A car once owned - and personally driven - by King George VI will go under the hammer at Bonhams Beaulieu Sale of Motorcars on September 12.

The car, a Lanchester 32hp Straight-8 Limousine, is expected to sell for up to £35,000. There are few Royal cars of such significance outside the Queen's own collection.

It was bought in 1939, and the King reportedly drove his family around in it himself - hence the sumptuous cloth seating throughout, instead of the usual leather for a chauffer's seat.

The automobile features the then-new F-Type chassis which carried the all-aluminium, four-light limousine, crafted by Hooper, Royal Warrant holders.

The King himself contributed to the design of the coachwork - elegant, flowing and an antidote to the often staid state limousine designs that were common at the time.

Following the premature death of George VI in 1952, the car continued in the Royal service of the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth II for two more years.

George VI bought his first car from the Birmingham-based Lanchester Motor Company as a young man, then still known as Prince Albert, Duke of York, in 1925.

He would own three Royal Lanchester 40hp cars for private use by himself and his new bride Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

Eventually, his two daughters Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret each drove 10hp Lanchester models, making regular public appearances with the cars.

By then, Lanchester had merged with Daimler into the BSA empire, in 1931, after which Prince Albert ordered an 18hp four-door sports saloon, and later a pair of Lanchester Straight-8 cars.

The Prince's Lanchester cars were used for private rather than State occasions following his coronation on May 12, 1937.  

In 1939, he ordered the classic 32hp, 4,624cc Straight-8 Limousine - the car that will be auctioned - and a similar Landaulette.

The old car's subsequent fate is not fully recorded however in later years it was found complete but neglected in the USA.

It was later returned to the UK, restored and added to the collection of Chris Clark, Lanchester historian and author of The Lanchester Legacy.

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