Book Reviews, April 1968, April 1968

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“Fast and Furious—The Story of the World Championship Drivers” by Richard Garrett. 200 pp., 9¼ in. x 5¾ in. (Stanley Paul & Co. Ltd., 178-202, Great Portland Street, London, W.1. 25s.)

In spite of its title, this is not really a book for serious students of motor racing. Rather is it a book which explains to the uninitiated what modern Grand Prix motor racing is all about. It covers the usual facets of such studies—why men do it, how they do it, how dangerous it is, and what are the monetary rewards. After looking at such matters as they affect contemporary racing drivers, the author uses the 1967 World Championship races on which to build his story.

The book is well written, but is superficial when compared with magazine reports of these races or specialised annuals about the same subject: Yet it is readable, not expensive, and it contains some very good pictures of well-known drivers and their wives. Naturally, it has already dated, which is inevitable and is admitted by the author. Technically the text may be found not so much wanting as inadequate. But one feels that the author, although he confesses that he drives a family car and would be much too afraid to race, and who sees racing from the angle of a free-lance general journalist (Garrett is currently Editor of a Shell-Mex B.P. monthly), likes motor racing and is on our side. There have been many lesser books about the Sport, some of which, written from much the same angle, have done it harm, which this one does not. The Foreword is by Graham Hill, who welcomes a book about “the human side of the business,”—W. B.

———

“Drivecraft” by Geoffrey Goodwin, 463 pp., 8¾ in. x 5½ in. (Barrie & Rockliff, 2, Clement’s Inn, London, W.C.2. 42s.)

This book covers most aspects of driving properly. We cannot think that many of our readers will wade right through it, because you either drive a car well or you don’t, and experience on the road is far more valuable than any amount of paper study in progressing front the former to the latter state. But today there are driving tests to pass and advanced and high performance driving is openly discussed. So this big book may be of interest to some of those drivers who, unlike a certain policeman, believe that safe, fast driving can be accomplished by others than specially trained police drivers. At all events Stirling Moss and Lord Montagu think so.

The Foreword is by Bill Hartley and the book is aimed particularly at driving instructors.—W. B.

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A soft-cover history of Atkinson Vehicles Ltd., and its products, from 1907 to 1967 (60 pp., 8¼ in. x 11¼ in.) should interest commercial vehicle enthusiasts. The book has many fascinating illustrations, including diagrams, although some of the pictures are not very well reproduced. The text is difficult to read on the colour pages but is nevertheless fascinating, covering as it does Atkinson steam waggons, oil-engined lorries from 1930 onwards, 60,000 such chassis being built by 1967 (surely the “Rolls-Royce” of the commercial world?) and railway locos. The author refers to short-comings as well as merits in the vehicles he is describing, and some hectic journeys by works personnel are mentioned. The Preface is by Mr. A. W. A. Allen, Chairman of the company, and there is a detailed list of the steam waggons built by Atkinson between 1916 and 1929, with Reg. and maker’s numbers and original owners. The book is indexed. It is available for 21s. post free, from Atkinson Vehicles Ltd., Walton-Le-Dale, Preston, Lanes., on mentioning Motor Sport.

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The quarterly Italian magazine Style Auto and the FIA Year Book of Automobile Sport are both available in this country, Style Auto from Chater and Scott, 524-530 High Street, London, W.4., and the Year Book from, P.S.L., Brooks House, Upper Thames Street, London, E.C.4. The 1968 edition of the Year Book costs 20s. The magazine costs 29s. 6d. soft cover, 42s. 6d. in hard cover form, post free and should interest those engaged in car styling, body building, etc.