Book reviews

"Floyd Clymer's Indianapolis 500-Mile Race Official Year Book."
120 pp. 11 in. by 8-1/2 in. (Floyd Clymer Publications, 1268, S. Alvarado Street, Los Angeles, 6, California. Two dollars.)

No race has been so completely covered in book form as the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race since that prolific publisher of motoring books, Floyd Clymer, has been publishing annually his review of the famous American track race. The coverage, both in text and picture, is comprehensive indeed, embracing every aspect of the race. The 1957 edition does not seem to be quite so well illustrated as earlier editions but it has the merit of including an account of the Monza 500 track race, which was to have been the Italian equivalent of Indianapolis but which became little short of a fiasco. Clymer also includes opinions, for and against, of his challenge to Fangio, in which he suggested that the Argentine driver is not truly the World Champion because he has never raced at Indianapolis. Clymer attempted to attract Fangio to the American 500-Mile Race with a monetary offer. The British Press stated later that Fangio, through his manager, had turned down the money but had answered Clymer to the effect that if an adequate Indianapolis car were available he would go to Indianapolis. This statement of B.U.P. was published in The Motor and The Autocar but twice in his book, in heavy type, Clymer states that: "As of February 1st, 1958, I have never heard directly from Fangio or his manager." On the subject of U.P.P.I.'s ban on the Monza race, Clymer quotes in full the views of Denis Jenkinson, published in Motor Sport dated July 1957.

The "Indianapolis 500 Year Book" contains much of interest, including pictures of mechanics, pressmen, and of Cyd Charisse, Queen of the Speedway, as well as of drivers. There is an article on the Offenhauser engine, but less technical data than in certain earlier issues. Some historical material is included and there is an informative illustrated account by Jim Bryan on how to drive round the Indianapolis track, where they reach between 170 and 180 m.p.h. along the straights and corner at over 130 m.p.h. This book is available here through the usual sources of supply.—W. B.

"Automobile Year."
224 pp. 12-3/4 in, by 9-1/2 in. (G. T. Foulis, 7, Milford Lane, London, W.C.2. 50s.)

"Automobile Year," the beautifully-produced review of automobile matters published annually by Edita S.A. in Lausanne under the Editorship of Ansi Guichard, is one of the publications eagerly looked forward to each year. If last year's edition had tailed off in quality the 1958 edition is fully up to the earlier "Automobile Reviews" and a magnificent publication withal. It is high time a publishing house in England matched the beautiful art paper and lavish colour illustrations and advertisements which make this Swiss review the Vogue of automobile annuals.

This year's edition carries a long article on the new miniature cars by Jacques lckx, a treatise on car production entitled "Automation versus Rising Prices," by M. Froesch, a short appreciation of Ettore Bugatti with some previously unpublished pictures of Le Patron, by Roger Labric, Gordon Wilkins survey of Cars of the Year, the usual excellent reviews of racing, hill-climbs and rallies in 1957, a technical article on Formula 1 racing by Paul Frère and, of course, hundreds of superb photographic reproductions.

We like the pictorial captions which accompany race reports and which themselves explain how each race developed. We found lckx's discourse on the new "smaller" cars rather difficult to follow in his opening chapters but interesting thereafter—he concludes with gloomy views on the future of the new miniature cars and considers the cabin-scooter doomed, but thinks that small 2/4-seater, sports versions of these, the Citroën 2 c.v. and the Zandapp Janus may survive. We were flattered to find the coloured dust-jacket featuring the three Vanwalls at Monza and a cut-away drawing of the Vanwall G.P. car (a larger, unfolding reproduction of this drawing is a feature of the book, together with technical photographs of this victorious British G.P. car, and there is a similar cut-away drawing and pictures of the Maserati 450S sports/racing car). We like the charts which show the progress of each car in the major races. This year the illustrations of the world's finest coachwork are mostly devoted to the work of Italian specialists. Copious illustrations of the ordinary 1958 cars of the world are included, although these would have been enhanced had they been all to a common scale. Once again vintage cars are ignored by Guichard, but there is a page of colour illustrations of veterans and Edwardians which paraded at Le Mans.

Browsing through this lavish album recalls many highlights and incidents of last season—the sensational accident caused by Moss at Monaco, the Vanwall victories at Aintree, Pescara and Monza, Ecurie Ecosse's fine showing in the Monza 500 with their Jaguars, Taruffi's Mille Miglia, the great Aston Martin victory at Nürburgring and the mastery of Fangio—the last-named nicely pointed by the colour-shot of the maestro removing his helmet, which is published on the back of the dust-jacket. There are small incidents in the many photographs pleasing to recall—the spectators watching Edgar Barth's Porsche RS making f.t.d. at Freiburg seem to be sheltering under the well-known Porsche umbrellas, which reminds the Editor of Motor Sport, for instance, that he was delighted to receive one of these umbrellas last Christmas, a notable gift from an Industry which in his experience is notoriously niggardly in respect of presents to the press.

We know the demand that exists for this unique volume--some years ago we noticed one of the first in a bookseller's window in Monte Carlo; within a few hours it had been sold. So we are pleased to see that the following British firms have had the initiative to take advertising space in the 1958 edition beside the lavish announcements of the continental firms—B.P., Ferodo, Austin, Redex, Jaguar, Lucas and Shell, while the bookmarker is by Vandervell. Go out quickly, to secure your copy!—W. B.

Those who believe that drink is evil and does not mix with motoring will welcome "The Cup of Fury," by Upton Sinclair (Arco Publications, Ltd., 12s. 6d.). while if you enjoy studying criminology, with cases in which cars figure, "Criminal Files," by John Rowland, by the same publisher (16s.) is recommended.


The "Foreign Car Guide," which was referred to in the February Motor Sport and which deals mainly with Volkswagen enthusiasms but includes road-test reports on other foreign small cars, is now published monthly, from 215, Fourth Avenue, New York, 3, at 35 cente. The Editor is Don Ellenberger, who, in his March issue, reports on the Ford Anglia, which he "can't recommend as a highway car, if you're used to the greater-but-still-not-good-enough power of the VW. Another cog in the transmission is what's needed ..."