Men and their cars. Fetish object? idolatry? The freedom machine? Below: Colonel T.E. Lawrence at the wheel of an armored Rolls-Royce in 1918. He later wrote:”A Rolls in the desert was above rubies.”
(see link at end)…He would eventually command a unit of nine armored Rolls-Royces, which he touted in Revolt in the Desert as “that most involved and intricate weapon.” In a vivid account from that book, Lawrence described using the cars on a one-day mission to blow up bridges, rip up miles of track, capture a Turkish fort and liberate 200 rifles and 80,000 rounds of ammunition.
Harold Orlans, in his book T.E. Lawrence: Biography of a Broken Hero, reports that in October 1918 an exhausted Lawrence entered Damascus in the passenger seat of “a desert-dirtied Rolls.” The war was over, but Lawrence’s military escapades were not. He enlisted in the British Tank Corps under the name Thomas Edward Shaw and subsequently scored 93 percent on the Rolls-Royce armored car course, the “highest mark ever given.”
When queried by the journalist Lowell Thomas after the war as to what he might most value, Lawrence replied, “Perhaps it is childish, but I should like my own Rolls-Royce car with enough tires and petrol to last me all my life.”
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