Formerly the Property of His Majesty, King Edward VIII,1936 Buick Limited Series 90 Eight Limousine 649990164
Lot 706
Formerly the Property of His Majesty, King Edward VIII,1936 Buick Limited Series 90 Eight Limousine 649990164
Sold for £100,500 (US$ 166,694) inc. premium
Lot Details
Formerly the Property of His Majesty, King Edward VIII
1936 Buick Limited Series 90 Eight Limousine
Coachwork by McLaughlin

Registration no. CUL 421
Chassis no. 649990164
Engine no. 2943885


  • This unique motor car was specially commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII. In the late summer of 1935 the Prince of Wales arrived unannounced at the showrooms of Lendrum & Hartman Ltd in Albemarle Street, London and asked to see Captain Hartman. At the time Hartman was two doors down the street having a shave. He was summoned back only to discover that the Prince wanted to purchase a Buick. The Prince confided that he did not believe anyone in Britain could build a car the way he wanted it built, but only as they thought he wanted it built. His special requirements were for a car, ‘Designed giving two passengers luxury and privacy, specifications to include drinks cabinets, vanity mirrors, reading lights, correspondence facilities, radio, smoker’s cabinet, jewellery cabinet, compartments for canteen and luncheon trays, and a drawer to accommodate London telephone directories.’ The Prince’s specifications were conveyed to Buick’s Oshawa plant in Ontario, Canada where Lendrum & Hartman’s representative remained until the car was complete. McLaughlin’s archives contain a detailed record of the many alterations made to the 5¼-litre Buick Limited Series 90 limousine (details available).
    In January 1936 King George V died. February saw the arrival of King Edward VIII’s new Buick. Following the car’s delivery, Captain Hartman supplied a permanent employee to the Royal household to service and maintain it.
    When Edward acceded to the throne, his long-standing relationship with Wallace Simpson assumed a new significance. Rumours that the King intended to marry the thrice-wed socialite spread, splitting the nation; for many it was unthinkable that Wallace Simpson might be Queen. The Buick was often seen spiriting the couple with blinds drawn to hide them from prying eyes. On 10th December 1936 the King was driven to Downing Street in the Buick, where he informed Prime Minister Baldwin that he intended to abdicate the throne for the woman he loved. And so on the following day the King made the speech that rocked the nation and precipitated Britain’s greatest constitutional crisis of the 20th Century, announcing on BBC Radio, ‘…I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love…’
    After the speech the ex-King left in the Buick for Portsmouth where it was loaded on a British warship and taken to France. He then drove on to Cannes to keep a rendezvous with Mrs Simpson. The couple, now the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, kept the Buick for a further three years, in which time they were married in a Loire Valley Chateau. Henceforth this motor car became known as ‘The Most Romantic Car In The World.’
    Finished in gleaming black with beige West of England trim, this unique and imposing motor car comes complete with many original luxury fittings ordered by the then Prince of Wales, including two silver-gilt cigarette boxes; a silver jewellery box; six silver-top decanters; and two posy holders. It also has a valve radio under the rear seat with controls in the passenger compartment. The car retains its original RAC and AA badges, GB plate, fold-in luggage bars, front-mounted blue light and dust cover.
    Accompanying documents include the original buff logbook stating the first owner to be ‘H M The King, St James’s Palace, SW1’ and the original tax disc. Also included in the sale is a leather-bound album containing a photographic record of the Buick prior to its delivery to the King. Presented in good condition, the car displays a total of 42,827 miles on the odometer and is offered with current MoT and Swansea V5 registration document.

Auction information

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