The royal cortège
 
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The royal cortège

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Graeme Ogg
(@graeme-ogg)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 483
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I wouldn’t want to be accused of trivialising any aspect of the ceremonial goings-on surrounding our late Queen, but having (obviously) a particular interest in the vehicles involved I offer the following passing comments.

The hearse used for the trip from Balmoral castle to Edinburgh is a handsome beast.

Hearse 1
Purves hearse 2

I  always admired the way this particular coachbuilder minimised the effect of the excessively tall proportions of many car-derived hearses by starting the roofline at normal height at the front and gradually sweeping it up towards the rear. If you wanted a real mean machine for your final journey, you couldn’t do much better than that.

In fact I was so impressed by the general design that I did my own conversion of a very similar but slightly less dramatically styled Pollmann hearse a few years ago.

Pollman hearse

But that’s another story.

The hearse was provided by an Edinburgh-based funeral director whose vehicles are all metallic silver-grey, so this one had to be repainted for the purpose. Oddly enough, although it was to be used exclusively for a royal procession, it was done in black rather than dark maroon (or “royal claret” as it is officially known).

All the company’s funeral vehicles have their logo on the windows and this was left in place.

Purves logo

Nobody seemed to be at all bothered by this – until the vehicle appeared on our TV screens, at which point so many loyal Royalists went online to express their outrage at the “blatantly offensive and opportunistic ads” on the vehicle that the company website crashed for several hours. Oh dear, how sensitive can people be? It wasn’t as if the company created a garish banner ad for the occasion, it was a pretty discreet company logo which is always there. Anyway, to appease the snowflakes, when the convoy stopped half-way to Edinburgh to refuel and switch drivers, the offending “ads” were peeled off the windows. Mercifully, that was enough to prevent a mob of Mel Gibson lookalikes in kilts and fake red beards storming the firm’s Edinburgh premises, so all was well.

After the casket was flown from Edinburgh to Northolt (an RAF airbase on the western outskirts of London) on a C17 Globemaster, it was transferred to the state ceremonial hearse, a one-off Jaguar XJ-based conversion which is painted in royal claret. Just why this vehicle wasn’t airlifted up north to do the whole procession I don’t know, but maybe it was because they only have one of them and – no disrespect to Jaguar – a breakdown is always a possibility. (In the long procession of support vehicles in the convoy to Edinburgh I’m pretty sure I spotted a spare hearse they had brought along just in case).

The Jaguar hearse was specially created with (so it is reported) considerable input from the queen herself. Huge windows, a transparent roof and interior spotlights for maximum visibility in all conditions. From some angles it looks OK. Quite impressive in fact.

Jaguar hearse 1 EDIT

But from other angles it is a distinctly awkward-looking puppy.

Jaguar hearse 3 EDIT

In fact it reminded me of a Fiat Multipla. That’s not quite as bad as comparing it to a Pontiac Aztec, but it's not far off.

Fiat Multipla

Mind you, it has to be said that as it proceeded through the darkness and rain heading for Buckingham Palace, it was quite an arresting sight.

Jaguar hearse 4

The final part of the proceedings will involve a gun carriage, but I don't think I will be offering any aesthetic commentary on that particular form of transport. I think I've said quite enough.

gun cariage
This topic was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Graeme Ogg

Graeme.M. Ogg
London U.K.


   
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David Green
(@david-green)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 4967
 

Wonderful post Graeme. Interesting details. I have a small collection of hearses. I suspect it won’t be too long before this pair are modelled in 1/43 scale. I wonder if two versions, with and without decals will be made of the William Purves Mercedes.


   
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David H
(@d-m-holcombe)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2032
 

I agree, Graeme.  It's a fine post.  Well done and I thank you.  


   
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100Ford2003
(@100ford2003)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1915
 
Posted by: @graeme-ogg

I wouldn’t want to be accused of trivialising any aspect of the ceremonial goings-on surrounding our late Queen, but having (obviously) a particular interest in the vehicles involved I offer the following passing comments.

The hearse used for the trip from Balmoral castle to Edinburgh is a handsome beast.

Hearse 1
Purves hearse 2

I  always admired the way this particular coachbuilder minimised the effect of the excessively tall proportions of many car-derived hearses by starting the roofline at normal height at the front and gradually sweeping it up towards the rear. If you wanted a real mean machine for your final journey, you couldn’t do much better than that.

In fact I was so impressed by the general design that I did my own conversion of a very similar but slightly less dramatically styled Pollmann hearse a few years ago.

Pollman hearse

But that’s another story.

