A bit behind the times

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by Kenneth Neve. I76pp. 81/4″ 51/4″. (Grenville Publishing Co, Standard House, Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4DA. £7.95 plus 55p UK postage)

How could any vintage-car enthusiast not read this charming little book? The formation and activities of the VSCC are already well-documented, of course, for Peter Hull wrote its history many years ago, and to celebrate its Jubilee it published its own fascinating review using articles from its celebrated Bulletin, and another publication which dealt light-heartedly with its aims and achievements. These centred on the club as a whole, but it is the even more light-hearted but nonetheless sincere activities of the somewhat independent Northern Section which Neve covers here.

He is well qualified to do so, for he played a very prominent part in the formation of the “local” section, which comes over splendidly in the story.

Neve also details all his own motoring activities, in which he has shown maximum dedication and enthusiasm. The 30/98 which drew him into VSCC circles in the first place and which was driven by his late wife Jo to whom the book is dedicated), the motor-cycles he rode and raced before that, his 500cc Specials, his later days with Bugatti, the 1914 TT Humber and Edwardians, and his love of Rolls-Royce engineering — all are recalled in compelling style.

Be you Bugatti, Bentley or Rolls-Royce follower, you should read of Neve’s associations with, and opinions of, vintage and pvt cars. Racing, of course, also comes into the book’s scope, and the foreword is by Count Giovanni Lurani. The many pictures are very good, and almost all “new”.

The author’s amusing anecdotes make this an enjoyable account of his motoring life, in keeping with the VSCC’s creed of not taking itself too seriously. WB

Whatever the motor racing pundits might say, television coverage of Formula One has increased its popularity very considerably and the BBC deserves enormous congratulation for this. Even if it has become fun to single out the mistakes made by the legendary Murray Walker, the experts are not above watching his coverage, as Frank Williams admits in the foreward to Murray’s book about the 1987 season, entitled Murray Walker’s Grand Prix Year.

This neatly covers all the Championship races from Murray’s angle, although we would like to have rather more about his own technical arrangements and problems. However he provides enough to set the scene for each race, and this well-produced and sensibly-bound little 144 page volume does almost as much as the expensive coffee-table tomes do in F1 coverage. It is, after all, written by someone who had a close-up view.

The colour pictures, mostly from John Townsend’s camera, are small but adequate, and cover the racing, the drivers and the backgrounds. There is a valuable team analysis for each race and tabulated results, grids and championship positions, I confess to not scouring the text for “Murray clangers”!

Since this thoroughly worthwhile work costs but £5.95, you can save lots of petrol-money by buying it instead of those big glossy tomes. The publishers are Clifford Frost Ltd of Lyon Road, Wimbledon SW19 25E, in conjunction with ICI. WB

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