Original Ferrari V8 by Keith Bluebell by Bay View Books, £19.95, ISBN: 1 870979 78 8
This is a book seemingly stuck with an identity crisis. Read the introduction and you’ll see the book attempts to unravel the ‘specification evolution’ of the road-going Maranello V8s produced between 1974-94, and yet the front cover bills the work as a “restorer’s guide.”
Taken as a chronological record of the changes that affected each car, it succeeds totally, thanks to the extraordinary attention to detail with which Bluemel has pursued his quarry. As a guide book for restorers, though, it misses the mark by a mile, as you’d expect from a photo-heavy book of just 128 pages addressing six entirely different models of Ferrari.
So let us forget the restoration side and, instead, concentrate on what this book does well. For those fascinated by these cars, it is a mine of technical information from valve clearances to suspension geometry. All areas of each car are plundered in headed sections so that by the end of a chapter there is little left you wish to know. My only beef here is that one more section describing the driving experience too would have added both authority and interest to the book. Even so, the author’s style is pleasantly and appropriately straightforward, helping the book work better as a work of reference to be dropped into rather than a cover to cover yarn.
The only real disappointment is the inconsistent standard of photography and the unimaginative layouts. Ferraris photograph better than most but to see so many photographs plagued by shadows, reflections, messy background and often slack composition is a shame and stands out, particularly as the some of the very simple, elegant studies contained in the book are quite pleasing.
In the end, it’s a book that fans of this breed of Ferrari should not be without. Less partisan readers will find staying away rather easier. AF