Book review

The Zborowski Inheritance
by David Paine

David says he wrote this history of the Zborowski family, from Poland in 1638 to England in the 1920s, back in the 1960s; he also had an article in Lord Montagu’s much-missed Veteran & Vintage magazine in 1969. This new book goes into the family in great detail, a valuable addition to this fascinating story. The motor racing of Elliot and his son Louis Vorow Zborowski, both killed racing their Mercedes, in 1903 and 1924, is covered, especially the Chitty-Bang-Bangs. When I was writing my Brooklands book Clive Gallop lent me Lou Z’s albums, from which I was able to publish pictures of the Chitty cars. Seven of those appear here, not so well reproduced but excusable at the book’s modest price.

This absorbing account of the wealth and style of days long gone is altogether a mammoth achievement. There is little to fault, but David says that after a Chitty had been racing, Lou’s friends would gather in the pits to gossip, but no pits were involved – they would have been in the Paddock and Clubhouse. He ventures to tell how the Chittys got their name, but omits the full, humorous story. After Clive Windsor Richards bought and drove the ex-Zborowski Mercedes on the road he sold it to Viscount Carlow who arrived by train dressed as if for a City board meeting, got in and drove off without any tuition. The car was never heard of again, despite enquiries. We are told it was broken up, but he omits to tell us by whom and when. But Chitty I was not broken up at Brooklands…

However, these are insignificant items in a very thorough book, listing how Martin Zborowski’s estate was worth $40m in 1878, the varied domestic affairs in the family, the light railway associations , and of course the motor racing. A great undertaking, which in paperback is wonderful value.
Published by Victoire Press Ltd, 1 Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge CB23 8SQ.
ISBN 976 095590456 4 6. Price: £8.99