The Prestige of the Rolls-Royce

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Nicholas Carroll of The Sunday Times scored a minor scoop in the issue of February 18th by listing those top diplomats abroad who are provided with Rolls-Royce cars. It was stated that of 113 top men abroad, including High Commissioners, who represent Britain, only 30 have the use of a Rolls-Royce and that this “causes more heartburning among top diplomats than almost any other subject.”

Apparently the dozen Grade One posts are entitled to one of these cars but Ottawa, “for its own reasons,” prefers an Austin Princess. But in Bonn, Paris, New York, Rome, Washington, Tokyo, Pretoria, Moscow, Canberra, Brussels and New Delhi, according to The Sunday Times, the British diplomats travel in Rolls-Royces. They go on to say that half of the 20 Grade Two men also have them, but that in Athens there is a Daimler, in Cairo a Jaguar Mk. X, with Austin Princesses for the other eight next-top men. If you are Grade Three you do not normally expect a Rolls but it seems that in these posts nine have them. So of the 900 or so vehicles provided by the Diplomatic Service, 30 are Rolls-Royces, of which Silver Shadows are used in Bonn, Paris, Pretoria, Canberra and Brussels (N.A.T.O.), post-1962 Phantom Vs in New York (U.N.), Washington, Tokyo and New Delhi, and pre-1962 Phantom Vs in Rome and Moscow. In Ulan Bator the diplomatic cars are a Humber Snipe and a Land-Rover. As the older Wolseleys, Humbers and Princesses become due for replacement, what to replace them with is becoming a problem, as British makers are dropping their larger prestige models. Diplomats are choosy, and apparently while a Jaguar Mk. X might pass muster in Geneva, it would not do in Lisbon. Perhaps the big 3½-litre V8 Rover will find a sales outlet here?—W. B.