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Rover P5 that first transported Margaret Thatcher as PM to sell for £45k

The classic Rover P5 that Margaret Thatcher took on her maiden voyage as the 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 the then newly elected Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for a visit to the Queen at Buckingham Palace
  • It has covered 93k miles from new – just 17k since retiring from official government duties in 1980
  • The Rover has had a recent mechanical overhaul but the interior is original

The chauffeur-driven car that transported a newly elected Margaret Thatcher to Buckingham Palace in 1979 to visit the Queen as the country’s first female prime minister will 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 falls at a Silverstone Auctions event to be held on August 27.

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 carried the Iron Lady on her maiden journey to the palace to meet the power to be sworn in.

The chauffeur-driven car that transported the newly elected Margaret Thatcher to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen in 1979 is up for auction this month – and is expected to fetch £45,000

Mrs Thatcher photographed Buckingham Palace on 5 May 1979 in one of the other Rover P5 ministerial cars - this was the one used to transport departing James Callaghan to the palace to formally resign as Prime Minister

Mrs Thatcher photographed Buckingham Palace on 5 May 1979 in one of the other Rover P5 ministerial cars – this was the one used to transport departing James Callaghan to the palace to formally resign as Prime Minister

Rover had been tasked with converting the vehicles specifically for government duties, including the wiring for a police radio and the installation of kit and flashing red lights to navigate traffic.

A year after it was used to transport the late Thatcher to Buckingham Palace, it was decommissioned and sold into private ownership.

Shortly after taking its place on the political scene, the Rover was retired in 1980, with a recorded mileage of about 76,000 miles then, and about 17,000 miles on record since then.

Silverstone Auctions says it is “in exceptional condition to this day”.

It has recently had a new coat of paint and the engine and gearbox have been completely rebuilt, but most importantly the original ‘conservative’ interior has been retained.

The current owner is a vintage car enthusiast who has to sell part of his collection because it is getting too big.

The Ministerial Rover P5 made its way from Conservative HQ in Westminster to the Palace shortly after Mrs Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister

The Ministerial Rover P5 made its way from Conservative HQ in Westminster to the Palace shortly after Mrs Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister

The seller is said to be an old-timer fan who has to clean up his collection that has become too large

The seller is said to be an old-timer fan who has to clean up his collection that has become too large

The 1973 Rover P5 has recently been repainted and the engine and gearbox have been completely rebuilt.  but, and most importantly, the original 'conservative' interior remains as it was in 1979

The 1973 Rover P5 has recently been repainted and the engine and gearbox have been completely rebuilt. but, and most importantly, the original ‘conservative’ interior remains as it was in 1979

Rover had been tasked with converting the vehicles specifically for government duties, including wiring for a police radio and installing kit and flashing red lights.

Rover had been tasked with converting the vehicles specifically for government duties, including wiring for a police radio and installing kit and flashing red lights.

The Rover, which has a 3.5-litre engine, will be sold at the Warwickshire auction house’s Classic Car and Race Car Sale.

With a large record of history and an undeniable provenance, so much so that it was recently featured in the September issue of Classic & Sportscar Magazine, the Rover is an attractive classic saloon in its own right.

However, the auction house believes in its connection to Mrs Thatcher and the fact that it was used to take the Iron Lady on her very first journey, as our Prime Minister adds a ‘certain cachet’.

Margaret Thatcher with husband Denis pictured outside 10 Downing Street in 1979

Margaret Thatcher with husband Denis pictured outside 10 Downing Street in 1979

A year after being used to transport the late Thatcher to Buckingham Palace, the Rover P5 was withdrawn from service and sold into private ownership

A year after being used to transport the late Thatcher to Buckingham Palace, the Rover P5 was withdrawn from service and sold into private ownership

Silverstone Auctions says the Rover is an attractive classic saloon in its own right, but its unique Margaret Thatcher connection could make it more attractive to collectors

Silverstone Auctions says the Rover is an attractive classic saloon in its own right, but its unique Margaret Thatcher connection could make it more attractive to collectors

Charles Smalley, of Silverstone Auctions, said: ‘It’s the exclusivity of the item that makes it so special, no other collector can say they have the car she went to Buckingham Palace with.

‘You can’t go find another one.

“I’m sure there will be interest from collectors of Margaret Thatcher memorabilia or specialists in the field, museums could also be of great interest.”

Mrs Thatcher wasn’t the only Prime Minister who liked the Rover P5; Harold Wilson liked it so much that he had it custom made with an ashtray for his pipe.

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