Book Reviews, December 1952, December 1952

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“The Times Survey of the British Motor Industry, 1952.” (64 pp. 10½ in. by 13½ in., The Times Publishing Co., Ltd., Printing House Square, E.C.4, 2s. 6d.)

Amongst a growing number of publications which are really catalogues of British cars, this Times Survey—now in its second year —stands out because it is beautifully produced on art paper with many lavish colour advertisements and because it contains some authoritative articles. The latter include “A Designer Looks Ahead” by Alec Issigonis, now of Alvis Ltd., Walter L. Fisher’s review of “Raw Materials,” some splendid colour photographs and Roy Nockolds’ colour illustrations of races and rallies, a disquisition on the “Component Industry” by R. H. Clark, details of well-known factories and Philip Turner’s account of new techniques in servicing modern cars.

Clearly, The Times is aware that cars have to be built and serviced as well as sold. This is an excellent half-dollar’s worth. It is significant that the Editorial refers to the 360-c.c. Citroen and suggests that there may be a need for a new approach to the economy-car problem.—W.B.

 

“British Motor Cars,” edited by John F. Speed, A.M.I.Mech.E. (172 pp., 7½ in. by 9¼ in. G. T. Foulis & Co., Ltd., 7, Milford Lane, London, W.C.2, 12s. 6d.)

This is yet another directory of modern British cars, produced by Publicity and Editorial Services, Ltd., for the S.M.M.T. and published by Foulis. The production is of a high standard and where this reference work scores over others of the same kind is in the authoritative contributions contained therein. Apart from pictures of every British car and well set out specifications including performance data, there is the Society’s Presidential Letter, an article on the Society’s history and aims, W. H. Whiteland, A.I.Mech.E., on “Oil-filters,” A. G. B. Owen, O.B.E., on “The Industry’s Specialists,” Dudley Noble on “Production Car Successes,” W. Boddy on “British Cars That Have Made History,” Raymond Parmenter on “A New Approach to Standardisation,” L. P. Lord of Austin’s, on “Britain’s Lead in the Export Field,” Sir Roland Smith of Ford’s, on “Goodwill Follows Good Service,” R. F. Hanks of the Nuffield Organisation, on “The Role of the English Small Car,” Sir Charles Bartlett of Vauxhall on “Success in World Markets is Vital” and David Brown on “The Quality Car.” In addition, the Editor tells you about choosing a car and Chief Sub. W. M. Taylor, Senior Instructor at the Metropolitan Police Driving School, how to drive it correctly when you have bought it.

 

“Car Driving as an Art,” by S. C. H. Davis. (187 pp., 5½ in. by 8¾ in., Iliffe & Sons, Ltd., Dorset House, Stamford Street, S.E.1, 10s. 6d.)

“Sammy” Davis has put into this book all he knows about driving cars fast yet safely. You probably know 80 per cent. of it already, yet read on, fascinated. There is much fun to be derived from the fact that the book is illustrated not only by very clear diagrams but by real photographs of Sammy and his son doing the various manoeuvres in Sammy’s TD M.G. and Wolseley cars. There are even references to driving odd and special vehicles, such as an 1897 Bollee, steam, electric and turbo-jet cars. The section on “Safety on the Road,” is illustrated with diagrams of cars mixing it with trams and bicycles, such as were current in the motor papers of the twenties.

This book is typically Sammy Davis. Some of it is superficial, such as dismissing the driving of a turbo-jet car with “(they) make unusual noises but are otherwise very easy to handle. They accelerate quite well from a standstill if the turbine in revved-up while the car is held on the brake, then that brake released.” Rover engineers, note that “quite well”! Much of it you will enjoy. The notes on driving in foreign countries, the International road signs, etc., lend great value.

But before Davis finally lays down his hard-used pen, will he please give us the real inside story of his career as a motoring journalist? In this very book under review he mentions a Roman Wall, but without reminding us that he drove on from the 1924 London-Edinburgh Trial to see it, in a new sports edition of the Riley Twelve, before returning fast to Brooklands for the Bank Holiday racing or of the adventures he experienced in so doing. Please, Sammy!—W.B.