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Churchill Style

The Art of Being Winston Churchill: Automobiles


In November 1920, Winston Churchill engaged his literary agent Curtis Brown to negotiate the sale of his First World War memoirs, which were subsequently published under the title The World Crisis. Curtis Brown soon secured a £9,000 cash advance from the publisher Thornton Butterworth for the British rights and a £5,000 advance from Charles Scribner in the United States. With the first advance payment from Scibner, Churchill bought a new Rolls-Royce Barker cabriolet for £2,250.

Churchill’s daughter Sarah later remembered her father driving the three eldest children in his Rolls-Royce from their house in Sussex Square to look at a country estate called Chartwell so they could tell him what they thought of the place—though he had, in fact, already secretly bought it. For their journey home, Churchill could not get the Rolls to start and enlisted help from “an amazing number of people,” who pushed the car for almost a quarter mile up a slight incline to send it back down kick-started, when it was noticed that Churchill had, in fact, forgotten to turn on the ignition and unlock the brake.

Barry Singer is the author of Churchill Style (Abrams Image, 2012) and the proprietor of Chartwell Booksellers in New York City.

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