“Bodies Beautiful” by John Mclellan. 192 pp. 10 in. x 6 1/2 in. (David & Charles Ltd., South Devon House, Newton, Devon. £5.25).
This book is far from the pot-boiler it could all too easily have been. Books about the history of coachbuilding and the development of motor-car bodywork are difficult to write but John Mclellan covers the subject very admirably, commencing with a discourse on the carriage trade when horses pulled the carriages and dealing with the design of such vehicles and how the presence of horses helped the artistic lines of them, which was something that was missing when bodies had to be put onto horseless carriages. The connection between the mail phaeton, the George IV phaeton, the spider, the high-flyer phaeton and other carriages, and the motor car, is gone into and constructional methods of the old masters revealed.
From there the history extends over all kinds of motor-body building, although when the Weymann flexible fabric-covered system is described in some detail and rival methods mentioned, I was surprised to find no inclusion of the Gordon England bodies. But otherwise the book ranges over most things, including unusual bodywork and racing machinery. George Oliver’s complementary book will still be essential reading for students but this one fills in many gaps and covers much ground. The illustrations are no more than adequate and the Index appears to have been an afterthought. On the whole, a most useful addition to collated knowledge.—W.B.