“Grand Prix” by David Hodges, Doug Nye and Nigel Roebuck. 244 pp. 18″ x 10″ (Michael Joseph, London. £19.50) There have been many coffer table publications about motor racing, but this lavish book manages to combine spectacular presentation with an extremely authoritative and accurate approach to the information provided. Split into four main sections, it opens with a comprehensive history of the sport, handled concisely and readably by David Hodges. Splendid her drawings highlight this section of the book which concentrates on all the most famous (and significant) marques to compete since this spectacular upon began. Respected historian Doug Nye then takes the reader through a team-by-team analysis of all the important (and unimportant!, marques which
have competed in Grand Prix racing, first rate colour paintings of the cars involved robbing shoulders with some excellent, and some frankly ghastly, portraits of designers, owners and key personnel.
The third section of the book is perhaps the most interesting because “the drivers” section comprises twenty-five men who Nigel Roebuck personally feels merit inclusion. Roebuck’s assessment of these drivers is CSSelltially honest and in no way moderated when it come to frank criticism. On Graham Hill he remarks, “if his stubbornness was unattractive it was also precisely what made him the driver he was”. He criticises James Hunt’s associated crowd of hangers-on, but admits that the Englishman “brought a lot to the party” and highlights this section by including quite the most sensible and sensitive profile on the late Ronnie Peterson that the writer has ever encountered. If anything he undersold Gilles Villeneuve’s talent, probably oversold Mike Havnhorn’s cavalier approach and unfortunately found one profile overtaken by events since Niki Lauda has announced his return to racing between the writing and the publishing of this work!
Each of these driver profiles overlays a sepia tint drawing, some of which are splendid (Peterson, Andretti, Villeneuve), others ranging from good to positively actionable. I fully realise that Nati Lauda is in less than pristine facial condition since that dreadful accident at NOrburgring in 1976, but his particular drawing makes him look like a candidate for the Hammer House of Horror! Not very flattering, to say the least.
Finally there is an interesting section about the Grand Prix circuits of the world, colour paintings provided of each track. A particularly novel approach, many of the circuits viewed from particularly unusual angles. In artistic circles it is often believed that a few minor flaws enhance an otherwise perfect canvass. That’s how I view “Grand Prix”. At £19.50 it can hardly be described as expensive since it offers such a consistently high level of good quality content.
Haynes of Sparkford, Yeovil, have issued akin catalogue of their books and workshop manuals. listing over 500 titles, and with 68 pages in full colour. Sr costs Cl post free, which is refunded in full against any subsequent purchases from them valued at £5 or more.
The National Traction Engine Club has published a most interesting little book, very nicely produced, on “Traction Engines and the Law” by David Tarn, MA. The idea is to offer advice to those using steam-propelled traction engines, read-rollers and waggons, on the roads today but many fascinating snippets of history abound, in imparting this advice, which Makes thc book of general interest to those who like old vehicles. There are illustrations of warning signs which used to protect weak bridges, of six typical county registration and licence plates once issued to owners of steam road engines, and an 1899 booklet on traction-engine law is reproduced page by page. Non-members of the NTEC can obtain copies of ‘Traction Engines and the Law” by sending E1.75 to NTEC Sales, 60 Harbour Avenue, Comberton, Cambridge CB3 7D1), mentioning MOTOR SPORT. — W.B. Falcon Publications Ltd., 6 Newton Way, Tongham, Surrey GUIO I BY have brought out out an attractive, very large-size 1982 calendar
with 12 enlarged prints of period motor-racing scenes, each on a separate page measuring? s, 12″, which makes an attractive monthly feature for office or study, the calendar’s cover depicting three of the all-conquering 1914 £1P Mercedes team, lined up after the Lyons race. The price is £2.25, plus 45p packing and postage, or two for £3.95. In addition, the same publisher offers the same-sized calendars with fighter aircraft and steam locomotive themes. — W.B.
Excellent book-presents for Christmas are available from The Grenville Publishing Co. Ltd., Standard House, Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4DA, such as the revised edition of “The History of Brooklands Motor Course” by William Roddy, which covers the story of this historic place from 1906 to its demise as a race-track in 1940, a big 362-page book, with personalities and vehicles indices, packed with pictures of typical Brooklands’ cars and Track scenes and with much tabulated data about BARC Certificates, rules, records, etc. The price is E15.90, and the book represents a fine gift to any motoring enthusiast. Finally, Grenville’s little illustrated “History of Donington”, with reports from MOTOR SPORT on almost all the meetings at the Midlands road course from its opening in 1933 up to the war, with W.B.’s intimate observations on the impact of the German Grand Prix teams’ arrival in 1937 and 1938, is still available in diminishing numbers, for the very modest price of Cl .00.
Don’t spend all your money on books for Christmas, for another Grenville book due to appear early in the New Year is about 30 years of road-testing cars for MOTOR SPORT, by W.B. This book, copiously illustrated, reproduces the annual surveys of each road-test year, which W.B. has contributed to this journal. Consequently, not only are his opinions of many hundreds of cars “thurnbnailed”, but the book shows how cars have changed, how MOTOR SPORT has progressed along the years, together with accounts of adventures and experiences that befell W.B. as he drove all manner of vehicles, veteran and vintage as well as the then-modern cars, when testing them far and wide.