Books for Christmas

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“Magnificent  Mercedes — The Complete History Of The Marque” by Graham Robson. 224 pp. 12″ x 9″. (Haynes Publishing (Soup Ltd., Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset. BA22 7.77. £14.95).

The story of the Mercedes is an important one, because this is the oldest make of car still being manufactured, it is a make with an inimitable racing reputation, and for many, many years the products of Stuttgart have perhaps been the best engineered in the World. There have been good books aplenty about the make and its breakdown into individual models, notably David Scott-Moncrieffs original study, “Three-Pointed Star”, brought up to date by Peter Hull, and Karl Lugvigsen’s history of Mercedes and Benz in racing, the latter a very scholarly coverage that stands out as a model of its kind and a great tribute to the make as an effective racing implement. And the Company has itself provided a very complete history of its activities, including its area-engines, in English, revised in 1961. So do we require another Mercedes history?

The answer could be, yes we do, if anything new is uncovered, as it might be if the impact of this illustrious make in Britain along the years were to be delved into in depth. Robson, however, has preferred to give us the full works, from the beginnings to the magnificent Mercedes of the 1980s, and including the Mercedes and Benz commercial vehicles, the Unimogs, the ‘buses, etc., up to the latest G-series cross-country Mercedes-Benz, again from the early days. Racing is also covered and as you cannot have a complete, detailed story of this great Company in the pages available, large as these are, this is really a high-quality picture book, with many “old chestnuts” used to good effect and many for colour pictures included. Specifications are given of important Mercedes cars but the tent is essentially somewhat superficial. Nor is confidence inspired by two pictures of Roger Collings’ well-known 1903 60 h., Mercedes correctly captioned on one page but called a 1904 45 h.p. Mercedes tourer on another! Robson has also based his observations about the racing Blitzen Benz on the car in the Daimler-Benz Museum at Stuttgart, which does not follow the more typical specification of these exciting cars in contemprary times, as Ludvigsen has explained.

So if you are wealthy and like nice pictures, yes. Otherwise, save your money. — W.B.

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