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.