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Jubilee Bentley for the queen

The queen admires her new Bentley
The queen admires her new Bentley  

LONDON, England -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has received a custom-made Bentley limousine in honour of her Golden Jubilee.

The queen spent several minutes inspecting the car when it was unveiled at Windsor Castle on Wednesday and was said to be "visibly impressed," according to the UK Press Association.

The Bentley, which took two years to build, gets its first royal drive on Tuesday when the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will be driven from a jubilee thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral to the Guildhall in London.

The car is expected to become the queen's main form of transport for state and ceremonial events. Although it has a top speed of 120 mph, it will travel at an average of 9 mph in processions.

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The limousine is arguably "the most magnificent car ever produced" at Bentley's factory in Crewe, company chairman and chief executive Franz-Josef Paefgen told the queen.

The Bentley becomes the eighth in a fleet of state cars, which includes five Rolls-Royces and two Daimlers. Like other official royal cars, it is painted claret and black.

While the car has several special features -- including two height-adjustable rear seats, so the queen and Duke can be seen at the same level -- the queen made it clear to Bentley she did not want the car to be "brimming with every electronic gadget available," the company said.

Specifically, she did not want views in and out of the car obstructed by heavy tinting on the windows. That presented a challenge for designers, who normally would have used tinting to keep sunlight from overheating the car -- especially one "with such a large rear cabin and so much glass," the company said.

The Bentley features the royal crest  

The solution: Sandwiching a reflective coating with a "barely noticable" 15 percent tint between two layers of laminated glass, and putting a 40 percent tint on the roof panels. The car also boasts a powerful air conditioner.

Designed to last 25 years and 125,000 miles, the limousine is the first ceremonial royal vehicle built using computer-aided design techniques, Bentley said.

Although Bentley wouldn't comment on the price or security features of the car, motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson told The Times of London that it has the "same tyres as (Libyan leader) Col. (Moammar) Gadhafi's limousine, and I have never seen those anywhere else."




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