Book Reviews, April 1950, April 1950

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“The Magic of a Name.” New edition, by Harold Nockolds. (270 pp., 25s., Foulis and Co., 7, Milford Lane, W.C.2.)
“The Magic of a Name” appeared in 1938 as a beautifully-produced and attractively-written story of the Rolls-Royce Company. It now appears in a new, much enlarged, edition, with more of the loose-leaf coloured plates which formed the illustrations of the first edition, including a magnificent frontis-piece reproduction of the Battle of Britain Memorial Stained-glass Window.
 
The latest edition tells the story of the war from the Rolls-Royce aspect—the glorious one of the Battle of Britain, not of bombing and fire-fighting at the factories—and of Rolls-Royce aero-engine development since the war, which naturally includes their great contribution to jet propulsion. The use of Rolls-Royce engines by successful record-attackers on land, in the air and on the water is covered, and the reader is taken from the birth of the first Rolls-Royce car in 1901 to the present day in easily read, intriguing chapters.
 
After reading “The Magic of a Name” one feels dubious of expressing an opinion as to which was the greater manifestation of craftmanship—Derby or Molsheim. Consider, for example, the careful Continental testing of experimental Rolls-Royce cars, based at a country house at Chateauroux, and culminating in a visit and stay with Royce at his Riviera residence at Le Canadel. The dismantling of one-off Rolls-Royce car that the company had decided not to proceed with, the house at Duffield Bank, each bedroom named after a different Rolls-Royce car or aero-engine, where distinguished visitors were entertained, and you cannot but come to the conclusion that Royce and Bugatti had much in common. Those who seek a British idol to worship should read this book. It should prevent them from falling into the more popular way of ignoring or dismissing everything worth while in their own country in favour or the Continental.
 
Vintage and Edwardian enthusiasts will have the time of their lives with Mr. Nockolds, because so long does a Rolls-Royce car last, so nobly does the mane figure in history, that in writing this book he has had to include frequent reference to old Rolls-Royce cars, both historically and about those which exist at the present time. A good book this, reminding the reader of books as they were produced pre-war. A stimulating book, in these days of depression through nationalisation. A book that is so very British, in the best pre-war and war-time sense.—W. B.
 
“The Motor Age” by K. G. Feneton, M.A., Ph.D. (Common Ground Books, Sydney Place, S.W.7; 41 pages, 2s. 6d.).
This is a pictorial record of the development of motor transport, from the steam bus of 1813 to the present, via the bicycling age. The subject cannot adequately be dealt with by 41 items, especially when two of these depict road accidents and others deal with accident statistics, building roads and bridges, speed traps, speed cops, and the like. The picture of the first fatal road accident and another of a Shell-Mex-B.P. tanker which has collided with a Riley saloon could have been omitted. The only reference to racing, at Brooklands, contains such inaccuracies as the statement that no world’s records were made on such tracks(!), and that Marchant’s Voisin lapped at 128.35 m.p.h. in 1928—actually that was the speed of his Hour Record at Montlhèry in 1927. Personally, we would rather use our half-crown to buy a gallon of petrol.

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