Reviews, August 2008

From the Fells to Ferrari
The Official Biography of Cliff Allison
Graham Gauld

Once Tony Brunskill decided not to complete his biography of Cliff Allison, Graham Gauld – after being gently prompted by Tony’s sister Pat – took over the reins. The result is an extremely in-depth, well researched and interesting book on the racing driver from Brough.

Gauld takes you from Allison’s humble beginnings in northern England where his love for riding – which came to an end when “he began to put on weight as a teenager” – gave way to a passion for racing cars. The work takes you through his relationship with Colin Chapman and on to the time he spent at Ferrari. An accident sadly ended his career at Spa in 1961, but that was not before he had managed to score points in Formula 1 and win the Argentinian 1000kms sports car race with Phil Hill.

The book includes his full race results and some great photos. However, for a biography that has been so intricately researched and well written, it’s a shame that the layout is so uninspiring and does less than justice to this multi-talented and very competitive sportsman. EF
Published by Veloce, ISBN 978 1 84584 150 8, £22.50

Inside IMSA’s legendary GTP Race Cars
The Prototype experience
J  A  Martin and Michael J Fuller

The Porsche 962 on the cover is that of Gianpiero Moretti, Massimo Sigala and Mauro Baldi, which had retired by lap 80 of the 1989 Daytona 24 Hours. So not an obvious subject, even if the colour scheme is bright. But then this book appears to revel in avoiding the obvious and plucking out the obscure.

This is a mightily impressive work. The evocative and much loved IMSA GTP series of 1981-93 inspired a generation of diverse, innovative, stunning – and some downright ugly – sports prototypes. And they are all here, from the early Lolas and Marches to the Nissans, Jaguars (Group 44 and TWR), Toyota Eagles, Intrepids and ubiquitous Porsches.

From David Hobbs’ foreword through the 14 car constructor-themed chapters and on to the three appendices, the detail is immense. The authors have spoken to most of the major designers and engineers, prising private photos and drawings from many, to guarantee the most thorough technical insight into the sister of European Group C racing you could wish for. DS
Published by PGUK, ISBN 978 0 7603 3069 2, £35

Lancia 037
The development & rally history of a World Champion
Peter Collins

The finest day’s driving I ever had was behind the wheel of a road-registered Lancia 037 in the Scottish Highlands, so I was quick to grab this comprehensive record of how Fiat-Lancia built its gorgeous rally winner.

Collins shows the wide range of ideas Lancia flirted with as Group B approached, including a complete tube-frame road-racer, before it chose to chop both ends off a Monte Carlo. Since he collaborated on this book with project engineer Sergio Limone, there is a great deal of inside information including pictures of plaster mock-ups, car one (not as pretty as the final version), the 4WD experiment and the stillborn Evo 3.

Collins interviews drivers and co-drivers as well as engineers. Action photos abound, along with a complete rally entry list and chassis histories, plus extras such as period adverts and technical drawings. Despite some niggling graphic quirks this is an excellent read, and not just because my Scottish drive is quoted at length… Foreword is by regular 037 pilot Walter Röhrl, who says his first thought on seeing an 037 was “what a lovely-looking car”. There’s a man with the right stuff. GC
Published by Veloce, ISBN 978 1 845840 76 1, £39.99

Team Lotus, The Indianapolis Years
Andrew Ferguson.

Ferguson was Team Lotus’ competitions manager during its ‘glory years’ at Indy, so was well placed to provide a fascinating inside account. A very detailed and thorough book reissued.
Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 1 84425 522 1, £30

Lola T70 (4th Edition), The Racing History & Individual Chassis Record
John Starkey.

As with previous editions, this provides a thorough look at the famous car, including the history and records of individual T70, T160 and T165 chassis.
Published by Veloce, ISBN 978 1 84584 189 8, £45

Audi Quattro Group B,
Ford Escort RS1800

Robson has dedicated a book to each of 16 rallying greats. The Quattro and Escort ones we’ve seen are useful little guides.
Published by Veloce, ISBN 978 1 84584 141 6 & 978 1 84584 140 9, £14.99 each