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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 04:39 GMT
Queen helped design royal car
Bentley
The Queen can stand up straight in the new vehicle
The first official picture of a royal car created to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee has been released.

The Bentley State Limousine will be presented to the Queen in May 2002.

Bentley Motors, part of Rolls-Royce, said the car had been "designed with continual references to and input from both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh".

Work on the project began in February 2000 and the Queen and Duke were formally presented with the design in May 2000, approving it with requests for only minimal changes.


In many ways, from a designer's point of view, it was a dream job

Crispin Marshfield, senior designer

The car's first official engagement will be in June 2002.

The special rear-door design means the Queen will be able to stand up straight before stepping down to the ground.

The rear compartment is designed to seat two people while two rear-facing occasional folding chairs are fitted for additional passengers.

Bentley says the car is more flowing, rounder and sporting in appearance than previous state limousines.

The vehicle also has opaque panels at the back which can be used for maximum privacy or removed so that people outside can see the passengers.

Silver jubilee celebrations
A new car also marked the Silver Jubilee

Painted in royal claret and black with a red strips along each side, the car will have rear seats upholstered in west of England cloth.

Bentley senior designer Crispin Marshfield said: "It has been a challenging project because we had no reference points apart from the other state limousines, the youngest of which is 25 years old.

"But in many ways, from a designer's point of view, it was a dream job."

It was Crewe-based Bentley's idea to offer the Queen the car and in doing so the company recalled that for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders had presented her with a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI.

This vehicle still remains the Queen's first choice of transport on state occasions and has covered more than 125,000 miles.

The royal fleet also includes a 1987 Phantom VI and two Phantom Vs from the early 1960s.

See also:

11 Oct 01 | England
Rolls Royce on three-day week
23 Aug 01 | Business
Rolls-Royce profits dip
22 May 01 | UK
Car factory plan rolls on
02 Mar 01 | Business
Rolls-Royce shares jump 12%
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