In 1952, when Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Canada, each of the Big Three donated cars for the royal parade through British Columbia, the Canadian Prairies, and Ontario. General Motors’ contribution took the form of two 1951 Cadillac convertibles, much like the one pictured above.
Those Canadian royal parade cars had been mostly lost to time, but according to Canadian website Driving, one of the Royal Tour Cadillacs has landed in the lap of a new owner, who has plans to restore the car to showroom perfection. The other of the donated Cadillac convertibles has already been restored, and sold at Barrett-Jackson in 2013 for $85,000.
Driving reports that Canadian automotive parts supplier Jim Carpenter first heard about the Royal Tour Cadillac convertible back in 1982; he was acquainted with the daughter of then-owner Jack Thiessen. But at that time, Carpenter wasn’t all that intrigued: “It wasn’t that old of a car back then and wasn’t for sale. I really wasn’t interested, so I didn’t bother to go and see it,” he says.
Fast-forward another 30 or so years, to 2010, when Carpenter receives a Christmas card from Ms. Thiessen, informing him that if he’s interested in the classic Royal Tour Cadillac, he ought to act soon, as her father wants the car moved. The Cadillac had sat in a dilapidated barn since 1969, causing the fuel tank to rust through, the engine to seize, and myriad other problems.
Despite all that, this time, Carpenter was interested. He paid $15,000 for the 1951 Royal Tour Cadillac, and being a dealer of classic car parts, had the car running again in no time.
Now, Jim Carpenter is planning on doing a proper restoration of the historic machine. The 1951 Cadillac convertible came complete with a brass fire extinguisher in the trunk, and an engraved sterling silver plaque, which reads:
H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth
H.R.H. Prince Philip
Toured Vancouver in this
Cadillac Convertible Coupe
During the Royal Visit
It’s quite an astounding bit of motoring history that we didn’t even know existed. Now that we do, we earnestly hope that both of these surviving Royal Tour Cadillac examples can be saved for future generations.