I promise you today there’ll be no mention of the Windsors, funerals or family succession dramas. Hold on. I just did! OK. I bet you thought the royal hearse looked like a black Holden panel van with big glass windows. Nup. Wrong again. It’s a Binz. Not a Mercedes-Binz but a Binz, the coach builder’s hearse, on a 2006 Merc E Class.
Mick Binz started his hearse business in 1936 in the town of Lorch which is famous for being 8km from Schwabisch Gmund and being the birthplace of Karl Conz (no, I don’t know either). Anyway, to keep his spirits up, Mick decided to go crazy with his copywriting, a tradition that continues today. So, in the spiel for the latest version of the royal family’s Binz, the manner, frauenan and sonstiges of the last ride specialists, headline their ad “A forum for decorum” and “A legend’s last hurrah”.
Interested to have one in your fleet? The Binz H4 comes with, as standard: a coffin loading area with partially electric four-track technology and decorative Nirosta stainless steel elements, magic film in white – promotional discount available – and LED ambient lighting on the coffin space ceiling in warm white. All this for $200k (plus car) including a two-year warranty. This really is a car “with timeless design and stylish features, custom-made for grand occasion for everyday life”.
Also being passed on to King Chuck III are the late Queen’s fav, a 1961 Vauxhall Cresta stationwagon with gun rack; two armoured 2002 Bentley Arnages with 300kW V8 non-electric donks; three old Rollers; some Range Rovers and a couple of stretch XJ jags.
If you fancy going a bit soap-dodgerish yourself, look no further. We’ve talked Bonhams into putting a specially commissioned, bespoke version of the same Land Rover loved by the royals for many years, the 2013 Land Rover Q40 Defender 110 XS, into today’s Goodwood Revival Sale. It honours 40 years’ active service of the Chinook helicopter in the RAF and the money goes to The Royal Air Forces Association.
Of course, Land Rover is now owned by Tata, a firm based in the old colony of India. This Landy has been rebuilt and re-engineered by TECNIQ to look like a Chinook. It comes with an upgraded chassis, all-new suspension, a Mustang-derived Ford EcoBoost 230kW 2.3-litre engine (a real Chinook has 3529kW under the bonnet), hand-finished camouflaged bodywork, with carbon fibre accents, a subtle graphic representation of the Chinook’s twin-rotor design on the rear of the vehicle and a genuine RAF Chinook crew flying suit. Now I don’t want to sway your decisions (we report, you decide) but I know a lot of you in the illicit caper department go out and buy an instant cop attractor when you land your first big deal. I would eschew the Lambo and think about the Binz or this Indian Chinook Landy. Both will cost you $200 large but only one is camouflaged if you get my drift.
Keeping on the theme: best reason to visit Motorclassica (7-9 October 2022 Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne) is Peter Briggs’ 1904 Napier L48. Peter died in June this year and his widow Robin is selling the Napier, one of Briggsy’s most cherished cars.
This is not an old classic to look at. The 180kW engine was the first successful six-cylinder race engine ever built. It was good for 168km/h, held over 20 speed records and didn’t Briggsy love to race it. In 1999, he was invited to exhibit the Napier in the special class for important racing cars produced pre-World War I and was awarded the Automobile Quarterly prize for the most historically significant car in the event. In 2000 the Napier and Briggsy were invited by Lord March to the Festival of Speed in Britain where driver Pete took out a class win in the hill climb.
With the interest in Edwardian Giants in the UK and races like the SF Edge Trophy at Goodwood, the car will easily find a buyer in Europe or the US, but for somewhere around $1.5m you can have it here and race it over there.
And it’s a good car to enter in next weekend’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Drive. The DSG is a global (143 drives in 52 countries and New Zealand) that raises money for vital research and programs for prostate cancer and men’s mental health. The idea is you get out on the road in pre-80s classic cars, dress dapper (tweed jackets, vests, crisp shirts, stylish hats, polished brogues, blue tank tops, white Slappa thongs and Coopers Labels Reversible Bucket Hats) and drive around attracting looks from lesser mortals and if you do it well you can win a pair of socks.
Don’t forget to tune in next week when we completely expose the NSW (and probably the other) government’s lies on mobile speed cameras, tell you which private companies are raking in your dollars and why they are doing nothing for the road toll but lots for government and private company revenues. Then we ask (and probably don’t answer): “Should you invest in the Porker IPO?” You remember, the one we said would never happen.