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McLaughlin-Buick

Model Year: 1939

Location of Manufacture: Oshawa, Ontario

The preference for McLaughlin-Buicks as the vehicle of choice for the British Royal Family began in 1927. It was in that year that HRH Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) and his brother, Prince George (later King George VI), toured Canada in a McLaughlin-Buick convertible. The memory of that car stayed with Prince Edward, and it was a McLaughlin-Buick that he ordered as his personal limousine in the summer of 1935. He commissioned a customized McLaughlin-Buick “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 “two passengers” were, of course, Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson, the divorced American for whom he would eventually give up the British throne.

In 1939, on the eve of World War II, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Canada. Four cars were outfitted for their tour, two of which were McLaughlin-Buick Royal Tour Cars built especially for the occasion. The McLaughlin-Buicks were massive vehicles at 6 metres (20 ft.) in length. Royal maroon in colour, they were outfitted with exotic wood trim, wool broadloom seating, and had extra interior height to accommodate elaborate royal headwear.

McLaughlin-Buick’s long association with the British Royal Family along with its reputation for fine craftsmanship and reliability made it the car of the upper classes both in Canada and in Britain.