David Macpherson

23/1/1924 - 31/8/2006

Record updated

David Strathcarron was President of the Guild of Motoring Writers. He was a semi-professional racing driver, retained by Marwyn for their 500cc single seater before graduating to Alfa Romeos. He was an equally enthusiastic motorcyclist.

David Macpherson
David William Anthony Blyth Macpherson, Lord Strathcarron was the son of Ian Macpherson, a minister in Lloyd George's cabinet, and was elevated to the title aged 13, in 1937, after the death of his father, the first baron. He attended Eton and Jesus College, Cambridge.

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. His love of flying kept him piloting light aircraft around Europe until he failed his medical 20 years ago.

Strathcarron's passion for cars began as a teenager, and he was bought a Morgan Super Sports for his 16th birthday by his mother. After military service, he began motor racing and was a competitor with Stirling Moss in the pioneering days of 500cc racing. He owned - and raced - a collection of vintage fast cars, including Bentleys, Alfa Romeos, Austin Healeys and Jensens.

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.

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.

Obsessed with motorcycles, he had been chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Motorcycling Group. Typically, in 1985, he called for motorcyclists to be allowed to use bus lanes. He also campaigned for minimum speed limits. More successfully, he worked hard to create the basic training system for learner riders, which was introduced in December 1990.

He was still an accomplished racing driver in 2000 when he won the annual Lords v Commons race at Brands Hatch, clocking up the fastest lap. His book Motoring for Pleasure (1963) told stories of his life in motor racing. He started as motoring correspondent for the Field in 1954 and continued until 2002, by which time he was writing for the website Hoot!, where his column was entitled View from a Peer.

He died seven weeks after colliding with a dustcart. Lord Strathcarron suffered a motorcycling accident when he was in collision with a dustcart and died seven weeks later.

Andrew Roth