Charles III has an eclectic and sometimes bewildering car history. We deign to tell him what he should've bought
By PH Staff / Saturday, 6 May 2023 / Loading comments
Aston Martin DB6, 1968, 71k, £325,000
Probably the car most associated with King Charles III is also said to be his favourite: the Seychelles Blue 1970 Aston Martin DB6 Volante he had converted to run on bioethanol back in 2008. It was given to him on his 21st birthday by his late mother, and on the basis that just 140 were built, it’s safe to say the open-top derivative is worth significantly more than the far more numerous coupe. Needless to say, it’s glorious in its own right, but it also does without the rakish roofline that arguably defines the last classically beautiful Aston, and for that reason alone we’d plump for this restored Oystershell Silver example featuring a rebuilt 300hp 4.2-litre straight six and uprated suspension. Not as faithful or as cherished as the Volante, perhaps – but better.
Bentley Arnage RL, 2005, 27k, £47,950
If there’s one car the sovereign needs to get used to it’s the Bentley State Limousine gifted to Queen Elizabeth back in 2002. In fact, Bentley produced two for official functions, and they surely rank among the most famous and recognisable vehicles in the world. But, boy, are they fugly. With good reason, of course – they’re heavily armoured and designed for easy (i.e. regal) entry and exit. Still, we’d go for the long-wheelbase version of the car they were ostensibly based on: the Arnage. Here’s one commissioned by a ‘well-known industrialist’ that features the reworked 6.75-litre V8 and is as blue-blooded as Blenheim Palace. The State Limousines have been informally valued at £10m apiece; our impeccable Wildberry-coloured Arnage is up for less than £50k.
MG C GT, 1969, 8k, £70,000
Fun fact: King Charles drove an MGC GT while he was at university and for many years afterwards before bestowing it on his eldest son. On paper, the 2.9-litre straight-six ought to have improved the MGB, but the additional power didn’t necessarily compensate for the weight penalty and the model was ultimately short-lived. Charles didn’t have the option of the much lighter Rover V8 back in 1968, so we’ve cheated slightly and gone for this ‘Sebring’ replica brought to life by specialist MG Motorsport back in 2020. The heavily modified car retains the six, but it now runs on triple Weber carbs and is tuned to output 190hp. Lowered onto a trick fast-road chassis, it looks the business and even includes a refurbished (and entirely usable) interior. Predictably pricey at £70k, but it’s a quintessentially English head-turner.
Range Rover CSK, 1991, TBC, POA
Land Rover and the royal family go together like white bread and cucumber. Practically any model of the last 50 years could’ve been slotted in here – the Defender and its predecessors have played an integral part in British history – but we’ve taken inspiration from the Range Rover Classic that Charles was often seen in when he was still married to Princess Diana. Virtually any two-door variant has an ineffable cool about it (check out this terrific example currently on sale at JLR Classic) but ultimately we’d be inclined to go for the CSK if we had Civil List money to spend. Why? Well, because the seldom-seen special edition had numerous tweaks that distinguished it from earlier models, but chiefly because it got the breathed-on 3.9-litre V8. Looks good, too.
Lotus Carlton, 1991, 75k, £69,000
If King Charles hadn’t started loudly proclaiming his concerns about the environment, we might’ve guessed that something was amiss when he acquired a green Vauxhall Omega. The car was plainly a departure from the thirstier stuff he’d spent his youth driving; it was also flagrantly low-key, which of course played wonderfully into the narrative surrounding his relationship with the future Queen Consort. Unencumbered by media attention of any sort, there’s only one four-door Vauxhall that PH would wholeheartedly recommend, and that’s the one built with Lotus at the project helm. Interesting that the furore over huge, unremitting speed has not cropped up in the wake of increasingly powerful electric cars. Again, narrative.
Audi A6 Allroad, 2016, 89k, £22,994
PH has no royal correspondent, but a cursory reading of the internet suggests the King’s first Audi A6 Allroad was obtained to replace the ditchwater-dull Omega – a trade-in we’d rate as entirely laudable, even if he took flak at the time for not buying British. It kick-started a longstanding love affair with Audi’s off-road-capable wagon, and for those who’ve never sampled its air-sprung pleasures, we’re here to tell you that the infatuation is entirely understandable. The concept eventually died an SUV-related death, but the previous 3.0-litre BiTDI version – endowed with a strapping 315hp – is precisely the sort of distance-squashing Q car that few manufacturers bother to make anymore. Here’s one for a snifter over £22k. Fit for anything or anyone.
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