Books for Xmas

Although motoring is now a seasonal occupation, there are days and nights when, for the next three months, motoring on paper is often preferable to motoring on the roads of this country! Consequently, Motor Sport has saved up reviews of recent motoring and aviation books for this December issue. Before reviewing these recent varied titles we propose briefly to suggest from amongst earlier books a nucleus for a motoring library.

In this respect reference books suggest themselves, although lighter reading can supplement such works, and one-make histories, accounts of particular races, etc., are more a matter of individual selection. As a pretty comprehensive record of motor racing from the beginning of things to almost the present-day your would-be librarian needs “A Record of Motor Racing,” by Gerald Rose (Motor Racing Publications), which takes him from the advent of the sport up to 1906 and “The Grand Prix Car,” in two big volumes, by Laurence Pomeroy, which is the classic, comprehensive account of the racing car, technical and historical, from 1907 up to -present times, exceedingly rich in good illustrations. As a quick reference to these times there is “Grand Prix Facts and Figures,” by George Monkhouse (Foulis), useful for its tabulated results of the World’s races from 1895 onwards. To these established reference works may be added The History of Brooklands Motor Course,” by William Boddy (Grenville), that fabulous 300,000 word, copiously-illustrated history of so much British racing, both amateur and professional, because this book covers all the classic long-distance races which took place at the Weybridge Track, such as the J.C.C. “200,” B.R.D.C. “500,” Empire Trophy, International Trophy, British G.P. “Double Twelve,” etc., etc., and in its fascinating pages you meet so many cars and personalities famous in other spheres than Brooklands, some of those men and machines still active today. For a detailed technical study of post-war G.P. cars there are the slim annual volumes in the “Motor Sport Racing Car Review” series, by Denis Jenkinson (Grenville). A study of sports car development is offered in “The Sports Car,” by John Stanford (Batsford) and vintage cars are covered admirably in a book on the subject by the same publisher, the combined work of Cecil Chilton and Stanford. There is insufficient space in which to deal with the many one-make histories, technical works and motoring biographies which are available, but we are always pleased to advise prospective purchasers of such books. Motor racing autobiography commenced in 1906 with “Ten Years of Motors and Motor Racing,” by Charles Jarrott, recently reprinted, and was continued by Segrave, Davis, Birkin and others. Students of aviation history will find some invaluable reference works in the Putnam list. Now to current new books. — W. B.

The Motor Road Tests—1958 Edition.” 168 pp., 11½ in. by 8¼ in. (Temple Press Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.1. 10s. 6d.)

Once again comes this valuable and welcome annual reprint of the road tests which have been so painstakingly prepared for publication in The Motor. The 1958 edition contains tests on 40 cars, including the Alfa-Romeo, Giulietta T1, Austin-Healey Sprite, Citroen ID 19, Lotus 7 and Eleven Le Mans “85,” M.G.- A coupé, Twin-Cam M.G.- A, Morgan Plus Four, and Sunbeam Rapier. From the tabulated data it is seen that the fastest car tested Lotus Eleven, which achieved 125 m.p.h., the most accelerative car over the s.s. ¼-mile was again the Lotus Eleven, in 17.3 sec., and the most economical car tested the Goggomobil TS 300 coupé, which consumed petrol at the rate of 48 m.p.g. This splendid reference work is sensibly bound, but no longer contains explanatory chapters about the data it contains. It is the 10th edition and few if any books contain more data and serious reading matter for half a sovereign. — W. B.

The Autocar Road Tests—Autumn 1958 Edition.” 79 pp. 11⅝ in. by 8⅝ in. (Hiffe & Sons, Ltd., Dorset House, Stamford Street, London, S, E,1. 6s.) Hiffe now issue the collected road-tests from The Autocar in the form of a special New Spring Edition of Selected Cars, so that an interim issue is necessary in the autumn. This year this issue carries reprints of 21 tests of recent cars, including Austin-Healey Sprite, Facel Vega FVS, Jaguar XK150, M.G.- A Twin Cam, Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Volvo Amazon. From the tabulated data it is seen that the fastest car amongst those tested was the Jaguar XK150 hard-top Special Equipment model, which did 125½ m.p.h. The best ¼-mile time was 16.1 sec. recorded by the Facel Vega. Read in conjunction with the 1958 book of The Autocar road-tests, this interim book provides a very full coverage, -in text, tabulated data and picture, of the world’s outstanding (and diverse) modern cars. — W. B.

