One of the most desirable British cars ever made has returned to Henley for the first time in more than 70 years. The Squire, which was first manufactured in a single garage at the top of Remenham Hill in 1934, took center stage at an exhibition at Phyllis Court Club.
More than 230 members and guests paid tribute to Adrian Squire, a former Bentley apprentice who lived and worked in Henley and had a showroom in Bell Street that is now a bookshop.
Piers Flashman, chairman of the motoring section at Phyllis Court Club, said the exhibition was years in the making. He added: “It was a great success and a sell-out. People traveled from as far as New Zealand to be part of the event.
“We were extremely lucky to have several generations of the Squire family as well as the owners of three of the seven surviving Squire cars in the world.”
Members and guests heard a talk about life in Henley during the Thirties and after lunch enjoyed a presentation called Squire, a tribute to the man and the marque, by Jonathan Wood, an auto-historian.
Squire spared no expense in his design of the car, using an Anzani 100bhp 1496cc twin-cam engine that made it capable of speeds of more than 100mph, which was rare for a production sports car at the time.
He built a fine rigid chassis for two- or four-seat versions, with attractive bodywork by Vanden Plas, and installed 15in hydraulic brakes in manganese alloy drums that were known for their ferocity.
Squire, who was 21 when he founded Squire Motors, employed several local companies as sub-contractors, including Henley pump manufacturers Stuart Turner. But his dream ended in tears. With a high price of £1,195, sales were hard to come by during those pre-war years and because of the car’s costly design only seven were made.
In 1936, the company was wound up and manufacture of the Squire ended, although two more cars were completed privately with left-over parts.
Squire himself went on to join Lagonda and was working for the Bristol Aeroplane Company when he was killed in an air raid in 1940, aged 30. The seven surviving Squires have owners across the world. Three are in America and there is one each in Britain, Austria and New Zealand. The seventh is in pieces in Holland. Last year, a Squire car was sold in California for around $750,000.
Mr Flashman said: “This truly unique and unrepeatable event, with its local historical connections, was brought to a symbolic close the next day when Dr Kallinger, who had brought his beautiful Squire car from Vienna, visited the garage on Remenham Hill.
“He then drove away up the Fair Mile — just as Adrian Squire and his clients did more than 70 years ago.”