“Car Conversion for Power and Speed”

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By Charles Williams. 224 pp. 8¾ in. x 5½ in. (David and Charles, South Devon House, Newton Abbott, Devon. £3.15)

I don’t know if the name Charles Williams means anything to you, it certainly tells this reviewer nothing, but that has not prevented him from writing an excellent book on the general principles of extracting better all-round performance from most popular cars. Of necessity the author has only included the major tuning foibles of the prominent makes, but he includes such a wealth of useful background information and illustration that the retail price begins to look reasonable.

The weakest section of Car Conversions is that on customising, a word which implied the transformation of a car into something that screams “individual”, whilst slavishly copying well-defined fadssuch as the current pre-occupation with Trans-Am dams for any four-wheeled cart. Every day the reviewer sees examples of customising that do show individual thought, which cost little and would feature well in any publication, but this book has stuck to the horrible louvres and a ghastly dual headlamp bonnet (in glass-fibre) for Minis. The offending BL box is shown on the cover, and a more unco-ordinated and dull invitation to look inside is hard to imagine. A section dealing with useful addresses is also below standard in its listing of suspension, oil cooler, instrument and lamp manufacturers.
A useful book to read before uprating any modern car, though those with good mechanical knowledge would be best advised to give this one a miss and concentrate on books which deal with the car they want to tune.J. W.