In the driving seat with Andrew Clarke
Following the visit of His Royal Highness to Larne, Andrew Clarke looks at the motoring interests of the Prince of Wales.
What do James Bond and Prince Charles have in common? One answer is a taste for Aston Martin cars.
For his 21st birthday, the Queen gave Charles a beautiful 1969 Aston Martin Volante DB6 MKII.
Only a few dozen of that particular model were produced, and Charles has cherished it ever since.
It has a huge 3995 cc engine, and is capable of 150mph.
Of course, this was in the days before the popularity of the green movement, and gas guzzlers don’t sit so well with the Prince’s work on behalf of environmental issues.
The official website for Prince Charles observes: “In order to reduce net emissions from car travel, The Prince’s Aston Martin runs on bioethanol made from wine wastage and a by-product of cheese-making.
“The Royal Train runs on biodiesel made from used cooking oil.”
It is estimated that it takes about three-and-a-half wine bottles to power the car for a mile!
This conversion means that the car produces 60g CO2/km, placing it in Category A, the lowest emissions band.
However, this is largely a symbolic action, as the car is believed to only do 300 miles each year.
Prince William borrowed the Aston Martin for his wedding – this is the car he was pictured driving Kate away in, complete with ribbons, flowers, and the ‘L’ plates kindly donated by Harry.
On official engagements the prince has a choice of vehicles determined by other demands from the Royal family and security.
There was some controversy when in 2,010 protestors attacked an unarmoured Rolls Royce in which he and Camilla were travelling.
Now Charles is more likely to be found in an armoured Bentley. It is three foot longer, six inches wider, and 10 inches
taller than the standard model.
This is not so much for extra leg room as to allow for better viewing for the public on visits.
Andrew works in Clarke’s Tyres, 71 Pound Street, Larne. Tel. 02828260056.
Clarke’s have been serving Larne since 1929, and offer a wide range of garage services and motor factor parts.
Andrew is the third generation of Clarke to be working there.