Cars in books, August 1999

I read Emma Tennant’s memoir Strangers thinking it might include something on David Tennant’s Beardmore and a racing `Sascha’ Austro-Daimler, or the ownership of Leyland Eights. Not so, and as the book, a good recall of life in England before and after WWI blends fact and fiction, one cannot be sure about the cars it does refer to.

Lord Glenconner’s new Lanchester which arrived in 1912 is there, as is “the old Wolseley” in which David Tennant left the family’s Scottish mansion when WWII began, and an Hispano-Suiza which David Tennant drove, as did his sister Clare at “breakneck speed”.

But the car which Clare drove so fast it went off the road and nearly made her late fir Christopher Tennant’s wedding to Pamela Paget in Wells Cathedral is described as a “Hawk-Ellis”. There is mention of Wansfold Manor, the Tennants’ house near Salisbury… where I think the Leyland Eights were garaged, and before that David’s Alvis “that could reach Salisbury in 15 minutes,” although a carriage was still in use for local journeys as the groom could not cope with a car.