Cars in Books, August 1972

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You might not expect to find motoring mentions in a railway book but in “I Tried To Run a Railway” by G. F. Fiennes, General Manager, Eastern Region, BR (Ian Allen, 1967) there is mention of an accident on his brother’s motorcycle—not that of Capt. Fiennes who raced a Bentley at Brooklands, but could he have been one of the same family ?—and the 1927 Morris Cowley the author ran in 1946, with “no starter, very little light, and a bulb horn which he kept in the pocket . . . she started always on the first pull. She was not a car to drive in fog”. But it was used to go to the scene of a fog-crash at Gidea Park. There is also a story of a crash between Fiennes’ black Ford Ten and another just like it, on the Cambridge-Dullingham road on glazed frost, the point being that when they got the other driver out, unhurt, he was a policeman who had borrowed his sergeant’s car—but it was put back on its wheels and off he went. The further point of this story is that petrol was said to be “pouring from the tank which in that model was in front of the windscreen” and the policeman emerged from the ditch smoking a cigarette. But recollection does not recall any Ford Ten with a scuttle tank—though if I am wrong no doubt Ford Pundits will correct me.

I cannot remember when I last went on a train but DSJ has been known to enthuse over the Inter-City expresses, so I think he would appreciate the picture of a Deltic locomotive “with 3,000 h.p. under the bonnet” and another of a 100 m.p.h. sign beside the G.W. mainline track. But if this book is evidence, railwaymen seem to have had to suffer rather sober cars, a Rover being mentioned in the text and an Austin Cambridge illustrated, both used by senior officials.

In “The Great Defenders” by Judge Gerald Sparrow (John Long, 1968) there is a reference to the Prince of Siam’s “comfortable, chaufeur-driven Daimler car” which he used circa 1930, a later sentence calling it “The Yellow Daimler . . .” This ties in with mention of the King of Thailand’s Daimler in “First Class Ticket” by H.R.H. Prince Chula of Thailand (Alvin Redman, 1958). — W. B.

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