From Somerset and All the Maughams by Robin Maugham (Heineman, 1965), we learn that Somerset and his wife Beldy acquired a Gardner-Serpollet steam car, which they both drove. There is a rather muddled reference to the Paris-Madrid race, which is confused with the Paris-Marseilles road over which they “raced” in their steamer. Apparently Leon Serpollet had employed Charles Maugham as his solicitor.
Then from The Whims of Fortune, The Memoirs of Guy de Rothschild (Random House, 1985), we discover that Edward de Rothschild used to drive an electric car in Paris until the 1930s, and that Guy de Rothschild’s first car was a present from his father in 1919, when he was 20 years old. He soon perceived that American automobiles were superior to most French ones, and the first he owned was a Chrysler two-seater.
The book captures the atmosphere of living in pre-war France among the rich playboys, and allows the reader to relive that long-gone era. The author was a cousin of Bugatti racing driver Philippe de Rothschild. WB