drophead Coupé, which was used in two election campaigns, and a Series 1 Land Rover, both of which have gone up for auction in recent years.

Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher's Rover P5B

This 1972 car was so brilliant that Margaret Thatcher appropriated it for her own use after it had been in the hands of Harold Wilson. It certainly looks the part as a prime ministerial vehicle (you can still see it in the Historic Vehicle Collection at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwick), although Mr Wilson decided to modify it slightly by having larger ashtrays fitted for his convenience.

It's not just prime ministers who love the car - the Queen herself is such a big fan of it that she has a few P5Bs in her fleet, two of which (the 1971 and 1974 editions) can also be viewed at the Heritage Motor Centre. Coming as it does with this royal seal of approval, it's hard to argue with the worthiness of this particular model.

David Cameron's Jaguar XJ

Of course, we just had to include this in the list. Whether you love him or loathe him, Mr Cameron does have a rather enviable set of wheels to be ferried about in. He did, of course, attract a certain amount of criticism for blowing a reported £200,000 on the X351 version of the XJ, but that apparently included the cost of all the high-tech security a modern PM needs to stay safe.

It's a far cry from the Fiat 500 the PM bought for his wife when he was a mere MP back in 1998 (although it has to be noted that this very Fiat is expected to sell for around £10,000 at auction later this month!) and Mr Cameron probably enjoys it all the more for this fact. Let's just hope he doesn't have it tracking his route when he next decides to eschew the car in favour of a bike ride - that would just be a huge waste.

Want to emulate PMs past and present with some snazzy wheels? Prospect union members can save up to 25 per cent on certain used and new cars through CSMA Club's partnership with CarSelect (although you're not guaranteed to find a Rover P5B in mint condition!).

Twitter

Join the conversation at #opinion_formers