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January 2021 marks the publication of the fourth volume in the "Lanchester Legacy" series of motoring histories. The MSMT are delighted to have supported the publication of Volume IV, having similarly supported the publication of Volume I (1895-1931) in 1995. Volume II (1931-1956) was published in 2016 and Volume III (A Celebration of Genius - Frederick Lanchester edited by John Fletcher) in 1996. An A4 volume to match the previous volumes, this book is in landscape format in order to show at best enlargement numerous photographs from every period and aspect of the Lanchester story.
This pictorial journey begins with the first drive on public roads of the Lanchester 5hp in December 1895 and ends poignantly with the disappointing demise of the optimistically-named but underwhelming Lanchester Sprite in 1956. The photographs that portray this amazing story have been lovingly restored using modern techniques to overcome often decades of poor storage and neglect. Some are so rare that very few people will actually have seen them previously. Furthermore, the black & white glass-plate and photographic images that the author has collected over 55 years of Lanchester research, have painstakingly been colour-tinted using the very-latest technology to dramatically bring the story to life, in a similar manner to that used on archive television productions. Due to the great cost of this work on each individual image it is believed that no other motoring book has so far received this meticulous attention.
The Lanchester family, ex-employees and other Lanchester enthusiasts have all contributed photographic material of all kinds, some in the form of glass-plate negatives. There are therefore unique surprises and treasures to be found on almost every page, including some candid shots of the Royal Family when Queen Elizabeth II was a young child, as her Father, King George VI, was a Lanchester devotee. In 1925, when Duke of York, the future King purchased and drove a 40HP Lanchester which was also driven by his wife. Such was his enthusiasm for the marque that between 1936 and 1939, BSA who already owned Daimler, sold the Duke four Daimler straight-eight-engined cars, limousines and laundaulettes, with Lanchester grilles and badges, a feature reserved for very special customers.
The influence of both world wars on the Lanchester designs – and the influence of the Lanchester brothers on the conduct of the wars – can be inferred from many evocative images in Britain and abroad. The Lanchester racing cars reveal the exciting atmosphere created at Brooklands, while enchanting Art Deco advertisements appear dotted throughout the chapters.
But there is more, much more, to this book than a collection of these evocative images. Fred Lanchester is arguably Britain’s own Leonardo da Vinci and the evidence for such an accolade is impressively assembled, not just with respect to his automobile designs but also his ground-breaking yet barely-recognised contribution to aeronautics. Few people would be aware, for example, of the striking resemblance of a modern Reaper drone to Fred’s design for an ‘Aerial Torpedo’ as far back as 1897, or of his influence on the iconic wing-shape of the Spitfire and indeed the upturned wingtips of every modern commercial airplane in use today. He was featured in David Jason's Great British Inventions documentary series and the excerpt can be viewed here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/nUFowiv3Jt1fhodq5 . Sir David Jason has kindly written the foreword to this volume.
The Trail of Discovery section highlights the many features remaining worldwide from the days of the Lanchester brothers, allowing the reader further exploration.
Lanchester Legacy Volume IV can be obtained from the author, price £75 by clicking on the following link: Lanchesters - All Things Lanchester | Cars, Aviation, Boats, Warfare