The Seat Ibiza that Juan Carlos gave to Felipe VI on his 18th birthday

January 30 is the King’s birthday. When he came of age, his father gave him a Seat Ibiza fit for a prince.

The King’s birthday is a date when monarchists transform. Over his 55 years, Felipe VI received all kinds of gifts, but perhaps the most memorable is the one his father gave him when the prince turned 18: a Seat Ibiza. Today the car is kept in the Seat collection in Martorell, Barcelona.

“It was a metallic fire color”, clarifies Isidre López, head of Historic Seats. It had an electronic injection engine like the SXi engines that later hit the range, just a few years before this engine went into series production.

the car of it king’s 18th birthday It also had many details that set it apart from the rest: widening of the rear wheel arches to enhance its sporty look, special spoilers, a different steering wheel…”

It had fog lights, an extra that had not yet been installed on the Ibiza, as well as Recaro seats, a brand of extraordinary prestige in the world of motorsport. “It was necessary to do a special job because Felipe VI is very tall, so a shorter bench was proposed to gain height and so that everything would fit inside the box of the Ibiza”, explains Isidre López. «Everything was done with a very solid technical justification in our center in Martorell. That is, when we mount a spoiler on a car it is not because it looks prettier, but also because it has a direct impact on aerodynamics. It is true that King Ibiza’s Birthday is a performance, but not a whimsical performance, on the contrary, it has an important technical basis.

The King’s 18th birthday car also had exclusive details that set it apart such as widening of the rear wheel arches, special spoilers, different steering wheel, fog lights…

To celebrate the King’s birthday on January 30, 1986, the delivery of the vehicle was organized in Campadró, circuit of driving courses. There, in addition to giving him the Seat Ibiza, he received a training course.

Where has the car been all this time?

The car was in his hands for a year and a half. Dele passed it on to a friend from his student circle. Later this boy was passed on to his sister and soon after it stopped being used. He remained parked in a parking lot for 16 years. «At Bancos Históricos we had the opportunity to recover the King’s 18th birthday car. It was a lot of fun and captivating to restore it. Imagine a gasoline car that has been sitting idle for 16 years. Also, during all this time it didn’t have a cover to protect it… We managed to do a very good job. We showed him later during an official visit that Felipe VI made to our facilities. He broke into a huge smile when he saw the car. “Can I come upstairs?” he asked. “Sure, it was yours,” we replied. We also gave him a snapshot of the time during the driving course. It was very exciting.

Everyone remembers the first car because many emotions and memories of youth are revived. Felipe VI too.


The King during a subsequent visit to the Seat facility

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