The hearse was provided by an Edinburgh-based funeral director whose vehicles are all metallic silver-grey, so this one had to be repainted for the purpose. Oddly enough, although it was to be used exclusively for a royal procession, it was done in black rather than dark maroon (or “royal claret” as it is officially known).

All the company’s funeral vehicles have their logo on the windows and this was left in place.

Purves logo

Nobody seemed to be at all bothered by this – until the vehicle appeared on our TV screens, at which point so many loyal Royalists went online to express their outrage at the “blatantly offensive and opportunistic ads” on the vehicle that the company website crashed for several hours. Oh dear, how sensitive can people be? It wasn’t as if the company created a garish banner ad for the occasion, it was a pretty discreet company logo which is always there. Anyway, to appease the snowflakes, when the convoy stopped half-way to Edinburgh to refuel and switch drivers, the offending “ads” were peeled off the windows. Mercifully, that was enough to prevent a mob of Mel Gibson lookalikes in kilts and fake red beards storming the firm’s Edinburgh premises, so all was well.

After the casket was flown from Edinburgh to Northolt (an RAF airbase on the western outskirts of London) on a C17 Globemaster, it was transferred to the state ceremonial hearse, a one-off Jaguar XJ-based conversion which is painted in royal claret. Just why this vehicle wasn’t airlifted up north to do the whole procession I don’t know, but maybe it was because they only have one of them and – no disrespect to Jaguar – a breakdown is always a possibility. (In the long procession of support vehicles in the convoy to Edinburgh I’m pretty sure I spotted a spare hearse they had brought along just in case).

The Jaguar hearse was specially created with (so it is reported) considerable input from the queen herself. Huge windows, a transparent roof and interior spotlights for maximum visibility in all conditions. From some angles it looks OK. Quite impressive in fact.

Jaguar hearse 1 EDIT

But from other angles it is a distinctly awkward-looking puppy.

Jaguar hearse 3 EDIT

In fact it reminded me of a Fiat Multipla. That’s not quite as bad as comparing it to a Pontiac Aztec, but it's not far off.

Fiat Multipla

Mind you, it has to be said that as it proceeded through the darkness and rain heading for Buckingham Palace, it was quite an arresting sight.

Jaguar hearse 4

The final part of the proceedings will involve a gun carriage, but I don't think I will be offering any aesthetic commentary on that particular form of transport. I think I've said quite enough.

gun cariage

Very nicely written post.

Thank-you,

Steve


   
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Bob Jackman
(@bob-jackman)
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Wonderful post Graeme with interesting incite.


   
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Graeme Ogg
(@graeme-ogg)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 483
Topic starter  

Thanks to all for the kind comments. Glad you enjoyed it.

I note that several people "reacted". Some of them more than once. It isn't clear whether this means they gave a thumbs-up, raised an eyebrow, nodded earnestly, hurled a few choice words of invective at the soul of William Purves or suffered some kind of seizure due to the sudden excess of funeral car porn.

I'm not sure I want to know, really. "Reacted" is a curiously vague indicator of response, but I'll interpret it as a small round of applause. (If I'm wrong, please don't tell me. I'm kind of basking in a warm glow of contentment right now).

 

p.s. One or two final comments.

First, after I suggested a reason why they didn't transport the state hearse to Scotland (in case of a mechanical problem during the procession) it occurred to me that if they did indeed have a spare funeral car in the convoy they could surely have risked using the Jag? After all, it was painted in the official royal colours, and didn't have any embarrassing logos, and was originally built exclusively (and no doubt very expensively) for royal funeral processions, and they had that RAF heavy lifter available to do the job, so it still seems a bit odd.

Second (for any nerd who is interested) apparently the Merc wasn't resprayed in black, it was wrapped in black vinyl.

And third, the Jag hearse conversion was done by Wilcox, a major maker of stretch limos and hearses since 1948. I went looking to see if they published the specifications or a video of the build, but their website is down at the moment.  Possibly crashed due to the number of peole looking for the same info? However, it looks as if the design is now available for funeral directors to buy, and I found one firm operating one of these Jags in colours so close to the royal colours I'm surprised they got away with it.

Hearse Paul King
This post was modified 2 months ago by Graeme Ogg

Graeme.M. Ogg
London U.K.


   
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John Quilter
(@john-quilter)
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Posts: 964
 

 Also disappointed that the Queen's final ride was not in a Jaguar or Daimler hearse.  As noted, Wilcox in the UK does these conversions and here are some model shots showing the saloon that it is based on and a six door saloon for the entourage.     Good You Tube video of the construction of these special cars when it is up and working.

Jaguar XJ351 hearse LH side
X351 hearse comparison
X351 limo

 

John F. Quilter
Eugene, Oregon USA


   
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