Book reviews, August 1984, August 1984

“Audi Quattro — the development & competition history” by Jeremy Walton. 267 pp. 10 in 6½ in (Haynes Publishing Group, Sparkford, YeoviI, Somerset BA22 7JJ. £14.95).

I had been wondering what had happened to Jeremy Walton until this near-topical, comprehensive book by him all about the controversial Audi Quattro arrived for review. The story is excellently told, acknowledging help given by Mike Greasley of Motoring News. There are chapters on not only the origins, development and concept of the Quattro but about the very beginnings of Audi themselves. These are followed by those about how the four-wheel-drive Audi was rallied, its successes and doubts, the men and women who drive it. and so on, together with masses of very clear pictures and four Appendices covering the technical aspects, specifications, production and sales figures and how the Quattro fared in the World Rally Championships of 1981-83. with some dramatic pictorial coverage of the 1984 rally scenes.

So here is the very book for all those affected by “Quattrophenia”, which is the book’s sub-title. It is dedicated to Greasley “who turned a racing spectator into a rally enthusiast” and the Foreword is by Hannu Mikkola. — W.B.

“Zeppelin!” by Raymond Laurence Rimell. 256 pp, 12 in x 9 in. (Conway Maritime Press Ltd, 24, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 8DR. £25.00).

The First World War has receded far into the distant past, now a part of history, but grim as the “Great War” was, it is a significant aspect of human conflict, the first time war had been carried to the civilian population on a scale hitherto unknown. Thus the German zeppelin raids on Great Britain were regarded in 1915-1917 with something of the awe in which we now hold nuclear and germ warfare, especially until it was discovered that even the silently floating zepps could be brought down, in, as the author says, the strangest battle in the history of armed combat. The author of this new book on this gruesome, but fascinating subject has spent years researching what occurred and he has dug out a great many contemporary photographs and newspaper reports to weld his intriguing story together. The standard work of reference to the airship raids on this country is “The Zeppelin in Combat” by Douglas Robinson (Foulis, three editions, 1968-71), duly reviewed in this column. His help is acknowledged by Rimell whose new book adds to the story and could be termed the more “popular” coverage of the subject. It is full of fascinating asides about the fate of the zeppelins brought down by RFC fighters — how the escaped officers and crews were arrested, perhaps by a lone village “bobby”, the reactions of the locals to the descent of flaming monsters in quiet countryside, how these zeppelins were guarded and the steps taken to apprehend and fine souvenir hunters, the graves and memorials to the zeppelin’s crews and the hero worship quite rightly accorded to the pilots who shot them down.

I found all this of absorbing interest and only hope the buyers for Public Libraries agree, so that those unable to afford the cost of the book can also enjoy it. It covers the flights that terminated in disaster of LZ37, SL11, L23 and L33 brought down on the same day in September 1916, L31, L34, L21, L22, L24, L48, L23, L70 and L53. Seven Appendices give information about Home Defence Squadrons, airship and aeroplane technicalities, Rolls of Honour for the dead of both sides, camouflage data, and statistics of the raids. The Foreword is by Air Marshal Sir Frederick B. Sowrey, KCB, CBE, AFC and a bibliography and index are provided. The large pages enhance the many unique pictures and diagrams, some of which will perhaps encourage readers to motor to see what remains of buildings, sites and memorials relating to the zepp raids. All manner of interesting things arise from this book. It is a sad reflection on human degradation that whereas today terrorists kill and maim indiscriminately, when Wicker, commanding L33, had force-landed after being damaged by a BE2c flown by Brandon and had decided to fire the remains of his ship, he first sent members of his crew to warn the occupants of near-by cottages of the impending explosion — in fact, they were so alarmed they refused to open the doors. Lt W. O. Bentley, “the distinguished engine designer”, is reported as visiting the wreck. All this is graphically depicted in the text and the 300 or more pictures in this excellent book, even if the author relies much on newspaper reports that may not have been 100 per cent accurate. It is, however, 100 per cent readable, quite enthralling.

For those who think only in terms of motor vehicles, the book illustrates the LGOC ‘bus damaged in a raid on London’s theatreland in 1915, Robinson and Sowrey in the Prince Henry Vauxhall (LP 6803) which the former, as a zepp-straffing pilot, purchased with money donated to him by grateful, wealthy patriots and which is thought to have probably been auctioned later and bought by an Essex farmer, and the truck which brought Army and Naval Officers to the scene of the crash of L48 at Thebetton, Sussex, in June 1917, captioned as a Crossley tender but actually a small Napier (LP 4553).

Altogether. this is a splendid portrayal of a period long ago, unbelievable to the present generation until their education is extended by Rimell’s text and pictures. He is now working on a study of German bombing aeroplaries of the First World War, which I avidly await. — W.B.


