Book Reviews, December 1953, December 1953

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“Floyd Clymer’s Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Yearbook, 1953.”

112 pages, 11 in. by 9 in. (Floyd Clymer Publications, 1268 So. Alvarado Street, Los Angeles 6, California. 1.50 dollars.)

This book deals with every conceivable aspect of the great race at Indianapolis, laced with innumerable pictures. There is plenty of technical matter as well as racing and personality news and pictures and these Yearbooks comprise a truly fitting history of America’s classic race. – W.B.

 

“Unbalanced Cranks,” by W. H. Charnock, 39 pages, 4 3/4 in. by 7 1/2 in. (Published by the Author, The Grev House, High Salvington, Worthing, 6s.)

This is another of Bill Charnock’s pithy and inimitable motoring verses, covering a multitude of subjects and sins. Just the job for a Christmas present for the motor-minded (as distinct from narrow-minded) wife or girl-friend you can read it yourself first ! – W. B.

 

“Fibreglass Auto Body Construction,” by John A. Wills, 95 pages, 8 1/2 in. by 5 1/4 in. (Dan R. Publications, Arcadia, California.)

This is a clearly printed booklet illustrated with Motor Trend pictures explaining the principles of glas-fibre body construction and listing sources of supply of value to American readers.

 

“A.M.D.G.E. Catalogue,” 660 pages. (Association of Manufacturers and Distributors of Garage Equipment, 11, Ironmonger Lane, London, E.C.2, £2 2s.)

This is a comprehensively illustrated catalogue and price list of service station and garage equipment, claimed to be the most comprehensive catalogue of such equipment published in any country in the world. It is of great value to service stations, transport organisations, hauliers and industrial transport managers, and the ordinary car enthusiast will find much useful equipment listed therein. Association members absorbed the first run, but reprints are in hand, at approximately £2 2s., and should be ordered now.

 

“Oil.” 120 pages. 7 in. by 9 in. (Cassell &. Co., Ltd., 37/38, St. Andrew’s Hill, Queen Victoria Street, E.C.4. 8s. 6d.)

This beautifully produced and illustrated volume in the publishers’ “British Industries” series serves as a very useful introduction to and explanation of a commodity of tremendous political and everyday influence.

 

“British Cars-1953,” by Peter Chambers. 56 pages. 8 1/2 in. by 7 in. (P.C. Publications, 7, Newhall Street, Birmingham 3. 6s.)

This annual reference work covers 36 makes and contains 88 photographs, mostly manufacturers’ hand-outs, and the badge of each make covered, as well as a table of specifications.

 

“The John Cobb Story,” by S. C. H. Davis. (Foulis, 7, Milford Lane, W.C.2, 12s. 6d. ; 111 pp., 5 1/2 in. by 6 1/2 in.)

This long-awaited biography of the late John Cobb, holder of the Land Speed and Brooklands Lap Records, is written by “Sammy” Davis in his usual style. He covers the outer-circuit, road-racing and record work of Cobb, including many amusing stories and fresh incidents. Any disappointment felt is due to lack of new technical detail concerning the cars Cobb drove. But of his record attempts much is revealed, “Sammy” having obviously been present in person and one meets again those personalities of an era which now seems aeons away in time – an era of Brooklands, the Napier-Railton and the B.R.D.C.’s 500 Mile Race.

For these memories alone Davis’ book is essential to the motor-racing enthusiast and he is so absolutely fair to Cobb in every way, while not afraid to reveal his few weaknesses and foibles. Indeed, this nostalgic story, fine tribute to a driver so modest as to be rather more out of the public eye than many less accomplished, is too short. I, for one, wanted more. It was, for example, amusing to learn of the adventures suffered by a French tank summoned to pull the damaged Napier-Railton out of the Montlhéry in-field, but I should have liked to have been told how the huge car was transported to Montlhéry from England. Yet this story, concerned mostly with the mid-thirties onwards, occupies 111 pages, Davis has made a fine job of it. – W. B.

 

Those who like motoring cartoons should not fail to spend half-a-dollar on Raymond Groves’ collection, entitled Pit-Stop.” His foreword, too, is well written. Available for 2s. 9d., post free, from 159, Praed Street, W.2.

 

The latest British Road Federation publication is entitled “No Road” and costs 1s. It contains excellent photographs of scenes on British roads. Such pictures are usually very pleasing but not so in this case; they are not intended to be, for they show severe instances of congestion on various of our trunk routes. This is striking propaganda on a subject which H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh threw into prominence in his speech at the opening of the Earls Court Motor Show. Copies are obtainable from 4a, Bloomsbury Square, W.C.1. – W. B.

 

Hobbs Transmission, Ltd., have issued a nicely-produced booklet on the functioning of the Hobbs automatic transmission, a topical study. Copies may be obtained from them, at Sydenham House, 78, Russell Terrace, Leamington Spa.