Canadian royal history rolls onto auction block

The 1939 Lincoln Model K features shatterproof glass, puncture-proof tires, a raised seating area for the monarchs and the Royal Standard above the windshield. (RM Auctions)

Kate Middleton’s 10-year-old Volkswagen isn’t the only ‘royal’ car on the auction block this month.

A 1939 Lincoln convertible that was used for the very first Canadian tour by a reigning monarch is going under the under the gavel in Plymouth, Mich., and is expected to fetch up to $350,000.

The royal maroon Lincoln was one of four luxury vehicles built especially for the royal tour as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) made their month-long whistle-stop journey across the country. According to RM Auctions, which is conducting the sale on July 30, there were also two McLaughlin Buicks and a Chrysler made for the tour. The Lincoln was the only one built outside Canada, in Dearborn, Mich.

Once the tour was over, the cars were returned to the manufacturers. The Lincoln Model K was put in the Henry Ford Museum until 1985, when it was sold to a private collector. The two Buicks are still in Canada, according to RM, but the Chrysler was “lost to history.”

The Lincoln Model K was also used for the 1959 tour by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and was lent out again in 1989 when the Queen Mother was in Ontario commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Queen Elizabeth Way.

For the mechanically inclined, here’s the specs: 150 bhp, 414 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel power-assisted mechanical drum brakes.

The car has been treated with plenty of TLC over the years, with all original parts and only 4,000 miles.

Kate’s 1971 VW Golf, meanwhile, is up for sale on eBay on Sunday. Bidding has been slow, but nevertheless could be very profitable for the owner, who bought it for about $2,200 in 2009. The bidding started at $31,000 (20,000 pounds), and is currently at $38,400.

The royals travelled in a McLaughlin Buick when they toured the streets of Toronto in 1939 (and rolled right past the Toronto Star building.


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