Cars in Books, June 1972
From “Master of Lancut—The Memoirs of Count Alfred Potocki” (W. H. Allen, 1959), which tells of the remarkable estate of Lancut in Poland, which fell during the Second World War first to the Germans, then to the Russians, we learn that, in 1920, the Count, who loved England and had been at Oxford, “ordered a Rolls-Royce” while on a visit to London. In 1921, on another visit to England, he “bought another Rolls-Royce” and by 1923, after he had sold the Avenue Friedland palace to the Chamber of Commerce for 11,400,000 gold francs (in Paris) Count Potocki earmarked this sizeable fortune “for the purchase of a Paris home for my mother, and for two Rolls-Royce motor cars for myself”. As, later in his book, he refers to once buying three Rolls-Royces at one time, there could well be seven Silver Ghosts somewhere in Poland to this day. One of them was apparently used for a tour in 1923 of Belgium and Holland.
This sad but very impressive names-dropping account of a never-to-be-repeated era of history, centred around the 40,000-acre Lancut estate, refers to some pre-war aeroplane flights from Croydon and Heston and in Poland, etc., and to the Ford bought in 1924 for a safari to the Sudan and taken aboard the chartered boat Gordon Pasha—incidentally, the animals slaughtered by gun-fire is sickening but I note that two human servants perished with them . . . There is a picture of an early car at Lancut, almost certainly 4. Sixty Mercedes of circa. 1903, but no reference to it in the text.
This is another author, incidentally, who refers to electric cars being used in America before the First World War, writing of “The motor cars and electric automobiles driven by women” which he saw in Chicago in 1910, when on a world tour. — W. B.