David Macpherson, 2nd Baron Strathcarron

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David William Anthony Blyth Macpherson, 2nd Baron Strathcarron (23 January 1924 – 31 August 2006) was best known as the "motorcycling peer". He inherited the Barony on his father's death in 1937, but lost his automatic right to a seat in the House of Lords with the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999.

He served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the Second World War, and raced motor vehicles after the war. He was the motoring correspondent of The Field from 48 years, from 1954 to 2002. He died seven weeks after a motorcycling accident involving a dustcart. His obituary in The Daily Telegraph described him as "an engaging amalgam of Mr Punch, Bertie Wooster and Mr Toad".

Lord Strathcarron's father was Ian Macpherson, a government minister in the cabinet of Lloyd George who had been created Baron Strathcarron, of Banchor, in 1936. He attended Eton College and Jesus College, Cambridge. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the RAF in 1941, before he graduated, and flew Wellingtons for Coastal Command on reconnaissance and search-and-rescue missions over the Atlantic Ocean, during the Battle of the Atlantic. He then flew long-range transport missions, and was demobbed in 1947. He continued to fly as a private pilot after the war, until the 1980s.

His interest in motor vehicles began in his youth, when he learned to drive in his mother's 1932 Essex Terraplane. He was bought a Morgan Super Sports for his sixteenth birthday, in which he quickly passed his motorcycle test but then also soon had his first driving accident. He took up motor racing after he left the RAF, competing against Stirling Moss in 500cc motor racing, and drove for Marwyn and Kieft. He raced vintage cars from his own collection, including Alfa Romeos, Austin-Healeys, Bentleys, Jensens and Rileys. He founded an automotive supplies business, Strathcarron & Co, in 1960. In 1963, he wrote an account of his experiences in motor racing, entitled Motoring for Pleasure. He won the Lords versus Commons motor race at Brands Hatch in 2000, aged 76. After he retired as motoring correspondent of The Field in 2002, he wrote a column for the website Hoot!, entitled "View from a Peer".

During his time in Parliament, Lord Strathcarron was involved in many motoring issues, and was chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Motorcycling Group. He was involved in working with the Motor Cycle Industry Association to create the system of Compulsory Basic Training for learner motorcyclists, introduced in December 1990. He usually voted with the Conservative Party, but rarely spoke.

Outside Parliament, he was a President of the Guild of Motoring Writers, President of the Jensen Owners' Club and Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Motorists. He was also involved with the British Racing Drivers' Club, the Guild of Experienced Motorists, the Vintage Sports Car Club, the Driving Instructors' Association, the Vehicle Builders and Repairers' Association, the Institute of Road Transport Engineers, the Institute of the Motor Industry and the Order of the Road.

He married four times, and was survived by his fourth wife, Diana. The title was inherited by Ian Macpherson, 3rd Baron Strathcarron, the elder of the two sons from his second marriage.

References[edit]

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Ian Macpherson
Baron Strathcarron
1937–2006
Succeeded by
Ian Patrick David Macpherson