Regardless of the stories and controversies, Rolls-Royce marches on with another launch

Regardless of the stories and controversies, Rolls-Royce marches on with another launch

Photo: Agência Brasil / Disclosure

Rolls-Royce of the Presidency of the Republic on display in Planalto

Twelve years, three months and 25 days later, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva once again mounted the presidential Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1952, in the inauguration ceremony of his third term as President of the Republic. The last meeting was September 7, 2010, in the second term of PT.

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As usual in inauguration ceremonies and at the celebration of Independence, the march was uncertain after the announcement of the current First Lady, Rosângela da Silva. “President Lula will be in an open car, as per the protocol, if the Rolls-Royce is in condition, because it seems that it was damaged in the last launch,” said Janja in a press conference, on the 8th, referring to it. the event of January 1, 2019, when the current former President Jair Bolsonaro came to power.

Last Friday (30), this column spoke to Eduardo Lambiasi, a British car expert who visited the president’s Rolls-Royce last July and confirmed that the car is “better than I thought”, with predictable weather marks. roof without old power.

What could break to stop him? I asked.

“I can’t imagine, in the car I saw, anything that prevented it from rolling. Maybe a mechanical problem, which depended on the import of some parts. But from what I saw, it has been very well maintained, it works perfectly”, said Lambiasi.

He and his wife, Vera, run R&E Restaurações, appointed in 2001 by the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso to provide a lift for Rolls-Royce, at the time with 27,000 kilometers per hour. “The mechanical part had gone very little, due to the quality it has. We only did basic repairs,” says Lambiasi.

That same Friday, I got confirmation of what Lambiasi had told me. “We inform you that the Rolls-Royce car, which is used in the swearing-in ceremony of the president, is in good working condition, a condition that still exists until now,” said an official statement from the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic.

Queen Elizabeth’s gift?

Controversies and stories have been accompanying the president Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, starting with the reason why he was brought to Brazil.

“The truth was being changed by several stories that were taking shape and replacing the real truth. The result of this process of collective distortion – intentional or not – made the public believe that the convertible car was a gift from Queen Elizabeth II to President Getúlio Vargas, in 1953 “, conclude José Vignoli and Sérgio Ribeiro, collectors and researchers who worked. research on the model.

After all, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on June 2, 1953. “This leads us to the conclusion that when she was crowned, the cars were already provided. It is worth noting that the President’s Office confirmed the order on February 1, 1952 and Rolls-Royce received it between February and April 1952 and finally began exporting cars to Brazil in early 1953. It is also worth noting that the princess would have no reason and, probably, no the ability to present two Rolls-Royce cars as a gift to the president of a country that even had serious problems related to the debt accumulated by the United Kingdom”, they reflect.

By far the most extensive and comprehensive study ever produced, the study included a visit to the car in the Palácio do Planalto garages, an analysis of photographic and newspaper archives, a visit to the Federal Revenue, consultations at the National Library, conversations with experts at Rolls. -Royce in England and interviews – one of them with Alzira Vargas do Amaral Peixoto, daughter of Getúlio Vargas.

“History of the Rolls-Royce of the Presidency of the Republic” shows that in 1951 – the year of the second term of Getúlio Vargas – Major Ene Garcez dos Reis, chief of staff of the Presidency of the Republic and responsible for the Presidential Transport Service. , he received orders from the Vargas himself to replace the two Cadillacs that served him.

The chosen ones – convertible and closed – were the Silver Wraith models, which Rolls-Royce launched in 1946 and could produce until 1958. They came with a 4,257 cm3 engine with six cylinders in line, a four-speed gearbox and 16. – inch wheels , but without power steering. Those destined for the Presidency produced the longest wheel, at 3,378 meters, adding up to 639 units manufactured.

Like many luxury brands at the time, Rolls-Royce sold only the chassis, which later received bodywork and bespoke interiors from body builders such as Brewster, Vanden Plas and Park Ward, among others – in this case, ” body” is from HJ Mulliner. .

And the Presidential car even has customizations to perform its service better: a platform on the rear bumper to support the weight of guards, flagpoles on the front fenders and a speedometer in the rear.

According to research by Vignoli and Ribeiro, a closed model cost £6,205 at the time, while an open limousine cost £7,949, a figure which includes chassis, bodywork, extras, fleet and insurance.

“To get a moral idea, at the price of something changing it will be possible to buy, at that time, in England, something like seven copies of the Jaguar XK 120”, they evaluate. Companhia Comercial de Motores e Veículos was responsible for imports, which at that time already represented other English brands here, such as MG, Morris-Oxford, Wolseley and Riley.

Another controversy surrounding the Rolls-Royce car is that the cars were billed and licensed in the name of President Getúlio Vargas, who intended to give them to the Presidency of the Republic when his term ended.

“At this time, the Chief of the Military Office, General Aguinaldo Caiado de Castro, decided that the vehicles should be listed in the Transport Service of the Office of the President of the Republic, as well as putting official license numbers and thus reducing, in transport agencies. , posters personal”, shows the observations of collectors.

The problem is that Vargas committed suicide on August 24, 1954.

“This is the beginning of another phase in the history of Rolls-Royce. The donation planned by the president was not successful and therefore the cars continued to belong to citizen Getúlio Vargas. After his death, his heirs asked the government to hand over the cars that belonged to them”, say Vignoli and Ribeiro.

The imbroglio was resolved only in June 1957, during the government of Juscelino Kubitschek, when an unopened copy (which today belongs to a collector) was presented to the Vargas family, instead of replacing the rest in the Presidential Transport Service.

On May 1, the presidential Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith will complete 70 years of service to Brazilian presidents – the first mission was in the Labor Day celebrations, in Volta Redonda (RJ) – with in its curriculum to drive. several foreign leaders, such as General Manoel Odria (President of Peru), King Baldwin of Belgium, General Charles de Gaulle (President of France) and Queen Elizabeth II herself.

For Vignoli, the Silver Wraith president still has a long way to go: “there is no retirement! We have this as one of the few traditions in Brazil. Long live it.”