History on the Road.” Edited by J. R. L. Anderson. 62 pp. 10 in. by 7½ in. (Hamish Hamilton Ltd., 90, Great Russell Street, London, W. C.1. 18s.)

This is a pleasing vintage car miscellany consisting of a selection of articles republished from the Manchester Guardian, in which contributors looked at vintage cars from a refreshingly different angle. The cars which are included range from W. Boddy’s 1922 8-h.p. Talbot-Darracq, which, in 1935, was driven almost non-stop for 38 hours to finish on time in the R.A.C. Rally, to the fabulous 16-cylinder Maserati of John Howell, which, in its original 1929 Formula trim set a lap record for the Monza circuit of 124 m.p.h. and about which its owner wrote more last month in Motor Sport.

Pleasantly if informally illustrated, this book covers a worthwhile selection of old cars, veterans and Edwardians intermingled with vintage vehicles, from A. C. to Mercedes. The frontispiece is of Philip Mann’s very lovely 1926 3-litre Bentley, and we like the inset picture of a genuine Ballot radiator mascot which appears on page 21, on which B. Bruce-Whitehouse covers these individualistic French cars. The book is printed on art paper of excellent quality and the coloured dust-jacket is a reproduction of Frank Wootton’s famous picture he painted for The Motor.

Motoring Is My Business,” by John Bolster. 175 pp. 8¾ in. by 5¾ in. (“Autosport,” 159, Praed Street, London. W.2. 18s.)

“Motoring Is My Business” is Bolster’s motor autobiography, from his childhood experiences of fine and fierce cars owned by his mother and relations, to his present-day exploits as a motoring journalist.

The first chapter is nostalgic indeed but Bolster’s Austin Seven and “Chain-Gang” era is punctuated by a remarkable number of road accidents. He tells of how he built his famous “special,” “Bloody Mary,” and although in doing so he tends to go over ground already covered in his former book “Specials.” Bolster effectively recaptures the splendid fun to be had by the owner-driver of an effective “special” in the nineteen-thirties. To be able to make f.t.d. in speed trials with a home-built cyclecar of low capacity against famous professionally-built and tuned racing cars, was satisfying indeed—Bolster experienced the same elation that Basil Davenport enjoyed a decade earlier and which it is impossible to repeat today in this age of Lotus ascendency.

From sprints Bolster extended his prowess to racing at Donington and Brooklands and, after the war, drove Peter Bell’s E.R.A.s, until his accident at Silverstone which resulted in a broken neck. In writing of these difficult days when racing was emerging from the aftermath of war and petrol rationing the author’s determination and enthusiasm shine brightly. But racing hasn’t been Bolster’s only interest and he devotes enthralling chapters to veteran and Edwardian cars he has driven, to broadcasting motor-racing commentaries for the B.C.C., and to motor journalism.

This is a happy, intimate book which almost exudes alcoholic fumes! It also contains 55 pictures of Bolster.

Manifold Pressures,” by Russell Brockbank. 63 pp. 5⅝ in. by 8¾ in. (Temple Press, Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London. E.C.1. 6s.)

Here is an excellent Christmas present—the selected Brockbank cartoons of the inimitable adventures, or, rather, misadventures, of Major Upsett. There is even an explanation by Christopher Jennings, Editor of The Motor, as to how Major Upsett came into being. To this the artist adds an appreciation of the motoring Major he has made a world-wide figure of fun. — W. B.

Von Richthofen and the Flying Circus” by H. J. Nowarra and Kimbrough S. Brown. Edited by Bruce Robertson. 207 pp. 11¼ in. by 8¾ in. (Harleyford Publications Ltd., Letchworth. Herts. 45s.)

Von Richthofen, air ace of the 1914/18 war, is a legendary figure and many books and articles have been written about the great German pilot. No work of this nature, however, is more comprehensive, painstaking or better illustrated than this 207-page—and they are large pages–book from Harleyford Publications. It covers in detail not only the career of von Richthofen, who destroyed over 80 enemy aeroplanes, but it refers to nearly 200 pilots who served under him, while the history of the famous Richthofen “circus” or squadron is narrated from its inception to its disbandment.

