Having written about cars and Winston Churchill for fifty years, I finally produced a piece on them both. From exotica like Mors, Napier and Rolls-Royce to more prosaic makes like Austin, Humber and Wolseley, the story was three decades in coming. But I am satisfied that it is now complete.
Excerpt only. For footnotes, illustrations and a roster of cars, see The Automobile, August 2016.
Mors the Pity
Always fascinated by new technology, Winston Churchill welcomed the motorcar, buying his first in 1901 at the age of twenty-six. It was French Mors—one of only two non-British cars Churchill would ever own—and a disappointment.…
MODBURY, DEVON, JANUARY 1ST— The Daily Mail reports restoration of a 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost “once used by Sir Winston Churchill” by Devon restorer Charlie Tope: “The vintage motor is said to have served the former British Prime Minister when he used it to give driving lessons to the first female Member of Parliament, Lady Astor, on a Kent estate.” Really.
Churchill, a notoriously impatient and scary driver, mainly stopped driving himself in the 1920s, when he was last seen navigating London streets in a lowly Wolseley.
The idea of Churchill in this big Rolls, teaching technique to Nancy Astor (with whom he barely shared a civil word), strains the imagination, but conjures amusing images.…