It was a shock to every follower of motor-racing in this country to learn that, Peter Monkhouse had died of head injuries received when the Healey in which he was riding crashed during the Mille Miglia.
Peter loved motor cars almost all his life, certainly he was ardently keen on racing while he was still at Cambridge. He had a decided leaning for the technical aspect and his position as Director of the Monaco Garage at Watford, that well-conducted specialist concern, suited him particularly well. While there he drove a wide variety of cars and was associated intimately with an even wider selection. I always enjoyed visiting Monaco and being shown by Monkhouse what they had in hand there. He was good company, with decided opinions, a never-far-absent sense of humour, and a contempt for the conventional, the latter evidenced by his taste in shirts and disregard of ties ! Indeed, he was a picturesque figure amongst modern drivers and somehow the Type 51 Bugatti he raced seemed particularly suited to his temperament. He was a forceful, yet restrained driver, as I know from fast runs beside him on the road in that Bugatti, the ” T.T. Replica” T-type M.G. he was developing when war broke out, and other cars.
Monkhouse left Monaco to apply himself to the development of a light aeroplane engine. He was a very conscientious President of the Brighton and Hove M.C., travelling by train from London when there was no “basic” petrol so as not to miss any of their committee meetings.
Peter’s resolve to pursue relentlessly the course his own judgment told him to be correct was reflected in his engagement to the girl who became his first wife—she was a skilled competition driver of M.G.s—without his parents’ knowledge, the party at which he dramatically revealed his engagement to them, and the dissolution of the marriage in later years. In some ways, perhaps, Monkhouse was the boy never quite grown to manhood, like Zborowski and others before him, and he was the more likeable for that. Intolerant of petty regulations and petty actions, the present must have proved particularly irksome to him. He sought solace in his model railways, the company of the pretty girl who was his second wife, and more motor-racing. That he was killed while riding as a passenger is sad indeed ; but there is the consolation that Peter Monkhouse died in the role he loved without any reflection being cast on his skill as a racing-driver.—W. B.