D. A. Russell, who instituted this remarkable book, searched the world for a suitably qualified research team to write it. He also sought out a great selection of rare photographs with which to illustrate it, supplementing these by 1/72-scale drawings of the aeroplanes flown by the Germans, these plans showing authentic marking schemes as well as constructional details. These records are backed tip by a nominal roll, with the fate, of the personnel of Jagdgeschwader Nr. 1 and a unique illustrated review of Richthofen’s victory claims.

One of the more interesting items in this comprehensive book. amongst a great many absorbing details. is a reconstruction, in the form of a photo-map, of Manfred von Richthofen’s last flight. which will studied with interest by all who are undecided, all these years later, as to whether the German pilot was shot down by a British fighter ‘plane or by anti-aircraft fire from the ground. Pictures of the known remains of Richthofen’s Fokker triplane which exist in various musuems are ineluded, indicative that no detail has been forgotten!

It would have been nice if this conscientious history, which every serious student of aviation will consider worth the money, had been about a British ace – but, no doubt, such books will follow. — W. B.

Tribute by Trophy,” by Rex Hays. 165 pp. 8¾ in. by 5½ in. (Macgibbon & Kee, 50, Margaret Street, London, W.1. 25s.)

At a time when it is exceedingly difficult to think up titles for additional books about motoring, at least Rex Hays is to be congratulated for doing just that! “Tribute by Trophy” deals with the various model cars built by the author for presentation as trophies. This gives him an opportunity to write about the real cars concerned and the persons associated with them. But as most of this material has appeared before in various forms. and as Hays does go into much detail about the models concerned, this book falls between two stools, being of passing interest only to both motor-racing enthusiasts and model makers.

The trophies covered are certainly interesting, including, as they do, the Laurence Pomeroy Trophy, the Peter Henderson Trophy, the E.R.A. Club Trophy, the Joe Fry Trophy, the St. John Horsfall Trophy, a D-type Jaguar made for Prince Charles and the splendid model of the 1895 Panhard-Levassor presented to H.M. Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of the Royal visit to the R.A.C. in 1957.

There are some useful drawings in this book and many fine pictures of models which model makers will love. But on the whole the text savours of a boost for the author; his models are so well known that this comes as an unwanted anti-climax. Nor is it clear why, because the late King Faisal of Iraq commissioned a 1/10-scale model of a 38/250 SSK Mercedes-Benz, television cameras had to precede Hays to Wellingborough when he travelled there to inspect and measure-up Norman Powell’s car of this type.

In addition to the books reviewed above we have received some other recently.published titles. “Roads Matter” for September 1958 is produced by the Road Campaign Council and besides containing a prolific quantity of those fascinating pictures depicting the inadequacy of Britain’s existing main roads (how fascinating it is to see if you have been to the places illustrated and to recognise the make of vehicles which are seen caught in the congestion!) this book is an extremely useful and convincing work for everyone concerned with roads and traffic problems. It is obtainable from the R. C. C., 15, Dartmouth Street. London, S.W. 1. on mentioning Motor Sport. If you have a two-stroke motor-cycle you can learn all about it from “Two-Stroke Motor-Cycles,” published by Hiffe & Sons, Ltd.. Dorset House, Stamford Street. London, S.E.1, at 6s. 6d. A present for young enthusiasts might well be “Motor Cars,” by P. A. Turner, published by Temple Press Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.1, at 10s. 6d, Latest motor-racing thriller, for those who can stomach such stuff, is “A Shriek of Tyres,” by Douglas Rutherford. published by Collins at 10s. 6d.

The Times has again issued its “British Motor Car Industry” supplement (price 2s. 6d.), which is a beautifully-printed survey of the British Motor Industry supported by a number of leading articles by acknowledged experts. Those amongst our readers who wish to keep au fait with the performance capabilities of modern motor-cycles will welcome “The Motor Cycle Road-Tests- 1958/59 Edition” (Hiffe & Sons, Ltd., Dorset House, Stamford Street, London, S.E.1. 5s.). This book contains reprints of 23 road-test reports on British motor-cycles, from 148-c.c. Royal Enfield Ensign II to Ariel Huntmaster and B.S.A. Road Rocket which have 646-c.c. engines.