Royal Tour Caddy and the Fifth Avenue Connection

In the course of a day I receive inquires from customers located throughout the world, but seldom do I expect to receive an inquiry from the Royal Family of England. But it happened.

Early one morning I received a call from a Gentleman who had quite a thick British accent, but who was very polite, and who identified himself as the Royal Minister of Transportation for the Queen of England.


Having some doubts, and knowing the odds of someone from The Royal Family calling me for technical advice, was a million to one; I had to inquire further. To be sure, I politely asked the Gentleman to fax me something on Royal Stationery to confirm his identity. I was sure this would take care of any pranksters which in my mind, I knew this had to be one.


A few minutes later the fax machine came to life and I discovered the Gentleman on the telephone was indeed who he said he was, much to my embarrassment.


I immediately called him back and explained why I was a little doubtful someone from Royal family would be calling a small company in Kansas for technical advice. He understood then politely went on to explain how the Royal Family had requested that he try to locate one of the original cars used during the 1951 Royal Tour, for use in the upcoming Pan American Games opening ceremony.


He had located the original 1951 series 62 Cadillac and knew it was being restored. That problem was solved. The other concern was the reliability of a 48 year-old car in modern times. Modern security issues would require periods of up to two hours idle time in addition to the slow parade time.


That would increase the odds of a mechanical failure during the opening ceremony. His question to me was simple. Could I help make the Cadillac more reliable, to insure no mechanical failures would occur, while the car was being, employed by the Royal Family? This was a challenge indeed, one I decided to accept.


How He Found Fifth Avenue

How They Found Fifth AvenueIt so happened that the 1998 Great Race (a rally race  in which pre 1945 cars are driven 4500 miles across the United States in just 14 days) finish line was located in Canada in honor of Canada's Centennial. During a tour of the Great Race event, the RMT noticed a gold colored label under the hood of one of the antique cars.


He wrote down the name and telephone number of the company, then inquired among the Great Race entrants about the reliability of the cars and the company. With positive comments concerning both, that is how I got the call from the Royal family.


Electrical Cooling SystemI designed an electrical cooling and fuel system upgrade for the Cadillac much like I do for a typical car entered in the Great Race. I was extra careful during the preparation, and extra nervous when I watched the opening ceremony on television. Everything worked perfectly.


Working For the Royal Family

I also learned what an honor it is for a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to be selected for a duty assignment with the Royal Family. To even be considered for an assignment involves an in depth service record review, along with a number of formal interviews. To be asked to serve the royal family is a career honor. To be asked to serve, as a chauffeur to the royal family (as in the opening ceremony event) is a career top honor. To me...being asked to help the Royal Family was a top honor for me as well.


The Video

Royal Caddy VideoThe video I received is over three hours long and shows the complete royal tour in 1951 including a brief stopover in New York City. The car is also shown during the motorcade route with the unique bubble top in place.


The video also includes the Cadillac being loaded in the airplane for transport, along with a fleet of Harley Davidson motorcade motorcycles, (which were ridden up a steep side ramp directly into the airplane by their riders) who came directly from the parade route.


The second part of the video shows the opening ceremony of the 1999 Pan American games and the car delivering the Royal Family to the red carpet where they exit the car and are escorted to their box seating.


The 1999 Pan American games were sponsored by Ford of Canada who had a representative of each milestone car on display in the infield. Ford offered the services of a restored Lincoln but the offer was politely declined. The Cadillac stood proudly on display in the infield, having achieved fame and glory for the second time in its 48-year life.



Epilogue - Letter From Stan Lamont

August 4/99


Stan Lamont and His 1951 Cadillac Royal Tour ConvertibleRandy,
Now that the Pan Am games are drawing to a close I have managed to find some time to gather up some information surrounding the 51 Cadillac's role in the opening ceremonies, and as promised I am sending you a video. The video starts with the original 1951 Royal visit in which my car carried Queen Elizabeth on the tour throughout the providences of Canada, and including the car's role in the opening ceremonies of the original 1951 Pan American Games.


Following that is a video of the car during the opening ceremony of the current Pan American Games. All are images captured by the Royal Photographer, copyright to the Royal Family, and are not for public viewing. Believe it or not, we had to go through three days of rehearsals. The temperature all three days was in the 90's with high humidity with no breeze. You can imagine the stress put on the car idling for long periods of time, virtually crawling for the other.


Randy's Six Volt AlternatorYour 6-Volt Alternator and electric radiator cooling fan and electric fuel pump was a wise alternator decision. All worked well and kept the car rolling without incident. The cars participation was very brief but obviously very significant. Had anything malfunctioned at the wrong time you can imagine how embarrassing that would have been!


My wife and I attended the opening ceremony, and it was a fantastic show, very classy, the 51 Cadillac set the stage. I was very proud to be a part of something as significant as this. It was very pleasant dealing with you and your Company. I appreciate you sharing your expertise and I have the highest regard for you and your products. I cannot Thank you enough.


Best Regards,
Stan Lamont