It was a relief to discover that Michael Holroyd, esteemed and genial doyen of literary biographers, has wheels. Decades of dedication to literature and the life of the mind have at last raised his consciousness to the level at which he discerns the shaping presence of motorism (as Edwardians called it) in his own life and those of his biographical subjects. As a motoring correspondent, I can only rejoice. Mind you, he’s not quite there yet, having still to appreciate that the fact that none of the subjects of his biographies pre-dates the age of motorism may mean that it’s not simply a theme of his life, but the theme. But he is on the road to enlightenment.
Holroyd started on the road with a modest (albeit daffodil-coloured) DAF, an unlikely product of the Dutch lorry-builder. It had a variomatic transmission, which for Holroyd solved the enduring problem of manipulating three pedals with two feet. This is a surprising admission from a former national squash player who must