BOOK REVIEWS, April 1962, April 1962




“Automobile Year-9.” Edited by Ami Guichard. z16 pp. 12′, in, x 91 in. (Edita S.A., Box 1109, Lausanne 1, Switzerland. Published in English, French, German and Italian. English Edition bandied by (1. T. Fault’s & Co. Ltd., 1-5, Pert pool Lane, London. sos.) This beautiful annual appears in its ninth edition, which follows the format of previous editions but this time photogravure printing has been employed to a greater extent and consequently the size of both the black-and-white and colour illustrations has been increased and more full-page and double-spread pictures are included. Indeed, the splendid colour advertisements in ” Auto mobile Year ” are as attractive as similar illustrations in the text, Renault, Fiat and Alfa Romeo having striking double-spreads in

colour, and Martini, Austin, Eau de Cologne, Pininfarina, Lancia, Volvo, Jaguar, Lucas, Solex, Shell, Bosch and Mercedes-Benz single-page full-colour advertisements. Of the editorial pages, the 1961 competition season is covered Comprehensively by Count Lurani, Michael May looks at three years of F.J. racing, C. ProChe recalls fifty years of Indianapolis, the results of the European Rally Championship are given. ‘Ply vintage aspect of racing is not overlooked in this 1961162 edition, W. Boddy, Editor of Monnt Svc:nu, being given a page on which to describe ” The Vintage Scene ” of 1961. The future of the World Automobile Industry is covered by The Economist, this year’s marque history is Ford, by M. L. Dees, the ” Cars of the Year ” are described by G. Wilkins, Mondhery’s history is briefly recorded by M. Reichel (whetting the appetite, perhaps, for Cassell’s full-length history of the Paris track), and an explanation of coachwork designations, a section devoted to-dream cars, prototypes and special bodies and competition ears of 1961, all copiously illustrated, complete the good work, leavened by Brockbank cartoons and a humorous article by J. Ickx. From a table of 1960!1 records we learn that only six International records were

broken last year but a new one, the World’s Closed Circuit Speed Record, was established on the Daytona Beach Speedway by A. Malone (Mad Dog IV), at IS t.57 m.p.h. If any criticism of ” Automobile Year ” is justified it concerns the rather too obvious use of stale hand-out illustrations for the historic articles and careless punctuation and proof-reading of the English edition. For instance, in Boddy’s article someone has changed Kay Petre’s sex, which no-one in his right mind

would wish to do, the Alta is rendered as Atlas and litres and their fractions are split up sometimes by stops, too often with commas. But, when all is said and done, ” Automobile Year ” is a handsome asset to any bookcase.

“Automobile Racing,” by Rodney Walkerley. 230 pp. sl in. x 5/ in. (Temple Press Books Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.x. 35s.)

It is difficult to see where this book fits in. It is a superficial overall history of motor ratting, with nice but by no means always original, illustrations, and some unfortunate errors that are a legacy from earlier Walkerley books. The 1912 G.P. Fiat is quoted as having overhead camshafts, suggesting twin o.h.c., whereas it had a single-o.h.c. engine, the 1919j20 350-h.p. Via Sunbeam is described as being ” the first Sunbeam recordbreaker,” which is wide of the mark (what of the pre-1915 Vi and other Edwardian Bropklands Sunbeams?), and a Via Lagonda did not win the 1935 Le Mans race, etc.

Writers make mistakes sooner or later, especially when writing ” pot-boilers,” but this book costs 355. Even the appendices are superficial, that headed ” Pages from the Past” merely giving 11 pages with results of the 1906 G.P. and 1906 T.T. The dustjacket calls the book ” A History of Motor Sport,” which we have certainly never commissioned Walkerley to write. Avoid ! “Automobile Engine Tuning,” by P. E. Irving, M.I.Mech.E., M.S.A.E. 214 pp. 81 in. 51 in. (Temple Press Books Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.x. 25s.) Here is a useful and detailed work on engine tuning as it applies to all manner of engines from single-cylinder to multis. There are chapters devoted to F.3 engines, hill-Climb and sprint specials; classes _I and K racing cars and karts, gearing and gear ratios, carburation and fuels, lubrication, ignition, 1st, and and 3rd-stage tuning, balancing, induction and exhaust systems, supercharging, testing and safety components and equipment. The author

quotes actual engines and components to develop Hi theme and impart knowledge.

