Books for Christmas

" 'The Motor' Road Tests -- 1959 Edition." 139 pp., 11½ in. x 8 in., soft covers. (Temple Press Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.1. 10s. 6d.)

" ' The Autocar ' Road Tests -- Spring 1959." 80 pp., 11½ in. x 8 in., soft covers. (Illife and Sons Ltd., Dorset House, Stamford Street, London, S.E.1. 6s.)

These two indispensible books of road-test facts and figures make a welcome appearance in their latest editions. The Motor book covers the whole of 1959 from A.C. Ace-Bristol to Wolseley 6/90 Series III with automatic transmission, 34 cars in all, while The Autocar book is an interim edition of their full road-test publication, dealing with 21 cars tested last Spring, to give up-to-date coverage. Enthusiasts can wade happily for hours, nay days or months, through the mass of figures and information provided before filing these volumes away for reference, so if you are an enthusiast you should go straight out and blue 16s. 6d. on obtaining them both.

Both books tabulate the performance data for quick reference. The Motor book covers such cars as the A.C. Ace-Bristol, Austin Healey 100-Six, Fiat Abarth 750, Jaguar XK150S and MG.-A 1600, which will please enthusiasts, while the road-test of the controversial Triumph Herald saloon is included. Fastest car tested was the Jaguar XK150S coupe (132 m.p.h.), most accelerative over a ¼-mile the same car (16.2 sec.), most economical the Isetta three-wheeler (54.9 m.p.g.). The spring tests by The Autocar include A.C. Ace-Bristol, Berkeley 492-c.c. sports model, Fiat Abarth Zagato, Lancia Flaminia, Mercedes-Benz 220S, etc. Their fastest was the A.C. (118 m.p.h.), most accelerative over the ¼-mile the same car (16.5 sec.), most economical the Frisky coupe (50-61 m.p.g.).

Please excuse me while I get down to some serious study! -- W.B.


"The Road Grew No Moss," by Hayman Chaffey. 224 pp., 8.7 in. X 5.6 in. (Hodder & Stoughton, London, E.C.4. 21s.)

This is an account of how the author, his wife and family of young children, travelled by Land Rover from Mexico to Brazil through every country in Central and South America. Their adventures crossing the Andes, the salt-lakes of Bolivia and the Pan-American Highway. etc., are graphically described and illustrated.


"The Boys' Book of Motors" by K. B. Hopfinger. 144 pp., 10 in. x 7½ in. (Burke Publishing Co. Ltd., Britton Street, London, E.C.1.  9s. 6d.)

"The Boys' Book of Veteran Cars," by Ernest F. Carter. 144 pp., 10 in. x 7½ in. (Burke Publishing Co. Ltd., 9s. 6d.)

Here are two books for the younger generation, in glossy coloured jackets, containing much of interest to father before he takes on the role of Daddy Christmas. Hopfinger has included much technical explanation with exploded views of car mechanisms, such as should enable bright children to teach themselves how a car functions -- we did it ourselves from a more lavish book years ago. Which reminds me how we used to treasure the original "Boys' Book of Motors" -- a Ward Lock publication several times more elaborate than the present volume. Youngsters will be quick to discover an error as early as the frontispiece picture -- a D.B. wrongly captioned as a Porsche. Some of the remaining illustrations are Daimler-Benz. Nuffield are stale hand-out photographs.

Carter contrives to put some interesting car badges and Edwardian radiators (lifted from the ever-indispensible Autocar and reproduced far too small to be of value) in his book and it concludes with a list of veteran cars up to 1919, which is a contradiction of terms. It also contains some appalling spelling mistakes and, worse, technical errors, so that it cannot be recommended as good instruction for the rising generation. Perhaps the author should stick to his toy railways. Incidentally, how does he deduce that the little two-cylinder 7-h.p. 1910 Renault seen on the dust jacket is a racing car? W.B.


"Basic Road Statistics -- 1959." 63 pp., 8½ in. x 5.4 in., soft covers. (British Road Federation, 26, Manchester Square, London, W.1. 1s.)

Once again this useful little book of road statistics is with us. It is a means whereby politicians, journalists, lecturers, solicitors, and those merely interested in the broader aspects of motoring can glean innumerable solid facts and figures, such as vehicles in use from 1904-1958, how many tramcars, diesel-engined vehicles and taxis this includes, statistics of road accidents, 1928-1958. data on the transport industry, and a great deal of significant information on roads and the money successive Governments have taken from us in taxation. There is a chapter on Road Transport Legislation, 1930-1959. Spare a bob and stick this one on the bookcase for ready reference. -- W.B.


