The Rt Hon the Lord Steel of Aikwood KT KBE PC
The Board of The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) is delighted to announce that Lord Steel of Aikwood (David Steel) has agreed to be our new president. The Board agreed unanimously that he was the man to replace Lord Montagu as only the second president in the FBHVC’s history. Lord Steel has been a stalwart supporter of our movement and has served for many years as vice-president. Following the changes to the Articles of Association at the AGM last year the role will now be a non-executive position.
Our former chairman, and now vice-president, Andrew Burt, first met David Steel (as he was then) when they attended Edinburgh Law School together, along with their respective girlfriends (soon to be wives). After graduation David Steel went to the Edinburgh office of the Scottish Liberal Party and they lost touch. Then came the Roxburgh by-election in 1965 where David Steel won the seat and went on, of course, to become leader of the Liberal Party from 1976 to 1988, and then presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament 1999-2003. He joined the House of Lords in 1997. The historic vehicle movement brought Andrew and Lord Steel back together again via the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group, in which the latter is still actively involved.
Our new president told us, “My first car was a 50% share with a school chum in a 1932 Morris 8, on which I learned to drive with the accelerator in the middle. Then as a student I upped to a 1938 Morris 8 and then a Rover 10 of the same vintage. After that came a 1951 Daimler Consort, and after I was elected an MP in 1965 a series of three second-hand Humber Hawks and Snipes. The best car I ever had was a Daimler Barker Special Sports – a three-seater which I sold for £100 on the arrival of our second child. After that came an Alvis TD21 convertible, a Jaguar Mark 1X, two Mark IIs, and more recently a Jaguar XJS convertible which I sold to buy my new F-Pace. So the only classic I now have is a humble Morris Minor (back to the beginning!).
In the 1990s I renewed my friendship with Philip Young (who had been editor of the weekly ‘Liberal News’) and marshalled on his first revival of the Monte Carlo Rally. Subsequently I took part in half-a-dozen of them, in a Ford Zephyr, a Rover P5 3-litre and a Riley 1.5. In 1997 I took part in John Brown’s HERO London to Cape Town Rally driving an Austin Gypsy and we achieved a bronze medallion. I regularly advised and assisted both men on setting up international rallies.
I am honoured to be asked to become president of the FBHVC, whose research and advocacy I greatly admire. Nobody can fill the shoes of the late Edward, Lord Montagu, whom I knew well and whose achievements at Beaulieu were quite outstanding, but I shall do my best to help advance the organisation.”