Cars in books, July 1963

Commercial vehicles are encountered all too infrequently in novels and non-fictional works, so I was interested to read of a highly-adventurous journey undertaken by Rupert Croft-Cooke and two gypsies through Europe three years before the Second World War, in a 20-h.p. Morris-Commercial 14-seater ‘bus of, as far as I can ascertain, 1931 vintage. It had already done six years’ hard service on Welsh roads before the author purchased it but it performed admirably, although the habit its owners had of driving it about Europe in winter with the coal stove banked up and the chimney smoking rather shatters me. However, the only fire recorded, which nearly put paid to the expedition in Cologne, arose from other causes.

The old Morris-Commercial, which is seen in one illustration, managed the difficult ascent to Poysdorf in a snowstorm and the long winter journey to Budapest. It came home via the Mediterranean and through France, on this voyage to try to discover the man-in-Europe-street and question him about the coming political storm—which is interesting reading in 1963, with that bit of trouble behind us!

You can read about it in “The Man In Europe Street,” by Rupert Croft-Cooke (Rich & Cowan, 1938), if you can find a copy, or your library can get one for you.—W. B.