The Royal Wedding is without a doubt the event of the year. The glamorous ceremony attracted millions of tourists and billions of viewers, and it was surrounded by class and style. Kate Middleton, the now Princess, chose to ride to the church — Westminster Abbey — with her father in the Queen’s classic 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, a 200 horsepower vehicle. She left a Princess, with husband Prince William, in the 1902 State Landau carriage drawn by four-horse instead.
The Rolls was given to the Queen in 1978 for the Silver Jubilee of her reign by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, a grand gesture by the imploding British auto industry. This very same automobile was in the news last year when rioting students angry over government cutbacks attacked the car with Prince Charles and wife Camilla in it, splashing the limo with white paint and breaking windows. Since it’s a custom, hand-built vehicle, the restoration process was costly and difficult.
The Phantom VI is powered by a 6.75-liter engine from the Silver Shadow II. The engine outputs 200 hp at 4,000 rpm. The three-speed Turbo Hydramatic 400 transmission was developed by General Motors. The Phantom VI was the last Rolls-Royce with separate chassis and most of the coachwork was done by Mulliner Park Ward in London.
The car has an extra-high roof so the royals can see and be seen. It has removable panels that expose a clear dome in the rear. The paint is the Royal claret and black and it has fittings over the windshield that hold the Queen’s silver Coat of Arms and flag (only when she’s aboard). Like the other state cars, the Phantom VIs have no registration plates.
When in use by the Queen, the Spirit of Ecstasy is replaced by a custom-made solid silver model of St George slaying the dragon.