FORKLIFT truck driver Chris Harrison feels like the King of the Road with his new set of wheels. For the 18-year-old Ford Granada now parked on his drive used to be owned by the Queen Mother.
The car was sold by London auctioneers Coys on behalf of the Sir Steve Redgrave Charitable Trust and Chris, of Plantation Road, Accrington, paid several thousand pounds for the vehicle because of its history.
Chris, 49, who trained as a mechanic as a teenager, said that he has always been interested in cars and fell in love with Fords during the early days of his career. As well as the Ford Granada he has three other classic Fords - a 1968 Lotus Cortina, a 1979 Cortina and a 1979 Motorhome.
He said: "I have been interested in cars all my life. I was a mechanic as a teenager and I have worked right through the field. I knew that the car was coming up for auction after reading about it in the paper and decided to go for it.
"I paid several times more than its market value of £700. It drives like a Rolls Royce; it has been well looked after and is absolutely immaculate."
Chris said that June, his wife of 35 years, did not really share his hobby but enjoyed going on day trips in the cars.
A spokesman for Coys said: "This particular example of a Ford Granada has a unique and fascinating history. Having been registered to the Ford Motor Company, the car is understood to have been loaned to the British royal family by the widow of Henry Ford II for both official and unofficial duties.
"In the course of its royal duties the car is believed to have been used quite extensively by the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Following its time with the royal family the car returned to Mrs Ford who in turn donated the car to the Steve Redgrave Charitable Trust."