DL – Isle of Wight Motor Vehicles 1896-1939 By Mark Chessell

Filed under: Classic News,Product Reviews |
DL – Isle of Wight Motor Vehicles 1896-1939 By Mark ChessellThe registration letters DL were native to the Isle of Wight from the dawn of motoring until being replaced by HW in 2001. This book is not (as many will assume) an in-depth catalogue, exploring the workings of the Ministry of Transport or DVLA; its far more than that. A celebration of the islands transport including vehicles built on and exported to this unique spot in the Solent; many of which you may not be aware of. How and why are my first questions? After all, taking up the challenge of book writing in itself leaves the writer exposed to financial embarrassment plus a garage full of unsold hardbacks, but to do something this specific, takes some nerve. I met the author to explore his thoughts and take time to admire his work, specifically this publication that became available in 2014. The seeds for this book started with a travel game introduced to a pair of young boys by their parents to ‘while away’ the hours in the back of their family saloon. Decades later, the research and collection of images plus information took two years to complete; 144 pages of fantastic in-period detail with much local assistance via historians, vehicle clubs and the islands council offices. The cover image features a fine-looking Humber from around 1905, this image was used on a postcard postmarked ‘Newport August 1906’.

Pictures of charabanc’s that transported vacationers prior to WW1 show the variety of designs available in period, some resembled football stands so those at the back could enjoy the forward view. Several interesting vehicles have been produced on the island over the decades including the rather strange looking two wheeled Skootamota that became popular post WW1. Who would have believed a mighty Itala Grand Prix car from 1907 would possess an Isle of Wight registration but thanks to the Thornton family it was issued with DL259 and must have been quite a sight passing through the islands towns and villages; this magnificent machine now resides at Beaulieu National Motor Museum. From the earliest steam transport to the art deco style buses of pre-war Britain, the Isle of Wight certainly enjoyed a rich and diverse range of vehicles. Motorbikes, cars and commercials, Mark Chessell has not only researched then detailed the vast majority that received a DL plate but presented a hard-back coffee table read that can be appreciated on either side of the Solent. Next time we will be examining his follow up offering - DL ‘The Classic Years’ through wartime and onto the swinging sixties.

DL – Isle of Wight Motor Vehicles 1896-1939
150 plus period images over 144 pages
Available via Chine Publishing at a special (limited stock) price £9.95
Email: info@chinepublishing.co.uk
Website: www.chinepublishing.co.uk
ISBN: 978-0-9573692-1-4