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Vintage Luxury Car Prepared For Prince Philip Rusts In Romanian Car Park

Vintage Luxury Car Prepared For Prince Philip Rusts In Romanian Car Park

This is the vintage Daimler car that nobody wants to claim ownership of after it disgraced Britain when it broke down in Bucharest shortly before a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2001.

It has been lying abandoned and neglected in the car park of a hotel in the Romanian capital ever since the state visit by the consort of the Queen, who was in Romania for a key World Wildlife Fund meeting at the turn of the century.

According to Bucharest Intercontinental Hotel officials and the managers of the car park underneath the hotel, the vintage Daimler DS 420 is the property of the British Embassy. And they say that despite writing to them on several occasions, the Embassy in Bucharest had ignored the correspondence and were apparently refusing to have anything to do with the car.

As a result car park managers now say that they have applied to the court to have the car declared as their property, and say that they plan to put it on display alongside another abandoned car from the same period that had also been left in the car park, a rusting Russian Volga. Like the Daimler, the Volga was used by senior Russian officials also on state visits.

Car park manager Mihai Antol, 42, said: "When my company took over the car park the car was already there and the old owner told us it had been there ever since it failed to start properly during the royal visit. He said that apparently there had been a big fuss about the fact that the official car had been checked properly to make sure it was working, and that after that nobody wanted to have anything to do with it.

"Nobody wanted to admit it was their responsibility. Our records show it belongs to the British Embassy and we made several requests to them to either collect it or officially hand it over to us as they owe us a lot of money for parking it all this time, but we have had no reply. I guess it was pretty embarrassing when a Daimler arranged for the royal visit turned out to have broken down considering it was supposed to be a showcase for British motoring expertise."

When contacted by CEN for a statement a spokesman for the British Embassy in Bucharest denied that the car was theirs, saying: "The British Embassy in Bucharest does not own, according to its records, a vintage car along the lines of the technical features you describe."

And according to officials in the UK, although the Royal family has three such cars still at its disposal, none of them is listed as being in a hotel in Bucharest.

And with the British Embassy denying ownership of the car that the Romanians say is their property, it means that the legal bid to take over ownership is unlikely to be contested, and the garage owners will find themselves the new owners of a rare vintage car even if it never worked properly.

The license plates were apparently removed or stolen years ago and the original tyres are flat, but nevertheless the Daimler DS 420 is not only rare but also extremely valuable.

Only 4,116 units were produced between 1968-1992 and it was the car of choice for the various lavish receptions of the British Royal family for years.

With a length of over 12 foot and weighing more than two tons, the models are equipped with a huge 4.2 liter petrol engine capable of delivering 245 horsepower, that made it a favourite not just with the British Royal family but also with many other heads of state.

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