Cars in books, July 1975

Not a great deal this time, except that from “Laughter at the Door—A Continued Autobiography” by Geoffrey Trease (Macmillan, 1974) we learn that smart De Sotos gave an air of opulence to the tall, pastel-tinted flats of Marine Avenue, Bombay, in 1945. The left-wing author declares that he has neither possessed nor desired a car and cannot drive one, so it is scarcely a surprise that he does not name by make the 1930s car still being regularly used in 1954 by a Malvern resident, the mother of a BBC producer, who is said to have driven it with a certain 1930s’ insouciance. If this should catch his eye, maybe we will be told.

Last month I referred to “G. K. Chesterton” by Dudley Barker (Constable, 1973), and queried the kind of Rover in which the famous author was taken for Continental holidays by his Secretary, Miss Dorothy Collins, because in the year named, 1926, there would have been a choice only of the little Rover Eight, unless Miss Collins had used a pre-war model or the rather experimental 14/45. She has kindly made matters plain in the following explanation, which should be of interest to Rover enthusiasts :

“In answer to your letter, I am afraid Mr. Barker has got his facts wrong. I was not with Mr. and Mrs. Chesterton until November 1926 and I did not take them abroad in my Rover until 1935, when we went to France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland ; and again in 1936 just before Mr. Chesterton died, when we went to France.

“I had my first Rover in 1926, which was an open air-cooled two-seater. In 1930 I had a Rover 10. In 1934 I had a Rover 12, and in this car we went abroad in 1935 and again in 1936. In 1938 I had another Rover 10 and now I have a Rover 2000. I have had marvellous service from these cars and have been on the Continent with them constantly, and have never been let down on the road.

“The Rover 12 was rather small for G.K.C., but he liked simple things and loved coming abroad in my car, although they had a large Studebaker of their own. He much preferred me to drive them in my car than to come away with a large car and a chauffeur.” DOROTHY E. COLLINS