Richard Twelvetrees, AMIMech.E., etc.
Capt. Richard Walter Rickard Twelvetrees, who died last year at the age of 96, was Editor of Motor Sport in the mid-vintage years from 1925 until October 1926, so that there are many photographs of him testing the sports cars of those times, wearing his fur-trimmed flying helmet — cars such as the 12/50 Super Sports Alvis, and the Frazer Nash, Salmson, Amilcar, Senechal, and other fast machinery of the time. He would compete in trials with the Salrnsons and in the long-distance MCC events in his hotted-up Bean Twelve and he lectured, and broadcast from 2LO about motoring. The Bean was equipped with a wireless receiver, working off a frame aerial, and was once turned out of an Enclosure at Ascot by the Clerk-of-the-Course in person, when officials thought the music from the loudspeaker unseemly!
In about 1927 Twelvetrees owned a polished-aluminium-bodied Anzani Frazer Nash, in which he took his family motoring in spite of its rather unprotective bodywork. It had two spare wheels mounted on the o/s. running board and I think he purchased it new — it is now owned by Bill May.
In doing those monthly road-tests Twelvetrees used Brooklands Track and the usual Surrey gradients, or he would try a car up the punishing freak Alms hill near Henley-on-Thames, etc. He knew most of the Brooklands drivers, as one picture of Parry Thonuis and George Duller clustered round a sports Mathis Six he was trying out testifies. Afterwards he became a noted commercial-vehicle writer, and instituted his own brand of testing such “heavies”. He was also a Citroën enthusiast and for some time edited the first of the Citroën CC magazines. He was a Great-Uncle of Dr. Brian Grey, present Secretary of the VSCC Light Car Section, whose 30/98 Vauxhall and Chummy Austin 7 Richard Twelvetrees would certainly have understood and appreciated. He must have been one of the last members of the circle of 19th century motorists. The end came peacefully, in hospital at Hastings, at that quite remarkable age, on December 31st last year. — W.B.