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All the Presidents’ cars

By Chris Graeme

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THE LUXURY cars of state that have carried successive Portuguese presidents around the country since 1910 are on display at Rossio Station’s exhibition space.

The exhibition, which was opened by Cavaco Silva earlier this month to celebrate the foundation of the Portuguese republic, will continue until December 23.

The exhibition is split into three distinct phases. The first Republic (1910-1926) includes old horse drawn carriages, which were put into service for the President of the Republic after the end of the monarchy and include two fine carriages from the Casa Real. One is a fine Landau from the late 19th century from Muhlbacher, Paris and the other a cream silk-lined Clarence which belonged to Dona Maria Pia.

Vehicles purchased in the 1950s and 1960s form the second part of the exhibition and include several fine examples of limousines, including a 1938 Mercedes Benz, originally bought for the head of the secret services, a US 1939 Packard Super 8 limo, which Stalin had apparently loved, a UK 1967 Vanden Plas Austin Princess, which had cost 470 contos at the time and a Rolls Royce Phantom V dated 1960, which had been used for President Americo Tomás.

The third part of the exhibition includes those vehicles which have been used by various presidents since 1974.

Other pieces in the collection include a Mercedes Benz 6005, dated 1966, a baby blue 1954 Cadillac – the first to have electric windows – bought for President Craveiro Lopes in 1954 and a stunning and rare 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III, of which only 710 were made. Which was bought especially for the official visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1957.

That particular car was also used by Dwight Eisenhower, Brazilian President Kubitschek de Oliveira and Pope John Paul II. It was originally made for Prince of Bahrain in 1937.

The cars, which form the collection of the President of the Republic, can be seen daily at Rossio between Monday and Saturday, 12.30pm to 7.30pm and tickets cost 1.50 euros.