If you want to go faster than the fellow in a similar vehicle who Stops beside you at the, traffic-lights or on a starting-grid, this book should be of value. The Foreword is by Jack Brabham and ” Automobile Engine Tuning ” concludes with a select bibliography and a director of manufacturers and suppliers of tuning equipment.—W. B.


There are passing references to Sunbeams and a Daimler in the 1914/1918 War in Ursula Bloom’s sordid account of that era in ” Youth at the Gate ” (Hutchinson, 1959) and Some interesting motoring items in the more cheerful ‘account of much the same period in ” The Rainbow Comes and Goes,” by Lady Diana Cooper (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1958). For instance, the authoress tells us that the first. -car her family owned, circa 1907, was “a bluegreen Renault limousine with a peacock crest on the door. The Trees had been pioneers with Panhards, into which one Climbed from the back under the hood and sat on the .door’s strapontin which made a third bat* seat. A wicker umbrella holder was attached to the outside of the car, which gleamed with brass.” Obviously, this was a Panhard-Levassor with rear-entrance tonneau body and we are told of smells, dust, and shying horses, which were endured by the occupants, Who ” were goggled, dust-coated and hatted with peaked motor caps, attached with a six-inch safety pin.”

By 1907, Lady Cooper explains, ” ears had become adult and except for occasional breakdowns we travelled in style all over Derbyshire. The Renault took us into Midland towns . . . to antique shops of Sheffield, Manchester and Derby.” As anyone who has had the good fortune to ride in an Edwardian Renault knows, this must have been comfortable, dignified travel, well suited to the occupiers of Belvoir (astle, the Coopers’ home in Leicestershire. There is also mention of a large l)aimler of the same period, owned by Mr. Green who occupied the Traveller’s House in York, and of an ” open screenless racing car packed with young men and girls — fears and excitements, cries and claspings.” The make isn’t quoted but the car was owned by Diana Cooper’s brother — can anyone tell us whether it really was a racing car or a sports car in the Edwardian style, and of what make ? There is another racing car in “The Rainbow Comes and Goes,” that was owned by the aviator Gustav Hamel, who was one of the Cooper ” ring.”

There are further references to motoring as it was before and after the First World War in ‘S Frances Yeats Brown, .1886-1944 “by Evelyn Wrench (Eyre S.; Spottiswoode, 1948). There is 3 lady friend of the book’s subject, who in 1914 took him to Brighton : ” The car was long and narrow, low for those days, aluminium bonneted, with a vulpine look, the admiration of all beholders. Good women drivers were still rare; Eve’s wash-leather gloves held the wheel in a relaxed and confident way : her eyes sparkled, her teeth flashed: her brilliant complexion glowed against jet hair and a flaming yellow tam-o-shanter. When we punctured on the crest of Hindhead it was she, not I, who knew how to work the jack.” A fair picture of the lady driver of 1914, even if the snake of car remains a Mystery and the route from London to Brighton (later they stopped for Eve to smoke one of her tiny Cigars near Petersham Hill) seems rather unusual. The car by the way, belonged to Eve’s rich uncle. Other car references in this hook concern the Ford car and Fordson tractor used by a Canadian farmer in 1925, the baby Austin Y.B. owned in 1930 and in which he drove T. E. Lawrence on Dartmoor, his well thought of article on Dirt Track Racing when he was on the staff of The Spectator, ” the large Lincoln cars ” which the Soviet Government used in Leningrad in 1932, the Nfini-Novgorod plant. described as ” The biggest in the World,” for making Ford cars for Russia at that time, and a reminder that even as late as 1934 tram-lines extended along the Uxbridge Road for 20 miles. The following year we find Y.I3. covetous of a white Buick sports coupe, as advertised in the Saturday Evening Post.”

“Snakes & Ladders” by Marjory Todd (Longmans, 1960), a book depressing to anyone who has ever been close to poverty, has no motoring flavour but from it we learn that load, in his young days, drove very badly ” in a little open car” (5926), but again its make is not disclosed.—W. B.