Thatcher’s Rover run
Newly released files have revealed that officials feared Margaret Thatcher would crash a Rover 800 during a PR stunt.
A secret rehearsal was organised so the then Prime Minister could familiarise herself with Rover’s flagship model.
Her private secretary Mark Addison wrote to her saying: ‘You are testing the new Rover on Thursday. The most straightforward way of arranging this would probably be for you to drive the car from the front door towards the bottom of Downing Street, reversing into the side road, and then driving back up the street to the front door. If you would like to handle the test drive in this way, you would need to feel confident about manoeuvring the car into the side road and back out again.
‘ The alternative would be to walk down to the car at the bottom of Downing Street and drive it back to the front door. Agree to the first option? Or prefer to keep it simple?’
The Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust’s Chris Collins believes concerns arose because she had rarely driven since 1975.
Thatcher test-drove the new Rover 800 outside 10 Downing Street – but only after a practice run.