'Our Nige' drives a 1928 Lanchester through his hometown

| 17 Aug 2011

Ex-Formula 1 World Champion and local hero Nigel Mansell was the star attraction when he drove a 1928 21hp six-cylinder Lanchester through the centre of Birmingham on 14 August.

Mansell was in his native city to be inducted into its Walk of Stars, which is given to famous sons and daughters of Britain's second city. After answering questions and doing a walkabout among an enthusiastic crowd, he spent time with a group of Lanchester owners who have recently established a registered Trust for the great marque.

The Trust aims to bring wider recognition to the achievements of Dr Frederick Lanchester, the pioneering Edwardian inventor and engineer whose ideas contributed so much to the British motor industry and other fields of engineering. It aims to establish an education programme to encourage young engineers and commemorate Lanchester himself with an appropriate statue.

The car factory he established in Montgomery Street, the centre of Birmingham in 1900 – which still stands – built a reputation for innovative and superbly engineered cars, many of which were used by royalty between the wars.

Mansell rose to the challenge of driving the car with its 50-plus foot turning circle and crash gearbox down Broad Street, taking another local celebrity, Jasper Carrott, along for the ride.  The car is owned by Lanchester Registrar Chris Clarke, who took the passenger seat for once.

Clarke said: "It was good of Nigel to show such an interest in the cars, which are some of Birmingham's best industrial achievements, and it gave us a great boost to our efforts to raise the profile of this most important British engineer."

To contribute to the Lanchester Trust please contact the trustees Email:  lanchestertrust@googlemail.com

Photos by Barry Halton