On this day in auto history - January 11th

Mon 11th Jan 2021

It was on this day in 1982 when news broke that Mark Thatcher - the wayward son of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - had gone missing in the Sahara Desert whilst competing in the famous Paris-Dakar Rally.

In all, the 29-year-old spent six days ‘lost’ with his French co-driver and a mechanic whilst driving a Peugeot 504 in an escapade which made national news headlines at the time.

They were eventually found by the Algerian military following a search involving four countries, planes and military helicopters.

After Mark Thatcher later admitted making “no special preparations” for the gruelling endurance event, he became a figure of ridicule and was regularly lampooned on the popular satirical comedy show, Spitting Image.

In 2012, newly-released archived files showed that Mrs Thatcher contributed money towards the search herself rather than use taxpayers’ money and risk a public backlash.