The Sporting CC of South Australia has issued its seventh “Motoring History Book”, consisting of 52 large pages of reproductions of old photographs ot cars comprising the vintage scene in Australia. These are of great interest and nostalgia to those who pioneered popular motoring in Australia. The captions contain information about owners, such data seemingly more freely available -down-under” than from our DVLC, bodywork by Australian coachbuilders, and in some cases numbers of a given car that were sold there. So the book will be valuable to all historians, its accuracy ensured as the Editor is G. H. Brooks. The cars included embrace many American makes, naturally, of the 1919 to 1930 period, but there are also such rare makes as Spark, Summit and a home-built Ziff cyclecar, as we browse from AG to Wolseley. From some ol the captions the reason why certain cars were unsuited to Australian conditions is revealed. The book has some fascinating general motoring shots, as well as pictures of individual cars and one is struck by the similarity of normal vintage Australian to British motoring conditions. HRH The Prince of Wales is seen in a Crossley but also in one of the 14 Dodge Bros tourers used as back-up cars during his 1920 tour, there is an Amilcar on the front cover, one of two of which one was raced, a trans-Australian Th. Schneider to whet, perhaps, the appetite of the President of our own VSCC (12 hr 10 min, Adelaide-Melbourne) other such record contenders, a racing Paige. and a garage advertising Gold Crown Benzine, the petrol with a punch”, and where the hire-car was a Bianchi tourer. My favourite picture is of the picnic staged by the Adelaide Citroën agents, this one on a wet day so that the hoods on all 30 or so Citroëns are up and Mrs Hilder McBride, not having one on her Caddy Sports model, has her umbrella open . . . The publishers are the SCC of South Australia. 260, Portrush Road, Beulah Park, S. Australia, 5067. —W.B.

MRP have published Dennis Foy’s book “Escort Performance”, which is a practical guide to modification and tuning for road and competition of these Fords, modestly priced at £6.95, and from the Haynes Publishing Group comes Tristan Wood’s “Drive It! — The Complete Book of Formula 2 Motor Racing”, with a Foreword by Jonathan Palmer, which looks at various aspects of this class of motor racing, the price being, again, only £6.95. — W.B.

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The latest offerings from Kimberley’s, of 19 Heath View, London, N2 0QD, are “The Triumph TR5/250 and TR6 Companion” by Steven Rossi and Ian Clarke, and a similar but soft-cover book on the Range Rover by Stuart Bladon. Both are priced at £8.95. — W.B.


The little but entirely fascinating book, “Flying For Fun”, by Jack Parham, 96 pages packed with the joys of owning a light aeroplane before the war, does not contain descriptions of forced-landings, except for the final one, but there are accounts of getting Aeronca G-ABHE into small fields, after experimenting with the proper way to fly it and maintain it. Part of a letter from a former owner of this very small aeroplane is quoted and I find it interesting that he was C. M. C Turner, who used to race a Gwynne Special at Brooklands up to 1927 (it was burnt out during the JCC 200 Mile Race that year, so perhaps that turned him to buying the Aeronca) and whom I interviewed for MOTOR SPORT some years ago. — W.B.

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In the Brooklands series of reproduced information about different makes of cars, the publishers, of “Holmerise”, Seven Hills Road, Cobham, Surrey, now offer two more to add to this vast library, namely, “AC Ace & Aceca 1953/83” and “Shelby Mustang Muscle Cars 1965/70”, the former containing MOTOR SPORT’s report on the 1961 Rudd-modified Ford Zephyr-engined AC Ace. We note that continuation pages are sometimes carried forward, a bad habit MOTOR SPORT grew out of years ago, but this does not impair the knowledge imparted. These books are priced at £5.50 each, or at £6.00 each if ordered direct from Brooklands Books. — W.B.


Three more of Haynes “Super Profiles”, which we have described previously, have been published, these being “Cobra” by Rod Grainger, “Lotus Seven” by Graham Arnold, and “Corvette Stingray 1963-1967” by Bob Ackerson. Each one of these uniform, largely pictorial pieces (with colour pictures) of knowledgeable information sells for £4.95.


The Ford Side-Valve Club has issued various useful books about these cars but now more professionally for those who can afford £10.95, Osprey of 12 / 14, Long Acre, London, WC2E 9LP have come up with Dave Turner’s “Ford Popular And The Small Sidevalves”, a 192-page book, 10 in x7½ in, that says it all, including sports versions, specials, unusual uses for the small L-head Ford engines, even to a mechanical-elephant so powered, etc. There are many pictures, reproductions of contemporary Ford material, etc, and commercials are included. Unlike the Club’s books, MOTOR SPORT road-tests are ignored and L. M. Ballamy is called “Bellamy”. But very interesting to Ford fans, and perhaps to those hoping to run reduced-tax pre-1947 cars. — W.B.