Book Reviews, April 1991, April 1991

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The Complete Jowett History by Peter Clark & Edmund Nankivell. 224pp. 11in x 8in. GT Foulis & Co Ltd, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7JJ. £29.99.

If you wait patiently, the few remaining places in important one-make histories will be filled. Here, for instance, is a very good book about the Yorkshire Jowett. These very British cars, from the original flat-twins, that ‘7hp engine with the big pull’ to the post-war Javelins and sporting Jupiters still have many followers, who will be delighted to have the complete history of them by a very enthusiastic band of writers. Apart from a long piece on Jowett in Lord Montagu’s long-defunct magazine, the subject has seldom been tackled in its entirety.

This welcome Jowett book is the work of members of the Jowett CC, and although it is attributed to Clark and Nankivell, they have the benefit of close co-operation from Michael Eoch-Osborne, William Jowett’s grandson, Mike Smailes who is notably knowledgeable about the sporting activities of the make and drives his Jupiter in Historic Car events, Ian Priestley, the Club Secretary and pre-war Registrar, Dennis Goode the Bradford expert, and competition driver Geoff McAuley who owns four post-war Jowetts and uses his Javelin daily. With such a team it would be astonishing if the book were other than excellent.

This it is, and comprehensive to a degree. It also has a wide ranging selection of fascinating pictures to back up the story. Apart from the expected coverage of the twins and flat-fours, Bradford and Javelin and Jupiter, every other conceivable Jowett vehicle seems to have been included, and as the writing team is distinctly competition-minded, that side of the history has certainly not been neglected. So a worthwhile full coverage, with a fine colour-plates section, the pictures here mainly by Mr McAuley.

I have always had a soft spot for Jowetts and this book is a splendid tribute to these individualistic cars. Looking for possible omissions, I had to admit defeat! It is all there, their publicity stunt of driving Jowetts through a sewer, the sports models and the JJ Hall 12-hour record Jowett, the post-war models taking part in every kind of competition, the Jowett personalities, the brothers William and Ben, Horace Grimley, Ron Lane, the Joplings, Charles Grandfield, Gerald Palmer etc, some of whom I knew when Motor Sport was also running Jowetts, all adding to the enjoyment. Among the illustrations there are factory and engineering shots, that all-purpose four-seater, the early Chummy and glasshouse saloons which people actually bought, War Office trials, the prototypes, commercials and specials, even a front photographic cover from the late-lamented Light Car & Cyclecar, a Jowett ascending a 1:1.84 plank gradient and a Jowett milkvan, to match the one in that great A7 tome. I hope I have convinced you that this book has it all. And did you know that Jowett built caterpillar-tracked tractors and made engines for the Hillson Praga light aeroplane?

A true treat for all Jowetters, this one. I like it. — WB

***

Ferrari GTO — The Classic Experience by Alan Lis. 144 pp. 10-1/4in x 7-1/4in. GT Foulis & Co Ltd, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7JJ. £15.99.

There have been so many books about Ferrari cars that one more might pass unnoticed. So we hasten to explain that the idea behind this well-contrived offering is, according to the publishers, to explore from an exciting new angle a car which in Le Mans-winning form could be used even for shopping trips if its owner was prepared to wait for its potent V12 engine to warm up first, looking at the GTO from the recollections of designers, engineers, drivers, mechanics and others.

Even this has been attempted before but Lis, who writes for the Daily Telegraph and other papers, has done it very neatly in a Haynes’ book in their new “Classic Experience” series. The many aspects of the Ferrari GTO are well covered, especially its racing record, and there are quotes about it from Phil Hill, Olivier Gendebien, lnnes Ireland, John Minney, Count Misurata, Bob Grossman, Roy Salvadori, David Piper, Jacques Swaters, Donald McLeod and Charles Hayes. These and other drivers such as Jack Sears, John Surtees, Sutcliffe, Salmon and others describe actual driving sensations and there are other quotes from those who really knew the GTO.

The pictures are good, including colour, so here is a compact reference to the GTO and another Ferrari title for book collectors. — WB

***

Rallyworld Edited by Peter Foubister, 160pp. 9in x12-1/4in. Tudor Journals Ltd, 97-99 Botanic Avenue, Belfast, BT7 1JN. £12.95

As Autocourse is to the Grand Prix scene so Rallyworld is fast becoming to the rallying fraternity. Now in its sixth year of publication this highly glossy and colourful softback book is a marvellous memento of the past season’s rallying. Apart from the chapters on the individual World Rally Championship rounds, there are interesting features on Armin Schwarz, Luis Moya, Mike Doughty, Juha Kankkunen and Stuart Turner.

The graphics are good and the reports excellent: it is just a pity that there are quite so many adverts, but I suppose it has helped keep the cost of this admirable publication down to £12.95.

***

lam Bamsey, the prolific author of a huge number of motor racing books, is now trying his hand at publishing a quarterly journal, a 30-page, 8-1/2in x 12in softback publication which can only be bought from selected retailers.

Entitled Racecar Engineering, the publication is a kind of depositary for those stories of Bamsey’s for which there is neither a book about to be published nor sufficiently topical enough to interest many magazine editors. I am sure that this quarterly publication will take some time to catch on, but once recognised for what it is, it will become a much sought after journal. — WPK

***

A new title in the GT Foulis “Autofolio Collection” covers the Bentley 4-1/2 – Supercharged, in other words, the famous blower 4-1/2-Bentley. It is by Michael Hay, so the research is guaranteed. Ever an intriguing subject, this is an attractive pocket-history of these cars.

It is all there — racing exploits, specifications, interesting notes on individual cars, the oft-told development and demise story, a breakdown of the Birkin cars, etc. I like the description of how the Villiers supercharger could be removed by the factory, at a cost pre-war of £11.15/- but they kept the parts removed. There are lots of pictures, the colour ones by David Sparrow, which were taken in modern times, which explains the intrusion of leggy girls, actually pushing a blower-4-1/2 in one shot!

“Homer” Hay, however, has nodded here and there; the successful 1914 GP Mercedes, for example, was hardly “using Henri principles”, because they had single oh-camshafts, Gallop worked for Zborowski, not at Highbury, N London, but at Higham in Kent, “Scrap” Thistlethwayte’s initials were TH not TADC, and 0.33 mph should be added to his speed at which Cobb is said to have broken the Brooklands’ lap record. And can 6.00 x 21 tyres be bought for about £100? — WB

***

The 1991 Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland has just been published (for the 18th time) and provides an up to date guide to all the better eating holes and hotels in the country. A useful companion to have in the cubbyhole of your car, even if some of the establishments recommended are far beyond the pockets of mere mortals. Good value though at £8.95

***

FIA Formula 1 World Championship. 78/71 …. A Clear Decision. FOCA/Duke Marketing. 120 mins. £24.95

You may think that having recorded the season’s races on your video you have no need to buy this production, but you would be wrong.

78/71. . . A Clear Decision — the title reflects the points earned by Senna and Prost at the end of the season — contains a large amount of footage which has hitherto remained unscreened, the most memorable of which is Roberto Moreno’s emotion at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix, although the view of the Senna/Prost accident as seen from the camera on Mansell’s car is almost as noteworthy.

£24.95 may seem a lot of money, but this is an excellent production. — WPK