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1932 20/25 GAU69, owned by Sir John Aird

Sir John Aird is a member of the 20hp Register although he does not own a 20hp car. He does however own another small-horsepower car with a very interesting history to tell.

1932 20/25 Thrupp & Maberly Sedanca de Ville GAU69

GAU69, registration number GY 8000,  was built by Thrupp & Maberly as a black coloured sedanca de ville and bought originally by Colonel Sir John Aird Bt MC.  GAU69 was delivered to him at St James’s Palace where he was Equerry to the Prince of Wales.  Sir John Aird served in the Grenadier Guards and had been awarded a Military Cross in WWI at the age of 19 for conspicuous gallantry during a German assault on the British position.  In April 1939 Sir John Aird married Lady Priscilla Heathcote-Drummond Willoughby, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Ancaster and they went on honeymoon to the Chateau of the Loire in GAU69, driven by their chauffeur, Mr Gant. 

GAU69 was laid up during WWII in the garage at Sir John’s house in Windsor Great Park until 1946, when it reappeared briefly to be exchanged for a Hillman Minx Estate Car which was more practical in postwar Britain for a family with young children and petrol rationing. 

From 1946 to 1970 GAU69 was owned by Kenneth Diplock KC who went on to become a distinguished Law Lord. In 1972 Lord Diplock led an investigation into ways of improving legal procedures to deal with Northern Ireland's sectarian violence.  His recommendations led to the setting up of what were to be temporary courts in which a judge would rule without a jury to avoid reported intimidation of witnesses.  The courts, however, still exist and have aroused much criticism.  From 1970 to 1990 GAU69 was in Colorado USA and in 1990 was re-imported to the UK by the Real Car Co of North Wales.  Between 1997 and 2002 GAU69 was used as a wedding car, and in 2003 was substantially restored and repainted in its present cream and maroon colours.  Between 2008 and 2018 GAU69 was owned and lovingly cared for by a retired British Airways dispatcher Mr J F Pannell of Poole in Dorset, who in June 2018 sold it to the present Sir John Aird, 4th Baronet and son of the original owner.