Cars in books, September 1991

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Some recent substantial reading was provided by the Sir Winston Churchill memoirs and biographies, from which a few motoring items emerge. For instance, in The Caged Lion by William Manchester (Penguin, 1988) it is said that Sir Winston despised cars and that when driving himself he would take to the sidewalk when traffic impeded him; from which I correctly deduced that the author of this formidable book, covering the period 1932-1940 of Churchill’s life, is an American. (But certainly Churchill could drive; I recall a photograph of him leaving for the House of Commons in 1924 at the wheel of an ohc Wolseley Ten two-seater). It was good to find this conscientious biographer reporting on Churchill’s 1932 35/120 hp Daimler landaulette, which Manchester thought was an intrusion at Chartwell, however.

In another book about Churchill, by his Scotland Yard protector at a later period, it was interesting to learn that police in the French Security division used Facel Vegas. — WB