Count Louis Zborowski

The short leather jacket and the loud, checked, cap, worn back-to-front! The gentleman pictured above is recognisable as Count Louis Vorow Zborowski - "the mad Pole" - a well-known and successful driver at the Brooklands Race Track, in the early 1920s.

Zborowski had a Polish father and an American mother. He owned a substantial country estate near Canterbury in England. Before the First World War, he had owned a Mercedes motor car, prepared for racing by Gordon Watney, of Weybridge, Surrey. After the war, he built a series of three large racing cars, all called "Chitty Bang", that name later being immortalised in the Disney Film "Chitty,Chitty, Bang, Bang". The first of these cars is shown above. It had a 23-litre, 6-cylinder Maybach aircraft engine, developing 300bhp and mounted in a pre-war 75hp chain-driven Mercedes chassis. A four-seater body was fitted by Blythe Brothers of Canterbury. The body was later modified to a two-seater, with cowled radiator. This car was badly damaged in 1922 and was destroyed, but Zborowski built two more and one of them still survives.

Above, we see Zborowski at the wheel of a Benz racer.

Here, he is standing to the left, behind Kenelm Lee Guinness's Talbot-Darracq.

"Chitty Bang" 1919

"Big Bang" 1922

Zborowski later took a business interest in smaller cars and we see him here, making adjustments to an Aston-Martin. The mad Pole died during a Grand-Prix race, in 1924.