Books: April 2018

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Rule Britannia: When British sports cars saved a nation

John Nikas

It’s hard to recall that this country once had a major car industry made up of British owned brands but as this book by a life-long Anglophile relates it was one of the pillars which propped up a bankrupt country after WWII.

‘Export or die’ was the cry, and it was no empty threat: so vital were exports that for years you couldn’t buy a new car here, and if the Yanks weren’t that keen on Austin A30s, they loved Austin-Healeys, Jaguar, MGs, Aston Martins and the rest of our sports car offerings.

Each marque gets a section here, with handsome photography, although much of the background is available in other marque histories; thus the meat of the book really lies in the multiple prefaces and epilogue, which cogently analyse how crucial these flag-wavers were – and what a mess we made of our own industry. GC

Published by Coachbuilt Press
ISBN 978-0-9882733-8-2
, £75

 

Formula 1: Car by Car 1970-79

Peter Higham

This is partly a photographic reference work, partly a season-by-season guide to chassis evolution during one of the most distinctive decades in the sport’s history: turbines, six wheels, turbos, ground-effect aero, radial slicks, the Brabham BT46B fan car…

The source material lends itself particularly well to a book such as this – and all chassis are pictured in every livery in which they appeared. All shots have been collated from LAT – and given the time of their creation, repro quality is exceptionally good.

Most of us will be familiar with images of Ronnie Peterson defying the laws of physics in a Lotus 72, but the real delights are recalling some of the short-lived deals and one-offs – Mark Donohue’s McLaren M19 (Mosport Park 1971), Skip Barber’s March 711 (Watkins Glen ’72), Gérard Larrousse’s Brabham BT42 (Zolder ’74), Eppie Wietzes’ BT42 (Mosport ’74) and so on.

If you attempted to reproduce a book like this about the current era, it would be a great deal thinner – and have a fraction of the visual appeal. SA

Published by Evro
ISBN: 978-1-910505-22-9, £50

 

Donald Healey’s 8C Triumph Dolomite

Johnathan Wood

Jonathan Wood is well versed in the arcane side of motoring history, with a major book on the rare Squire already in his portfolio. This new work comprehensively brings us the tale of another product of one man’s mind – the stillborn 1934 Triumph Dolomite 8C, brainchild of Donald Healey.

With only two and a half built it doesn’t sound fertile ground, but Wood’s story of how and why Healey chose virtually to copy the finest car around, Alfa Romeo’s 8C 2.3, and what Alfa thought about it is riveting. He puts right the lawsuit rumour, illustrating with copious correspondence, press reports, brochures and drawings the genesis of would have been one of the great British sports cars – possibly called the Triumph-Alfa.

Embracing Healey’s entries on the Monte, the complex post-war rebuilds and racing story of the two survivors, plus generous photos of both at all stages, Wood’s account is a triumph – sorry – of research with huge amounts of previously unseen material. Published by the two owners, it’s an informative pleasure to look at and to read. GC

Published by Turner Whitworth
£75/Limited edition £150

 

Porsche 930 to 935

John Starkey

Thorough. That’d be Porsche 930 to 935, the turbo Porsches in a word. Not only does it turn back the history books right the way to the first turbochargers (“1905 to be precise”), the forced induction ships and World War II ’planes, but it recounts every single outing of every chassis. That includes the numerous privately prepared and developed cars – and doubles the book’s length…

So it’s the first 150-odd pages that will have more interest to most than the final 150.

It took Porsche six years to mate a 911 with a turbo, then another half-decade or so to make a success of it thanks in no small part to the work of the 917. Porsche’s 930 thus has a fascinating racing history, let alone its road-going heritage. From the RSR Turbo through the 934 to the huge Moby Dick and out again to Le Mans-winning 935, there’s a lot of story to tell.

But this is more a regimented tour of the many and varied technical details, all covered in eye-glazing detail. There’s a lack of colour – in photo and writing – but that isn’t the point. This is more a detailed document that celebrates a few Porsche icons. JP

Published by Veloce
ISBN: 978-1-787112-46-9, £50

 

Guy Martin: Road Racer

Stephen Davison

Belfast-based Stephen Davison is no stranger to this page – and there’s a good reason for that.

He has specialised in road racing photography for more than 25 years and is widely regarded as the master of his craft. His latest work ties in with the retirement – confirmed last summer, though liable to change given the subject’s capacity for whimsy – of Guy Martin, who in reality is only partly a road racer as his CV also embraces a lengthy career as a truck mechanic and a modicum of TV work…

Davison’s archive covers the full breadth of Martin’s career, from his race debut at Olivers Mount in 2003 through to a difficult swansong with Honda. And the images, whether candid or action, are uniformly superb. SA

Published by Blackstaff
ISBN: 978-0-856409-98-1, £25

 

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