David Strathcarron

Lord Strathcarron

David William Anthony Blythe Macpherson was born on 23rd January 1924. He became Lord Strathcarron of Banchor when his father, Ian, a minister in Lloyd George's cabinet, died in 1936. David's years at Eton were spent drawing cars and aeroplanes rather than learning but eventually went up to Jesus College, Cambridge. He learnt to drive on his mother's 1932 Essex Terraplane, and for his 16th birthday persuaded her to buy him a three-wheeled Morgan Super Sports for £27 10s.

Lord Strathcarron volunteered for the RAF as soon as he was old enough. In 1941 he had the first of several motorcycle accidents, this one serious enough to delay his flying training until 1942. By 1943 he was piloting Coastal Command Wellingtons on sea reconnaissance and search-and-rescue missions during the Battle of the Atlantic. After the war he flew long delivery missions around the Commonwealth, and was demobbed in 1947.

Lord Strathcarron was one of the pioneers of 500cc racing and attended the Towcester event in in October 1947. He and the other enthusiasts regrouped in Lord Hesketh's grounds after they were thrown out of the Silverstone airfield where they had originally intended to compete. He was employed as a "works" driver for Marwyn on weekly wage of £9 for 1948 and 1949 in spite of being thrown from the car during a roll. He finished fourth at Luton Hoo in March '48, sixth at Prescott, fourth at Stanmer Park in June, second in the handicap race at Brough and third in the Brighton Speed Trials in September and fourth at Shelsley in the same month. All respectable results considering the limited handling capabilities of the Marwyn.

David at Towcester in October '47, Charlie Cooper's truck makes a viewing platform.

In 1954 he was appointed motoring correspondent for The Field, having discovered that, as a journalist, he could indulge his passion more easily. He published Motoring For Pleasure in 1963, in which he described his experiences in racing and rallies in Britain and on the Continent and continued to write until his death. He was actively involved in the Guild of Motoring Writers and the British Racing Drivers' Club. In 1960 he founded Strathcarron and Co, supplying equipment to the automotive industry.

Lord Strathcarron in the Marwyn at Silverstone for the Grand Prix, 2nd October 1948 . Photo courtesy John Pearson

Strathcarron  owned and raced, a series of Bentleys, Alfa Romeos, Rileys and Austin Healeys, amongst others. He owned a collection of Jensens, one of every model made. He continued to race modern and vintage sports cars up to 2000, when he came first and recorded the fastest lap in the annual Lords versus Commons race at Brands Hatch.

With his wife riding pillion, Strathcarron would holiday in Europe on a his motorcycle, followed by his butler in a three-wheeler which also containing a parrot in its cage. A problem with a tendon gave him a "claw hand", making it difficult to grip the handlebars, Strathcarron had minor corrective surgery so that he could continue to ride a solo motorbike in comparative comfort; the change, he noted however, had made it "a bit of a bugger getting out of the bath". Strathcarron was a popular and accomplished after-dinner speaker with a treasury of anecdotes and witticisms, one of which was that he was unable to believe in re-incarnation because it would be unfair to expect to come back again as a peer of the realm.

Lord Strathcarron died in August  2006, seven weeks after suffering his last motorcycling accident when he was in collision with a dustcart.

He is survived by his fourth wife and two sons by his second wife.