Murdoch Troon (Stanley Baxter) is a dour Scot living and working for a local government authority somewhere in the south of London. A shy young man, his main excitement comes from cycling. After he's forced off the road by an impatient car driver, he tracks down the owner, only to find that he is Commander Chingford (James Robertson Justice), the domineering and acerbic owner of a sportscar distributorship.
Chingford reluctantly pays for the damage to Troon's cycle, but more significantly, Troon meets Claire (Julie Christie), Chingford's beautiful blonde daughter. He is smitten with her and, after she tells him she loves sports cars and would love to have one but "her great dictator" (meaning her father) won't allow it, he is talked into buying a car to impress her by Troon's friend and fellow lodger, Freddie Fox (Leslie Phillips), a used car salesman and serial cad. Fox sees a chance to ingratiate himself with Chingford and also to sell Troon a car. The car is a 1927 vintage Bentley 4.5-litre engined Red Label Speed model, painted in British Racing Green and named The Fast Lady.
Troon has his first driving lesson in a less exciting car, an Austin A40 Farina, which proves to be a comedy of disasters with a nervous instructor (Eric Barker). Fox then makes a deal with Troon and offers to teach him, but the results are equally disastrous.
Unwilling to give up and determined to prove his love for Claire, Troon bets her father that he can drive the car. An experienced racing driver, Chingford is convinced that Troon has no hope of achieving this — and bets him that he cannot.
Troon takes Chingford for a drive in the Bentley and loses the bet. But the tables are turned when Chingford loses Troon's counter-bet that Chingford cannot drive back home in less than 30 minutes. He reluctantly allows Claire to go out with Troon in the car.
The day comes for Troon's driving test. Fox has set him up with a 'bent' examiner, but Troon draws the 'wrong' examiner. As the test comes to an end (and the examiner is almost certainly going to fail Troon), the car is commandeered by police to chase a Jaguar car driven by escaping bank robbers. The high speed chase takes them through town and country, across a golf course (leaving in its wake, a trail of disasters) and eventually the robbers are caught. Chingford so admires his driving skill that he allows the couple to get engaged.
The film features cameos and performances by many well-known comedy and character actors, including Dick Emery as a car salesman, Clive Dunn, Gerald Campion, Frankie Howerd, Bernard Cribbins, Bill Fraser, 'Monsewer' Eddie Gray and Fred Emney. A racing sequence also features brief appearances by drivers John Surtees and Graham Hill, along with Raymond Baxter and celebrated automotive journalist John Bolster.
Note: The 'Fast Lady', a 1927 Bentley 4.5-litre Red Label Speed model with Vanden Plas short chassis fabric body, registration number TU5987, still exists and was sold by a specialist dealer in 2010.James Robertson Justice as Charles Chingford
Leslie Phillips as Freddie Fox
Stanley Baxter as Murdoch Troon
Kathleen Harrison as Mrs Staggers
Julie Christie as Claire Chingford
Eric Barker as Wentworth, driving instructor
Oliver Johnston as Bulmer
Allan Cuthbertson as Bodley, driving examiner
Esma Cannon as Lady on Zebra Crossing
Dick Emery as Shingler
Deryck Guyler as Doctor Blake
Victor Brooks as Policeman
Terence Alexander as Policeman on Motorcycle
Trevor Reid as Examiner
Frankie Howerd as Road Workman in Hole
It was one of the 12 most popular films at the British box office in 1963.
The Fast Lady was brought to Region 2 DVD in the U.K. on 2 February 2004. Currently no word on when it will be brought to DVD in the U.S.