Petrolhead Nigel gets royal seal of approval for his mighty motor

Nigel Chrisman with Prince Michael and Nigel's 1992 Lotus Carlton outside Buckingham Palace SUS-161020-171124001
Nigel Chrisman with Prince Michael and Nigel's 1992 Lotus Carlton outside Buckingham Palace SUS-161020-171124001

A rare chance to join in the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations landed in the lap of a Horsham petrolhead - because of his classic car.

Nigel Chrisman - owner of a 1992 Lotus Carlton - was among 90 car owners who lined up with their motors in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace last week.

Nigel Chrisman SUS-161021-120616001

Nigel Chrisman SUS-161021-120616001

Each of the 90 vehicles - worth a staggering £19 million - was manufactured in a specific year of the Queen’s life, and represented that year.

The first was a 1926 Bullnose Morris Oxford Tourer, the last an impressive 2016 Ford Focus RS.

Nigel’s Lotus Carlton - representing 1992 - was the fastest production four-door saloon of the 20th centuring with a top speed of 177mph.

The vehicles were inspected on the Queen’s behalf by Prince Michael of Kent. “He asked me what was special about my car,” said Nigel, “and I told him about its speed.”

Nigel bought the car when it first went on sale in 1992. “I diverted a large part of a second mortgage to pay for it.”

Only 286 of the models were made and at one time, calls were made in Parliament for it to be banned - because officers could not keep up with its speed.

Nigel, who also has a Lotus 2007 Europa S, uses a Subaru Forester as a runaround and admits to taking the Carlton out “for high days and holidays.”

Among other cars in the ‘royal’ line-up were a 1948 Jaguar XK120 - the most famous competition Jaguar of all time; a 1952 AEC Regent 111 - a London double-decker bus which completed a 12,000 mile tour of the USA and Canada in 1952 as a promotion for British goods and tourism; a 1959 Morris Mini-Minor - the first-ever Mini off the production line; the hybrid McLaren P.1. and a 2016 Jaguar F-PACE.