"Racing Cars and Record Breakers, 1898-1921"

By T. R. Nicholson. 169 pp. 7 4/5 in. x 5 in. (Blandford Press Ltd., 167, High Holborn, London, W.C.1. £1.25.)

Although this little volume could justifiably he described as yet another Nicholson “pot-boiler”, he appears to have boiled most of the textual contents himself, and the result is a very useful quick introduction to motor racing evolution and to the earlier racing cars. Closing at the year 1921 is unusual but obviously another book in this Blandford “Cars of the World in Colour” series is intended to follow.

The object of the work is to pin down the coloured drawings of John W. Wood and other artists. These are attractive, depicting as they do two views of each of 96 racers of the period the book deals with, even if they may have been taken from photographs. They run from 1898 Amédée Bollée to the 1921 track-racing ACs. There are also a few engine sketches and Nicholson has embellished the papers with car badges, perhaps a legacy from his Cassells’ book of radiator badges.

There is no sense in seeking technical errors in a Nicholson work but I did notice that on page 162 he refers to the 1920 350-h.p. Sunbeam as the first Brooklands aero-engined car, whereas on page 157 he accords this milestone to the 1913 9-litre V12 Sunbeam. Also, he says Chitty-Bang-Bang I crashed “at the Essex Motor Club Meeting at Brooklands in 1922”, but, in fact, the car ran off the banking and into the Wey-ditch in practice before the races began.This book would be a welcome present, particularly for the very young, who never knew the cars it explains and illustrates, or for the very old who might enjoy remaking their acquaintance.W.B.