Boris Johnson’s car history from ‘rubbish dump’ Toyota to Tesla Roadster
PRIME Minister Boris Johnson is a car enthusiast – he’s been an automotive journalist and he’s appeared on Top Gear twice.
But you wouldn’t know that from the cars he’s been known to drive and own.
While he’s enjoyed access to all sorts of expensive vehicles, his own fleet has often been a lot more modest.
Armoured government cars
The Prime Minister’s official car – or the Prime Ministerial Car – is actually a fleet of armour-plated Jaguar XJ ‘Sentinel’ saloons.
They’re designed to withstand explosives and gunfire, as are the Range Rover ‘Sentinel’ models that the Prime Minister also has access to, which are built to endure high-velocity rifle fire and massive explosions.
“Boris prefers the much roomier Range Rover Sentinel, and they had a load of new ones delivered last year so that’s what he swooshes around in nowadays,” said a Westminster source.
“XJ Sentinels and a couple of BMW 7 Series are still used for other protected persons and agency heads.”
“Government fleet cars now tend to be Jaguar I-Paces, standard (non-armoured) Jaguar XJs, some newer Jaguar XFs, Ford Mondeo Hybrids and a couple of hybrid Range Rovers.”
“And some Honda CRVs that still kick about.”
Boris Johnson will never have to drive his own car again, as he’ll receive protection for life as part of the prime minister’s package.
But the cars that Boris Johnson has chosen to drive in his own time are a lot less impressive than what he’s become used to as PM.
One of Boris Johnson’s most famous cars is his Toyota Previa – which The Sun revealed he kept in a messy state.
His 1995 Previa would be worth less than £1,000, even if it was in good condition with low mileage.
And with a 2.4-litre petrol engine, the Previa isn’t the most efficient or environmentally-friendly vehicle.
It would incur steep charges if it was used within London’s ULEZ.
This Toyota was considered quite slow, even at the time – that big engine produces just 135 horsepower, which isn’t much for a fully-laden minivan.
The Citroen AX is a sharp little French supermini that was produced between 1986 and 1998.
Its distinctive, angular design, nippy handling and efficient engines made it a popular choice and over two million were sold.
It was a peculiar car for a minister to own, though, and it stood out when parked outside the Foreign Secretary’s official residence.
If it was still working, the Prime Minister’s old Citroen would be worth just a few hundred quid.
Back when he was Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was lent a Nissan Leaf for a month as part of the city’s electric car scheme.
The Nissan Leaf was arguably the first mainstream electric car, and with a range of over 100 miles – which was impressive at the time – was usable for many London families.
Speaking at the time, Boris Johnson said: “Zero-emission electric cars are perfect for city driving, not only delivering cheaper day-to-day running costs for their owners, but also helping to bear down on pollution levels.”
Built at the Lotus factory in Norfolk, Tesla’s roadster was one of the earliest desirable electric cars.
And Boris Johnson – who has worked as a car journalist – was among the first to drive the car when it was new, at a climate change event in 2009.
While his high-profile endorsement was obviously valued by the then-fledgling brand, it’s not what the Tesla Roadster is most famous for.
In 2018 Elon Musk’s personal Roadster was blasted into space as a dummy payload for the Falcon Heavy rocket project.