On This and That

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Sir,

I am prompted to write to you enclosing the picture of the 38/250 Mercedes Benz. Like your good self in a similar car, I first travelled at 100mph in this car belonging to my father. The date would be 1937, I approaching my early teens. The place was the A303 crossing Salisbury Plain very early a m but daylight. The 38/250 once belonged to Amy Mollison, so I was told. Whilst in her ownership, but not in her charge, was it not involved in an accident in which a pedestrian was fatally injured? The picture shows the car beside The Serpentine. I remember my father telling me he preferred the Mercedes to a 6 1/2-litre Bentley for the way it slowed and felt better braked on a trailing throttle.

There were two other Bentleys, the first of which, looking very early and basic, is pictured in Switzerland, the other being a short-chassis red label Speed Model, black fabric body and red wheels. I seem to remember it had a brass plated radiator and outside handbrake. I used to be fetched home from school in this car.

There were other cars of course, including Renault (owned about 1930, alligator bonnet); Delage (great over-bodied carriage, suffered big-end failure Telegraph Hill 1931); a 509 Fiat tourer with manually-operated leather-bladed to-and-fro windscreen wiper; a Humber Super Snipe bought in a great hurry in Great Portland St — such a handsome car in black and ivory, red leather interior, picnic tables, side-mounted spare, and rubber beak to the mascot. This car superceded the Mercedes and took us on a six-week motoring holiday as far as Budapest and return through Switzerland. It was a big disappointment to my father beginning with having to be towed from the quayside at Ostend on the way out. It was rated, I believe, at 24hp but according to my father it used hardly less petrol than the Mercedes.

Nicholas Jenny,
Sidmouth, Devon.