These are the 15 remarkable cars used by world leaders and royalty

From Churchill’s Daimler to Trump’s Cadillac and Queen Elizabeth’s Bentley State Limousine, politicians and royal families have made use of some of the most extraordinary cars ever made.

William Howard Taft, US President from 1909 to 1913, was the very first president to be driven in an official presidential limo, initially opting for a steam-powered Model M Steamer. White House historians regard Taft as a pioneer in this respect, successfully allocating $12,000 in congressional funding for presidential cars despite protests from contemporaries including Representative Thetus Sims, who described the automobile as: “A dangerous means of travel, not only for the people who ride in it but for the pedestrians. The automobile is a genuine, all around nuisance.”

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Many countries have kept iconic classic cars as official state transport, with Brazil operating a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith as its ceremonial state car, and the UK royal family retaining the use of several vintage Rolls-Royce models as part of a diverse car collection. Below is a selection of some of the most intriguing vehicles that have served at the pleasure of the world’s great, good, and not so good.

Donald Trump, President of the United States – Cadillac One

The successor to Barack Obama’s “Beast”, the security features of the CadiIIac One are largely kept secret, as is the case with most official state cars. It is reportedly equipped with tear gas cannons, an emergency blood supply, bullet-proof glass and armored body panels. This isn’t the first modified Cadillac to enter into service with Donald Trump. In the 80s, Trump collaborated with Cadillac to produce two “Cadillac Trumps”. Originally intended to be a run of 50 vehicles, one of the two 5.0 litre Trumps ended up being sold to a buyer in the UK.

Trump has also reportedly owned a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, 1997 Lamborghini Diablo, a mid 00s Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and a 24 Karat Gold Chopper (a gold-plated bike).

Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – Jaguar XJ Sentinel

Contained within a body of aluminium, kevlar and high-strength steel, the Prime Ministerial Jaguar is powered by a 5.0 litre supercharged V8 engine. In addition to a top speed of 121mph, the Sentinel offers its users “substantial underfloor grenade protection”, B7 ballistic protection and blast protection for explosives equivalent to 15kg of TNT. The added protective features include a 13mm plate of steel under the chassis, which mean the car is slightly slower than its more regular equivalent. In the event of a chemical or biological attack, the Sentinel has access to its own oxygen supply and can also release its own dispersants.

At the time of the vehicle’s first appearance in 2010, Jaguar’s MD Mike O’Driscoll said the car “was designed and developed in partnership with industry leaders, and incorporates the very latest armoured vehicle systems to deliver extremely impressive levels of protection, while maintaining a very discreet appearance.”

Pope Francis – Renault 4

In an effort to encourage frugality within the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has demonstrabIy rejected some of the more luxurious vehicles used by his predecessors. The 1984 Renault 4 was given to the pontiff in 2013 with 170,000 miles on the clock and is used around the Vatican precincts. Pope Francis still has access to the Mercedes-Benz M-Class ‘Popemobile’, completed with armoured glass cabin at the rear.

Queen Elizabeth

A bespoke version of what was then the world’s most expensive car, the Queen makes use of two Phantom VIs. The classic Rolls “Spirit of Ecstasy” figure is replaced with a statuette of St George sIaying the dragon and the car is fitted with a mount for the royal coat of arms.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran was also a customer and the Sultan of Brunei had two specially ordered models manufactured in the 90s.

Brazilian official state car – Rolls Royce Silver Wraith

Adapted by the coachmakers, H. J. Mulliner & Co, the Wraith is the ceremonial state car of Brazil. Purchased by President Getúlio Vargas in 1953, the car is rarely used outside of key state celebrations such as state visits and Independence Day celebrations.

Xi Jinping, President of China – Hongqi L5 Y

China’s most expensive car is also the officiaI state car for the PRC elite. It was deliberately designed as a retro throwback to the massive limousines produced by Hongqi for Chairman Mao and senior communists. At a cost of five million yuan or £622,500, the 18-foot long L5 comes with a 6.0 litre V12 engine, capable of generating up to 400bhp.

The oldest car brand in China, Hongqi (meaning Red Flag) is pitching the L5 at the country’s growing roster of billionaires keen to tout their connections to all-things Chinese. Inside, the L5 comes with rear-seat entertainment, a Bose sound system and a sunflower in the steering wheel, a symbol of good luck and long life.

Muhammad VI, King of Morocco – Mercedes-Benz 600

Possibly the most popular car amongst world Ieaders, variations on the 600 have been owned by Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Emperor Hirohito, Leonid Brezhnev, Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, Nicolae Ceaușescu, Park Chung-lee, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Today, Morocco’s Muhammad VI, makes use of a Mercedes 600 Pullman, ordered by his father, King Hassan II.

Akihito, Emperor of Japan – Toyota Century Royal

While the Japanese Prime Minister is expected to make do with a regular Toyota Century, the Imperial House of Japan has access to four “Royal” versions of the limousine. Produced in 2006 at an estimated cost of ¥52,500,000 (£378,000), the Century Royal is 20 feet long and is understood to have granite entry steps and Japanese rice paper embellishments in the passenger area. Only the Imperial Family are allowed to own these cars, which are powered by 5.0 litre V12 engines.

British royal family – Rolls-Royce Phantom IV

Described as the “most exclusive Rolls-Royce” ever, this Phantom was built between 1950 and 1956, and made solely available to heads of state and royal families the world over. Only 18 were ever made.

Buckingham Palace was a customer, with both Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret taking delivery of the limousine, as did the Duke of Gloucester and the Duchess of Kent. Other owners have included the King Faisal II of Iraq, the Prince Regent of Iraq, the Shah of Iran, the Emir of Kuwait and General Franco.

The IV came with Rolls’ only 6.3 litre straight eight engine. Developed by several different coachbuilders, they came with an array of fittings. Princess Margaret’s was customised with an onboard scotch whisky cabinet and an adjustable driver’s seat in case the Princess herself felt like driving. Other touches included a kneeling, rather than standing, Spirit of Ecstasy on the bonnet, used on all but two of the limos.