Books for Easter



“The Grand Prix Car,” by Laurence Pomeroy, F.R.S.A., M.S.A.E. Second edition, volume one (Temple Press, Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, E.C.1 ; 268 pages, 8 1/2 in. by 11 1/4 in., £3 3s.)

There is no more satisfactory volume to the serious student of motor-racing than Laurence Pomeroy’s “Grand Prix Car.” Published as a single volume by Motor Racing Publications in 1949, this classic work has now been brought up to date and re-appears in two volumes, of which the first covers the period 1895 to 1939, it being the author’s intention to devote his second volume of the revised “Grand Prix Car” to racing and racing cars in the years 1947-1953.

Volume one repeats much, but by no means all, of the valuable and beautifully-presented material of the original work, which will be good news to those unable to acquire copies of this out-of-print book, and corrections have been made, and new data and illustrations included.

The talented and painstaking Technical Editor of the Motor offers a complete account of the major races of 1895-1939, together with tabulated results, his detailed descriptions of seventeen individual Grand Prix racing cars from the 1908 Itala to the W163 Mercédèz-Benz, which once formed the “Milestones of Speed” series from the Motor, those inimitable drawings of these cars and their components which represent some 5,000 hours’ work on the part of artist L. C. Cresswell, and technical surveys, explanations and comparisons relating to the racing cars with which his volume one deals. The contents embrace 87-line drawings, 13 two-page pull-out drawings, 32 pages of beautiful photographic plates and 14 pages a photo-litho reproductions of Cresswell’s pencil “roughs.” Results and fastest laps in 200 races are included. The illustrations total 179.

The original publishers have adhered to the same production standard and style and Temple Press, Ltd., distribute the book. Its appearance is one of the great literary motoring events of 1954, and those who consider the price somewhat high are advised to examine the book, after which they will undoubtedly cross off other attractive titles from their book-lists in order to purchase Pomeroy’s masterpiece. — W. B.

“Odium’s Road Atlas of Great Britain.” (Odhams Press, Ltd., Long Acre, W.C.2 ; 96 pages of maps and 48-page index, 5 3/4 in. by 9 1/4 in., 11s. 6d.)

Some people get their acme of motoring delight from roaring up and down a local by-pass, but true motorists like travel and must have their maps. In this attractive volume Odhams offer 96 pages of maps, six inches to the mile and well detailed, covering the British Isles, plus two maps of London and 16 through-way plans of towns and cities. Just the job for cubby-hole or door pocket this summer. It was quite by chance that we alighted on a mistake in the map references, Alton being given as in “Hunts” instead of “Hants.

“Basic Road Statistics for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” (British Road Federation, 4a, Bloomsbury Square, W.C.1; 56 pages, 5 1/2 in. by 8 1/2 in., 1s.)

This hardy annual, so useful to politicians, journalists, students and others, contains all manner of useful information, including road mileages, accident statistics, Road Fund expenditure, workers in the motor industry, etc., etc. Particularly interesting is the table of motor vehicles in use from 1904 to 1952, broken down into private cars, motor-cycles, buses and coaches, taxis, goods vehicles, and “other vehicles.” This latter information makes this little publication well worth the “bob” charged for it. — W. B.

“Annual Automobile Review.” (Published in English, French and German by Edita, Ltd., 7, rue de Genéve, Lausanne; 225 pages, 9 /1 2in. by 12 1/2 in., £1 11s. 3d.)

This lavish, magnificently produced annual review is a welcome change from the tardy, inadequate and superficial motoring publications which have been literally pouring from new sources since the war. The publishers state that it is a review for the non-technical, although this is offset to some extent by a technical treatise by Charles Faroux on “50 Years’ Improvements in Car-Engine Technique.” Editor Ami Guichard has been exceedingly generous with good photographs beautifully reproduced on good paper and has included some full-page colour plates and many colour photographs.

He has, too, arranged an excellent selection of articles. For example, while racing predominates, with separate reviews of Formula II races from 1948-1953 by Gordon Wilkins, the 1953 World Championship and Sports Car Championship reviewed in two separate chapters by Count Lurani, the European Touring Championship covered by Dennis May, besides a study of World Champion Ascari by Stefano Bricarelli (nicely illustrated, with intimate beach scenes of the ace with his family), there are also technical surveys, a review of prominent 1953 cars, articles on the motor industry of the world, humour, and a selection of elegant pictures of great cars in picturesque settings.

The high-class advertising, with Mercédès-Benz on the inside front cover, and the glossy cover, the picture on the front depicting an artist’s impression of Indianapolis, lend tone to a publication which will be sought after amongst discerning connoisseurs of the art of motoring.

Alas, some errors have crept in which cannot be excused as slips in translation. Thus Stefano Bricarelli has it that Antonio Ascari. Alberto’s father, was killed during practice at Montlhèry, whereas he met his end while driving his P2 Alfa-Romeo during the 1925 French Grand Prix, and Manzini is shown driving a 2-litre sports. Maserati in the 1,000-km. race at Nurburg for which he wasn’t entered. But don’t let that put your wallet back into your pocket.

This is a thoroughly worthwhile purchase, representing good value, not only because of the enormous amount of text and illustration between its covers, but because the pictures convey as well as any other publication of this kind that we have seen the spirit and atmosphere of International motor-racing.

Editor Ami Guichard must feel a very satisfied, if exhausted, man. — W. B.

“Design and Tuning of Competition Engines,” by Philip H. Smith,. A.M.I.Mech.E. (G. T. Foulis & Co., Ltd., 7, Milford Lane, Strand, W.C.2; 287 pages, 5 1/2 in. by 8 1/2 in. 35s.)

This book, notably comprehensive, should fulfil a long-felt want, for we of Motor Sport are asked frequently if any such work exists.

The author deals first with basic principles of the heat engine, power production, problems of cylinder filling and mechanical aspects of high-efficiency internal combustion engine design, the latter sub-divided into consideration of valve gears, crankshaft design, combustion chamber layout, etc.

This comprehensive book then goes on to deal with individual competition engines, such as the Aston Martin DB2, Bristol 85 to 100A, Ford Prefect, Consul and Zephyr, Jaguar XK120, Jowett Javelin and Jupiter, 2 1/2-litre Lea-Francis and 1950-53 M.G. TD. These engine descriptions are nicely illustrated with line drawings of the power units in section.

The second part of Philip Smith’s book deals initially with general tuning and modifying for performance and then proceeds to give detailed tuning data for Ford Ten, Jaguar, Jowett, M.G., A.C., o.h.v. Ford, s.v. Morris Minor and Sunbeam-Talbot engines.

The final chapter deals with the application of supercharging to production engines. There is an index and some useful appendices, including one which lists supplies of appropriate components. Altogether a notable addition to the Foulis list and I congratulate the author on his industry. — W. B.