On this day in auto history – March 30th

Tue 30th Mar 2021

It was on was this day in 1900 that the British Royal family took delivery of its first motor vehicle, a Daimler Mail Phaeton.

Purchased by Queen Victoria’s first son, ‘Bertie’ - the future King Edward VII - the Daimler was powered by a 1,526-cc twin cylinder engine and had a four-speed transmission. Its top speed was just 24mph.

There is no actual evidence that the playboy Prince ever learned to drive but he soon acquired other Daimler’s and helped kick-start the burgeoning British auto industry by making motoring fashionable with the ‘smart set’ in what would become known as the Edwardian era.

There is no proof that Edward’s successor, King George V, ever learnt to drive either but later monarchs King Edward VIII and King George VI definitely could, with Daimler’s also proving their vehicle of choice.

Meanwhile, the original Royal Daimler has had some restoration work and currently resides in a museum at the Queen’s country retreat, Sandringham.