During a recent visit to Seat’s plant in Martorell, King Felipe VI of Spain was taken by surprise by the automaker with an unexpected moment.
While he was given an insight into some of the company’s future models, the King was stunned to spot his first-ever car, a 1.5-liter metallic gold first-generation Ibiza among the other vehicles. The car was a gift from his father, the then King Juan Carlos, for his 18th birthday in 1986.
Obviously, King Felipe VI was thrilled to see his first car. “I imagine he recalled his first car, his student days, his 18 years…”, said Isidre López, head of Classic Cars at Seat, who managed the team that carried out the painstaking work of restoring the car.
It wasn’t an easy job, as the car had not been started up for more than 16 years, with the odometer reading 152,000 kilometers (94,448 miles). The most difficult part was getting the fuel feed and injection system up and running, since the car had not been on the road for many years.
Other work was also done on the integrated paintwork, upholstery, tyres and wheels, thus giving the car “an outstanding personality,” according to Seat. Along with the restoration work, the car has received some unique features, such as the seats, tailored to the height of Felipe VI.
But even when it was built in 1986, the Ibiza was not exactly stock. It had an injection engine and air conditioning, features that would only appear on series production cars two years later.
Surprisingly, the car will not be offered as a gift to the King. It will go into Seat’s Historical Collection which includes more than 250 classic cars.