There are some references to cars in the new Mark Amory book Lord Berners — The Last Eccentric (Chatto & Windus, 1998, ISBN 1-85619-234-2) which introduces the reader not only to his Lordship’s eccentric life but to many of the personalities of the age in which he lived. Of the cars, we learn that, when he was acting private secretary to the Ambassador in Rome, Lord Berners decided that buying a car would be, in fact, cheaper than using trains and acquired a Fiat, followed by a Lancia described by its handsome chauffeur, William Crack, who drove Lord Berners before Stanley Hall was sold, who said that it had only two-wheel brakes and was bought for about £1500 in 1920. It could perhaps have been a Theta which at that time would have commanded a not dissimilar sum.
It was soon changed for a 40/50hp Rolls-Royce, which was re-bodied and driven from Paris to Rome, where it won a Concours d’Elegance; it had an Arnold Dolmetsch removable four-octave clavichord under the front seats, instead of the usual tools. The Concours prize was a gold medal; the chauffeur got a tiny blue rosette. When Mussolini came to power, the Rolls-Royce, of which there is a picture, showing it with coupe de ville body and wheel discs, was locked away. There is a reference to Peter Watson giving Robert Heber Percy an Alvis in 1933 and how Heber Percy drove a Rover that sounded like an aeroplane very fast to catch a train at Didcot. This book so well portrays life of the period and the famous and remarkable characters associated with it, that this is worthwhile reading for students of those pre-war days.