Quite Sherlock Holmes’ like feat of tracing a hit and run car after it had caused a fatal accident involving a horse-vehicle at the corner of Park Avenue and 69th Street, New York, in 1914 is described in “Famous Detective Feats” by Leonard Gribble (Arthur Barker, 1971). With only very slender clues to work from, the NY Police Department were soon looking for a 1909 Model-18 Packard. Which reminds me to look out for a new book about unsolved crimes which is to look again at that unsolved murder involving a Hudson Six taxi and its dead girl driver.
It is interesting that John Betjeman, who has referred to cars as diverse as Bugatti and pre-1914 Rover Landaulette in his poems, wrote in “Ghastly Good Taste”, which was published originally in 1933 by Chapman & Hall, that “No other country than our own can make such beautiful motor-cars, railway locomotives, buses or trams”. Betjeman cannot have liked the motor-car very much and I often wonder what he used for travelling about this changing land looking at old churches and other buildings ? Can anyone enlighten us? — W.B.