RAC Cars News


The cars that drive world leaders

By raccars Published

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Presidents, Prime Ministers and Royalty tend to have a slightly different list of priorities from the average buyer when car shopping. Rather than wondering how it'll stand up to the school run or a turn around a tight multistorey, their concerns are slightly weightier - can it be bombproofed, for example, and will it satisfy national pride. On the other hand, they have a far more interesting budget to play with.

Cadillac One

Known as 'The Beast' and only a Cadillac in the most general terms, President Barack Obama's state vehicle boasts the platform, transmission and engine of a Chevrolet Kodiak truck.

Toyota Land Cruiser

A regular mode of transport among world leaders, the Land Cruiser is favoured for its reliability and toughness, capable of getting VIPs out of trouble during an uprising. It's currently the car of choice of India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Renault 4

It's an unusual choice of state vehicle but fits Pope Francis's austerity drive perfectly.


Regularly found in state garages, Rolls-Royce currently holds the dubious distinction of being Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe's, daily driver.

Ford Galaxie Xl Convertible

In 1966, Queen Elizabeth II presented a Ford Galaxie XL Convertible as a gift to Chile as part of a state visit to the South American country. It was clearly much appreciated as it is still in use for official business, almost five decades later.

Bugatti Veyron

A fairly ostentatious indication that the former Russian communist country has embraced capitalism is the lime green Bugatti Veyron driven by its leader, Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov. The President used his car to open his nation's first motor racing event, ending up joining the starting grid and winning the race...

Volkswagen Beetle

Since the disposal of its roster of state vehicles in 2010, Uruguayan president, Jose Mujica, has driven his personal car, a VW Beetle, while performing official duties. Given that an armoured Vauxhall Vectra from 2005 was his previous state vehicle, he's probably pretty happy with the current status quo.

Proton Impian

In a laudable triumph of patriotism over style, performance or any of the usual criteria to which a presidential car should adhere, Malaysia's Prime Minister has opted for a Proton Waja Chancellor/Impian from the country's national manufacturer. The state car pool includes various other Protons and a BMW 740Li but the country's royal family has some far more distinguished vehicles to choose from, including a couple of Bentleys and a Maybach.

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