"The Collected Motor Verses of W. H. Charnock." 103 pp.,' 7½ in. X 5 in. (Villiers Publications Ltd., Ingestre Road, London, N.W.5. 10s. 6d.)

Here are lots of rather indifferent poems by the motoring bard. If this is the kind of thing you like you will like this book (with apologies to Punch).


"Automatic Transmission and Two-Pedal Control," by A. G. Douglas Clease, B.Sc., A.M.I.Mech.E. 232 pp., 8 in. x 5½ in. (George Newnes Ltd., Tower House, Southampton Street, London, W.C.2. 21s.)

Here is a book for those who wish to unravel the mysteries of transmission automation -- Rolls-Royce, Borg-Warner, Roverdrive, Hobbs, Newtondrive, Borg & Beck Mumunatic, etc. Unfortunately some of these are already defunct, while the Smiths Easidrive and D.A.F. systems are omitted. We think Temple Press Ltd. did this considerably better some time ago.


"Encyclopaedia of Sport." Edited by Charles Harvey. 328 pp., 11 in. x 8½ in. (Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd., Great Missenden, Bucks. 12s. 6d.)

This is really stupendously good value and represents the ideal Christmas present for all who are interested in sport in its many aspects. Copiously illustrated, containing histories, results, statistics and up-to-date information covering every conceivable sport concerning 40,000 contestants, this book is written by acknowledged experts. There is a sports-quiz on every page, 2,000 illustrations, coloured badges and pennants, etc., etc. Motor racing is looked after by the Editor of Motor Sport, Motorcycling by the Editor of Motor Cycling, the King's Cup Air Race by the Assistant Compiler of "Jane's All the World's Aircraft," Gliding by the former secretary of the British Gliding Association.

This is a splendid 12s. 6d.-worth which you are well advised to buy for your son or daughter, wife or secretary, and then insist that it is kept within reach so that you can enjoy browsing through its packed pages to brush up your knowledge of sport -- in all its forms. -- W.B.


"Modified Motoring," by John Sprinzel. 122 pp., 8.2 in. x 5.2 in. (Motor Racing Publications Ltd., 62, Doughty Street, London, W.C.1. 18s.)

Twenty-nine-year-old John Sprinzel knows as much as anybody about making production motor cars go, and in this book he lets you into the secrets of engine and chassis tuning, with emphasis on B.M.C. cars. There are chapters on tuning S.U. and Zenith carburetters, data on instruments for the competition car, chapters on weight saving, preparing for competition, etc., while the importance of getting engine and chassis into good order before trying to extract more power and speed happily is not overlooked -- engine service and clutch service diagnosis charts are included.

This book should sell well and help to prevent waste of time and money by those seeking to obtain increased performance from bread-and-butter vehicles. General data is provided on the Austin Healey Sprite, of which Sprinzel has much experience. -- W.B.


"B.P. Book Of Motor Racing." Edited by Maxwell Boyd. 101 pp., 9.3 in. x 7.2 in. (Stanley Paul & Company, 178/202, Great Portland Street, London, W.1. 7s. 6d.)

The B.P. organisation must surely have subsidised the publisher to make this excellent book possible at such a modest price. Ignore the rather lurid coloured cover, which smacks of a children's annual, and get into the absorbing photographs and text of this worthwhile book. There isn't much of it, but what there is is excellent. Rallies as well as races are covered, there are forewords by Fangio and Moss, and the excellent full-page colour pictures are alone worth the "entry fee." Two captions only appear to have gone astray, a Stanguellini Junior Formula car being described as a Raineri and a stationary Aston Martin being dubbed as at speed at Silverstone, whereas it is stationary at Nurburg. In the text Frank Costin is described as Mike Costin, origin of the name Lotus described as still a mystery, whereas most people know how it arose, while in two instances the combined Monza road cum track circuit is said to have been used for the first time in 1956, whereas this circuit was also in use in 1955, so that the lap record is 135.526, m p.h. not 134 m.p.h. Finally, Casablanca was not a World's Championship race in 1957, an error which occurs twice. The Hawthorn chapter makes no reference Mike's tragic death. Otherwise a fine book and no over-emphasis of B.P. -- W.B.