Cooper cars

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by Unique Motor Books

Published by Unique Motor Books, £8.95. ISBN: 1 901 977 447

Many of you will be familiar with the products of Unique Motor Books and therefore unsurprised to see the absence of an author for this title about Cooper Cars.

It is, in fact, a compilation of reports, tests and technical information published in, among others The Autocar, Cars Illustrated, Sporting Motorist and Sportscar Illustrated, the items dating from between 1956 and 1983.

Sadly, these reports are not carefully bound reprints but a collation of variable quality photocopies glued within a cover generic to the Unique Motor Books brand, on the same principle as the better-known Brooklands Books. It is emphatically not a work to be cherished, and, to be fair, for £8.95, we should not expect so much.

Its appeal is in its convenience. Anyone wishing to bone up on contemporary views of Coopers (all bar two extracts are taken from the years of and the three either side of its back-to-back championship seasons) as it emerged from its life as a constructor principally of Formula Three cars into a World Championship Grand Prix marque will find it all here: how the marque came to dominate Formula One, how the mid-engine philosophy turned accepted F1 practice on its head and, as it did, humbled the might of Ferrari.

You can quibble with the fact that, because the original magazines were not all the same size, the text does not occupy the same space, use the same layout or even the same typeface from page to page, and there’s no doubting that some authors were considerably more proficient behind a typewriter than others. What you cannot deny however, is that it would take days of research in a variety of libraries and cost vast amounts of money to acquire the information which is so inexpensively presented in this one flimsy volume. And if it’s the information that counts for you, rather than having the sort of book you want to leave around for visitors to admire, you have good reason to go and acquire a copy of this book.

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