I refer to your article “Cars in Books” published in the March issue of this year, and posing the question as to what car H. V. Morton was driving in 1931 when writing “In Search of Wales”.
As I remember seeing this gentleman years ago when shopping in Somerset West in the Cape Province, I thought I would put the question to him over the telephone 1,000 miles away. I am pleased to report that Mr. Morton is still very much alive and was most helpful. He told me that round about that time he was driving “either an old Standard tourer or an old Austin tourer —but I do know that one was called ‘The Witch’ and the other ‘The Bitch’ “. Was the latter the car you mention that broke a back spring on the road from Aberystwyth to the Elan Valley, I wonder?
Mr. Morton went on to say that “however, the car I remember well, which was used when I wrote ‘In Search of England’ was a Morris Cowley with flapping celluloid windscreens and bits and pieces on it to delight the modern collector. This car had the unfortunate habit of stopping at the bottom of hills and had to be wound-up on occasions”.
I asked Mr. Morton what car he drives now and he promptly answered “a Jaguar”, but was uncertain of the model. However, after prompting from his son I was told it is a 420.
It may be of interest to some readers that whilst living in the same area as Mr. Morton does now, I drove and competed in a 1939 2.1/2-litre SS 100, which the English factory informed me was the very last one off the production line. The last time I saw this car, which I sold in 1960 for £250, it was a sorry sight languishing in a barn in Somerset West after receiving heavy punishment on the roads (?) of S.W. Africa. I also owned a 1917 Buick tourer, complete with wooden artillery wheels and self starter— in immaculate condition, purchased in 1962 for £450 on the condition that when I sold it, which I regrettably had to do later on, it was sold for the same price. I wonder if the present owner will do the same!
Durban Brian R. Willmort
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