Two Humber Super Snipe Convertibles
used in the 1954 Commonwealth Royal Visit

The black and white photographs below were scanned from several Royal Visit souvenir books owned by Brian Vogt, who was born in 1954 and collects any 1954 memorabilia.

The story circulating amongst Rootes fans is that the Royal Visit convertibles were one-off productions by specialist coach builders.  The picture books overall show several different cars in several parts of the world, so they appear to have accompanied the royal couple on the very new Royal Yacht Britannia.  Clearly identifiable in the picture books are two Humber Super Snipes a 1953 model and a 1948 model (as near as the experts can tell me), a very recent model Daimler, and a Land Rover which was photographed in Jamaica, New Zealand, Tasmania and mainland Australia.

The Royal Visit was originally planned for 1952 by King George VI and his wife.  Some souvenirs, such as picture books, were printed in 1951 anticipating that the tour would proceed according to schedule.  However, the King's health deteriorated badly, and the tour was transferred to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip.  The King died on 6th February 1952, and the proposed tour was cancelled.  For full details of the never-ending stream of proposed royal tours, refer to the National Archives of Australia.
Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen in 1953, and eventually resurrected the plans for the tour visiting Australia in February-March 1954.  As Australia was at the end of the tour, the special cars seem to have been sold here.

The car immediately below is the earlier (1948?) model.

This car is the later (1953?) model.

Kurt Schneck of New York, USA sent me some pictures of his 1953 model Royal Visit car in March 2001.  He acquired it a month earlier from a dealer in Oregon.  Before that it was in a small private car museum for many years.  He said it has a royal/special Vehicle Identification Number to prove its history.  It is currently fitted with white walled tyres (a nice touch), although such things weren't fitted during the Royal Visit tour (presumably to keep public attention on the royal couple).
At the time of these photos, Kurt was trying to find a fender flag (royal visit standard) to complete its perfect appearance.

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