Famous people's famous LPG cars
Let's start with the cars, shall we? Especially that our first entry is famous in a slightly peculiar way – the model is iconic and enjoys a cult status as it has been immortalised in the Back to the Future film franchise, but this particular example is "just" an ordinary DeLorean DMC-12. The one used in the film may have been powered by a nuclear reactor and then by biomass, but this one has been converted to run on LPG by an installer in Rosyth near Edinburgh, Scotland. It sports a 2,8-litre V6 PRV (Peugeot-Renault-Volvo) engine, so it can sure use a cheaper fuel to cut the running costs, but aside from being a famous type of car there's nothing that special about it.
Unlike this peculiar automobile, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The car is the actual, original vehicle that starred in the 1968 film of the same name. Or one of them, as there were reportedly six created. The one converted to LPG is said to be the real deal – the fully functional, road-legal car with UK registration plate GEN 11. It was purchased by Pierre Picton in the early 1970s who owned it until 2011, when it was sold to none other than director Sir Peter Jackson. However, Pierre Picton had the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, equipped with a 3-litre V6 Ford engine and an automatic transmission, converted to LPG in 2004. Why? To reduce its emissions. Nice.
Let's move from famous cars to famous people and their famous cars, not necessarily just famous through their famous owners. The London Taxi is an icon in its own right, although the Metrocab generation probably less so than the FX4 and TX1 variants. Nevertheless, His Majesty Prince Philip has one of them and his example has been converted to run on autogas. That's actually quite intriguing since all Metrocabs were fitted with Toyota's or Ford's diesel engines, but being a prince has its perk benefits, we suppose. However, being a queen means getting an even better treatment as Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had a Bentley state limousine custom-built especially for her and, to set good example for her subjects, the car was made factory-ready to run on autogas. The mastodon has reportedly since been recommissioned and now runs on biofuel, but the queen at some point had as many as 14 LPG-powered vehicles altogether, including a Rolls-Royce. Way to go, your majesty!
Last but not least come famous people and their fairly common cars fueled with LPG instead of petrol. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 20 years or so, you've probably heard of Richard Hammond, most famous for being one of the Top Gear trio of hosts until recently. We don't know if he still has an autogas car, but definitely used to have a Range Rover Vogue with a 3,9-litre V8 engine running on the cheaper and greener alternative fuel. You'd expect a Top Gear co-host doesn't exactly have to economise on fuel, but why spend more than you have to if you can save easily with hardly any compromises? Thumbs up for Richard! As well as for Quentin Wilson, a motoring journalist who usually chooses his LPG-powered Jeep Cherokee over his Mercedes or Lexus due to the reduced fuel bill he pays thanks to the conversion. A wise choice, Mr. Wilson!
This could actually be the key to promoting autogas in many countries and improving its public perception – finding celebrities and well-known personalities using the fuel and enjoying it. We're looking forward to hearing about more famous LPG vehicles owned and driven by famous folks!
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