Style and Substance: the glamour of 1930’s motorcars

For the rich in Britain between the wars, having the glamour of a 1930’s motorcar to match your lifestyle was everything. The latest model demonstrated you had money to spare, good taste, and time on your hands to drive along the Italian Rivera or whizz around Brooklands Racetrack. This was before the Second World War led to strict petrol rationing in Britain, and garage mechanics and chauffeurs had been conscripted. The working class struggling to recover from The Great War would never have seen such magnificent vehicles in real life but could dream about them from their collection of Player’s cigarette cards. I have acquired an almost complete set of the Motor Car series from 1937 and they are joyous to look at, for their art as well as the glorious sweeping lines. They make me think of Cary Grant (who was my model for Braxton Clarke in the May Keaps Series) and another hero of mine, Fred Astaire. You can see some of my other inspirations here. Enjoy the glamour but if you’re tempted to think luxury came cheap back then you’d do well to bear in mind the annual wage for a skilled British worker in 1935 was £150. It’s all relative.