Updated: Dec 10, 2018
My interview for the position of Chauffeur took place at Mrs. McDougald’s Toronto estate, Green Meadows. We met in the sun room beside the formal English Rose Garden. Mrs McDougald, in her early seventies, was dressed tastefully. Her suit, tailored on Saville Row, was a shade of pastel pink that brightened the day, though not overly so, and matched perfectly the color of the roses in the garden. On her right hand was a heavy gold ring set with a beautiful grey-blue stone. Engraved upon the stone was the family crest and in Latin were the words, To Conquer or Die. We had a cup of tea and spoke of my duties which included maintaining the cars and chauffeuring not only the lady and guests, but also her dogs. I like people and I like dogs so things seemed to be going very well. Then she suggested that we check out the cars. There was an American assortment of Lincoln’s, Cadillac’s, Convertibles, and Limousines, plus a very formal ’61 Rolls Royce Phantom V, for use in Canada and the United States, and, for use in Great Britain, a luxurious ‘69 Rolls Royce Phantom VI painted in the Queen’s colour of Garnet Red and on occasion used by her friend Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
We strolled around the grounds, admiring the weeping willows and thoroughbred race horses, until we came to a large cottage, where I was asked to wait by the front door. Then, with obvious pride and joy, Mrs. McDougald opened the door from within. At that moment I could have been knocked over by a feather. Crystal chandeliers illuminated a most wonderful vintage car collection. I had never seen such cars. What an honour to look after them. I could tell that the lady appreciated my delight.
The cars were the collection of her late husband, Mr. John A. McDougald, whom she loved greatly and were therefore very dear to her."Can you drive these cars young man?" The lady asked."Certainly Madam." I replied with more than a little exaggeration.
As I stepped into another world I thought to myself, 'I might not know what they are, but I can learn.' Then I got the royal tour.
First came the 1931 Bugatti...