Rolls-Royce is a name now closely associated with military machines, but in its early years, its sole focus was luxury motoring. Then came World War One, and ‘the best car in the world’ transformed into what was probably the best armoured car in the world
Think of Col Thomas Edward Lawrence -better known as Lawrence of Arabia -and the usual picture is of a heroic but haunted-looking figure, clad in keffiyeh and thobe and astride a camel or horse. It’s an image cemented by David Lean’s 1962 cinematic epic Lawrence of Arabia. But in one scene, when Lawrence mounts a raid on a Turkish supply train during World War One’s Arab Revolt, the animals are swapped for something more modern, with a brace of Rolls-Royce 40/50hp armoured cars leading the onslaught.