EV Starr Snaps the '60s Speed Merchants book review

An unknown amateur photographer's work has surfaced in this new volume of unseen photos. Simon Arron scans the shots

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EV Starr caught some candid moments in an era when smiling wasn't uncool...

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George Monkhouse, Louis Klementaski, Bernard Cahier, Geoffrey Goddard, Michael Cooper… Motor racing was covered by some very fine photographers in times gone by – and there were others of equal gift.

It is unlikely, however, that you will have heard of Edwin Vernon Starr, at least until now.

While he shouldn’t be added to the group above, Starr (1912-2000) appears to have been a keen enthusiast with a handy knack for finding his way into the pits at major motor racing events, for which it seems he was never accredited. The title refers to the ticket price for the 1962 Silverstone International Trophy…

The book has been a long time planning. Co-author Tim Beavis acquired Starr’s archive at an auction in 2004 – and his desire to turn it into something tangible eventually gained momentum after he and Guy Loveridge discussed the possibility of publication (beer might have been involved). This is the result.

The images have never previously been seen publicly. Most of the content here is from the UK, though there are also shots from the 1961 Belgian GP at Spa and the 1967 French GP at Le Mans Bugatti. There is some action, reduced in scope by the limited access Starr had, but it’s the pit and paddock scenes that add zest. There are some wonderful portraits and cockpit studies of Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Chris Amon, Jack Brabham and others, plus Jacky Ickx looking about 12 and saloon racer Anita Taylor having a fag in the paddock at Oulton Park. (There is also a photo of Motor Sport’s Denis Jenkinson – “unusually smart”, says the caption! – listening to a chat between Clark and Tony Brooks.)

As well as the authors’ comprehensive notes, there are contributions from John Surtees – who rifled through some of the images at the Motor Sport Hall of Fame Awards in 2016, a year before he died – Jackie Oliver and former grand prix driver Jack Lewis.

It would be wrong to suggest that every photograph herein is a slice of artistic genius, but Mr Starr had a good eye to complement what was clearly an enterprising spirit. Nowadays, some drivers manage to sound miserable even when they’ve won a grand prix; the striking thing here is the abundance of smiling faces, drivers who were happy simply to be involved with the sport they loved – a refreshing snapshot of a different age.

Admission 76

Admission 7/6 – EV Starr Snaps the ’60s Speed Merchants

Tim Beavis & Guy Loveridge

DLP, £40
ISBN 9781900113144

 

 

Book reviews in brief, April 2021


Don’t wash mine

Kirk White

‘A car dealer’s memoirs’ sounds dry, but Ferrari specialist White’s tales cover handling truly fine machines (he bought a T57 Bugatti Atalante for $4000), running a race team, his involvement with Penske, Mark Donohue and the Sunoco Ferrari 512S, founding a classic auction business, trading and racing model cars, restoring motorbikes and hot rods and collecting tinplate toys. A bit of a ramble through deals, losses and bust-ups, but some lively tales of ‘Mr Unfair Advantage’ and racing. GC

Dalton Watson, £75
ISBN 9781854433121 

Vauxhall in motorsport

Mario and Edmund Lindsay

Between racing and rallying Vauxhall has a wide sporting history, collected here by two marque-mad brothers from 1904 to last year’s BTCC entrants. There’s plenty on the recent saloons but most will want to flick back to the famous days of Firenzas, both Berthas and the DTV Chevettes I recall so well blasting me with gravel in the forests. Self-published but a better-looking effort than most, with plenty of pictures and history plus info on teams and privateers, including the Lindsays and their Vauxhall exploits. GC

Available from: [email protected]
£14.95 plus £4.80 P&P

Shutter & speed 2

Gary Critcher

The first book in this series was a collage of curios – photographs the author has acquired, not all of professional quality but interesting because of the subjects they portrayed. This is not quite as diverse, but there are still numerous delights within – not least a reminder of why the perimeter road in Crystal Palace Park really should be turned back into a racetrack. And it’s not every day that you stumble upon photographs of a 1958 sprint at Catterick Army Camp… in colour. SA

iStudio21, £15 & p&p
ISBN 9780957501652