Thatcher’s Rover run

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - ❚ www.mar­garet­thatcher.org

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.

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