Classic Rover P5 that took Margaret Thatcher on her maiden journey as first female Prime Minister to visit the Queen in May 1979 is expected to fetch £45,000 at auction
- The 1973 Rover P5 is one of three converted exclusively for ministerial duties
- Registration GYE 329N was used in May 1979 to transport then newly-elected PM Margaret Thatcher to visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace
- It has covered 93k miles from new – only 17k since being retired from official Government duties in 1980
- The Rover has received a recent mechanical rebuilt but the interior is original
The chauffeur-driven car that carried a newly-elected Margaret Thatcher in 1979 to Buckingham Palace to visit the Queen as the nation’s first female Prime Minister is going to be sold to the highest bidder later this month.
The 1973 Rover P4 is expected to sell for between £35,000 and £45,000 when the hammer drops at a Silverstone Auctions event hosted on 27 August.
The black saloon with number plate GYE 329N is one of three Rover cars used for ministerial travel during the period – but the vehicle being sold is the one that transported the Iron Lady on her maiden journey to the the palace to be sworn into power.
The chauffeur-driven car that carried newly-elected Margaret Thatcher to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen in 1979 is heading to auction this month – and is expected to go for £45,000
Mrs Thatcher pictured leaving Buckingham Palace on May 5 1979 in one of the other Rover P5 ministerial cars – this was the one used to transport outgoing James Callaghan to the palace to formally resign as PM
Rover had been commissioned to convert the vehicles specifically for government duties, which included wiring for a police radio and the installation of set and flashing red lights to get through traffic.
A year after it was used to take the late Thatcher to Buckingham Palace it was taken out of service and sold into private ownership.
Retired shortly after taking its place on the political stage, the Rover moved into private ownership in 1980 with a recorded mileage at the time of circa 76,000, with approximately 17,000 miles recorded since then.
Silverstone Auctions says it ‘remains in exceptional condition throughout to this very day’.
It has recently had a new coat of paint and the engine and gearbox fully rebuilt, however, and most importantly, the original ‘conservative’ interior remains.
The current owner is a classic car fanatic who needs to sell some of his collection as it is growing too large.
The ministerial Rover P5 swept its way from Conservative headquarters at Westminster to the Palace shortly after Mrs Thatcher became the first woman Prime Minister
The vendor is said to be a classic car fanatic who needs to clear his collection that has become too large
The 1973 Rover P5 recently had a new coat of paint and the engine and gearbox fully rebuilt. however, and most importantly, the original ‘conservative’ interior remains as it was in 1979
Rover had been commissioned to convert the vehicles specifically for government duties, which included wiring for a police radio and the installation of set and flashing red lights
The Rover, which has a 3.5-litre engine, is being sold the auction house’s Classic Car and Race Car Sale held in Warwickshire.
With a large history file and unquestionable provenance, so much so that it recently featured in the September issue of Classic & Sportscar Magazine, the Rover is arguably an attractive classic saloon in its own right.
However, the auction house believes the Mrs Thatcher connection and the fact it was used to take the Iron Lady on her first ever trip as our Prime Minister adds a ‘certain cachet’.
Margaret Thatcher with husband Denis pictured outside 10 Downing Street in 1979
A year after it was used to take the late Thatcher to Buckingham Palace the Rover P5 was taken out of service and sold into private ownership
Silverstone Auctions says the Rover is an attractive classic saloon in its own right but the unique Margaret Thatcher connection means it could be more appealing to collectors
Charles Smalley, of Silverstone Auctions, said: ‘It is the exclusivity of the item that makes it so special, no other collector can say that they have the car that she went to Buckingham Palace in.
‘You can’t go and find another.
‘I am sure there will be interest from Margaret Thatcher memorabilia collectors or from specialists within that field, museums could also have a lot of interest.’
Mrs Thatcher was not the only PM that took a liking to the Rover P5; Harold Wilson liked his so much that he had it customised with an ashtray for his pipe.