Monday, 21 July 2014

Mayoral Phantom VI

In the late sixties and seventies, the Lord Mayor of Belfast's official mode of transport was a stately Rolls-Royce Phantom VI.

This car was, without doubt, the finest mode of transport the first citizen has ever used; nothing has matched it ever since.

I have attempted, in vain, to obtain information from Belfast City Council about earlier mayoral transport.

Remarkably enough, I gather that the Lord Mayor's was the very first Phantom VI ever produced and was the official mayoral car from 1968 until 1978, when Belfast City Council sold it. 

The Lord Mayor of London still uses one.

The then Councillor David Cook may have been Belfast's last mayoral occupant of the Phantom VI, which was navy blue in colour with the first citizen's registration number 1 WZ.

It even had a little pennant on the bonnet and a coat-of-arms mounted on its roof.

The Queen still has a fleet of trusty Phantoms, including at least two Phantom VI state limousines.

As a boy I was in awe of this car, a true symbol of authority, power and presence.

It really was quite a spectacle to behold (more so, perhaps, than some of its official occupants).

It must have been quite similar in appearance to the Queen's car, a 1977 Phantom VI presented to Her Majesty for the Silver Jubilee.

The Phantom VI was manufactured from 1968 until 1991 and a mere 374 of them were made.

The mayoral transport gradually became less grand when the Phantom VI was sold. I imagine it was simply too grand for some tastes.

The Council subsequently bought a Daimler Limousine for the first citizen; then another Daimler; then downgraded to a Jaguar car and so on. It's been in free-fall ever since.

The present mayoral transport is a BMW 7 Series - still navy blue and 1 WZ. 

First published in June, 2008.


Gavin said...

Do the council still install a set of ornate lamp standards outside the homes of the Lord Mayor? I recall there being 3 sets held for current LM, past LM and 1 other.

Anonymous said...

Quite disgusting that they have a 7 series, which are really too gauche. The RR could quite easily still be used. At the very least, couldn't it be a Jaguar?

One is reminded of the recent attempt (prior to latest dissident threat) to remove judges' cars. In my opinion, a judge is infinitely more entitled to be driven than a (let's face it) undistinguished Lord Mayor!


Irishlad said...

The last Lord Mayor that i can remember with the lights outside the house was Grace Bannister i'm sure it was Grand Parade.At the time it seemed somewhat incongruous to see two ornate lamps on the footpath outside a semi-detached on a main road.

JustinLamb said...

"It really was quite a spectacle to behold (more so, perhaps, than some of its official occupants)." - that made me laugh. Never was a truer word spoken!

Timothy Belmont said...

I was unable to resist a little gentle humour (!).

Croissant said...

The lamp post tradition was eventually abandoned for the precise reason alluded to by Irishlad. A sign of the times, regrettably.

As to the Mayoral Rolls, my late father was Chief Auditor for the former Belfast Corporation (Sir William Geddis was the last Lord Mayor under whom he served) and I remember him telling me that that car was the cause of serious wallet damage. By the time he retired he had lost count of the repair and maintenance invoices he had been required to approve. Mind you the Daimler that replaced it was without doubt the ugliest conveyance of all time.