I was interested to read in “Vintage Postbag” in the Sept. issue of Motor Sport the letter from Mr. R. H. Stracey regarding the Arrol-Johnston Dogcart car in the Sudan, it certainly looks authentic enough from the Photograph, except for the disc wheels, probably fitted for extra strength in desert use.
It is stated that the car was the first in the Sudan, and it is highly probable that it was taken out there by Sir Francis Wingate, Governor-General and Sirdar of the Sudan 1899-1916. Sir Francis was a Scot, and in the early years of the century realised the possibilities of motor transport in the desert. In 1905 it was reported that he was experimenting with motor cars to this end, on Belhaven Sands near his home in Dunbar, East Lothian. In 1907 the Sirdar of the Sudan had a very large and special 38/45 h.p. Arrol-Johnston touring car specially built for use in the Sudan. This car was also fitted with disc wheels, and on the inside of the rear wheels were fitted spades to enable the car to extricate itself from soft sand in the desert, where—according to a contemporary report—it was designed to supersede the camel.
The Arrol-Johnston Dogcart was one of the most reliable motor vehicles of its day, many ended their active days in the service of hotels in the Scottish Highlands where their ever-lasting, go-anywhere, qualities were much appreciated.
Leith James N. Savage