Here Comes the Bride – in a Purpose-Built Wedding Car
By Andy Bannister
Wedding transport is increasingly big business, with those taking part opting to arrive at the ceremony in anything from a horse and carriage to an array of vintage or modern vehicles. In the UK, white Rolls-Royce Silver Shadows or Daimler limousines are among the favourite choices as bridal transportation, although there is a creeping tendency to use those stretched Lincoln Town Cars.
One enterprising British company has spotted a gap in the more traditional end of the market and is now offering a vehicle offering the well-proven mechanicals of the London taxi with a bespoke body featuring styling cues from the late 1920s or early 1930s, aimed specifically at wedding hire operators.
Built by Regent Motor Company in St Helen’s, near Liverpool, the Regent is available as either a full convertible or as a landaulette, offering up to seven seats for those occasions when it’s not just the happy couple on board.
The Regent’s designers are themselves wedding specialists, and have used their expertise to create a vehicle with the required “eye appeal”, based on years of experience about what appeals to the wedding market.
In this niche the comfort of the car comes a definite second to making an entrance in style, although brides and grooms alike still want to feel confident enough their transport isn’t going to break down on its way to the altar.
The look of Regent is authentic enough from a distance to fool most observers into believing this is a well-preserved old vehicle, particularly when classic two-tone colours are used on the high quality plastic body.
Key features include front “suicide doors”, generous use of chrome, an upright grille, sturdy separate wings, big free-standing headlights and running boards, and a rear luggage box.
Personally, I think it looks best in its classic unadorned form, without some accessories like wire wheels and whitewalls. Like everything else in the wedding stakes, though, it’s all down to personal taste.
Inside, the spacious rear compartment offers everything the bride and groom need for their journey, with leather seats and custom fittings including folding picnic tables and a cocktail cabinet.
Fully-built up versions start at around £29,000 ($58,000) but an impecunious hire operator can build one himself in kit form from only £6,885 ($14,000) with the help of an FX4 taxi donor car.
Designing new vehicles which deliberately look old is a formula which has been trotted out by small manufacturers around the world from time to time over the years. Asquith’s various delivery vans are one obvious example of this, and a few years ago there was a choice of mightily expensive pastiche vehicles made by companies such as Panther, Excalibur and Zimmer.
Most of these cars have a great many drawbacks which limit their everyday use, but given the short distances most wedding vehicles travel, and its sturdy mechanical base, the Regent should have a reasonable chance of success in this most niche of markets.
Companies have been making hearses for life’s final journey for generations, so who can blame this manufacturer for wanting to offer couples the chance to start the sometimes rocky road to wedded bliss in style?
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