Book reviews, December 1983, December 1983

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

“Ferrari Sports and Racing Prototype Competition Cars” by Antoine Prunes. 430 pp. 10 in x 8 in. (Haynes Publishing Group, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 717. £19.95).

Surprise, surprise! Another book about Ferrari cars. The explanation is that this latest Haynes / Foulis offering confines itself to the sports / racing Ferraris, together with the “prototype” competition Ferraris, and as it is divided into chronological chapters the races in which these were engaged fall conveniently over the years 1947-49, 1950-55, 1953-56, 1955-58, 1956-62, 1957-62, 1963-69, 1965-66, 1967-72, 1970-71 and 1971-73. If this sounds complex, the explanation is that these 11 chapters respectively cover, with good visual backup, the first V12s of the Colombo era, the Lampredi V12s, the four and six-cylinder Ferraris by the some designer, the Jano 410S to 414M1 series of competition Ferraris, the great Testa Rossas, the Dino V6 and V8 cars, the P-series of racers, the later Dinos, the Can-Am Ferraris, the 512 models, and finally, the 12-cylinder Boxer Ferraris.

The type is clear, the pictures good, and specifications tables, and tabulated results of the 1970-72 races by the 512 cars, together with a chronological tree, help to sort out the complex Ferrari story. Against that, each race reference is necessarily brief and as the author only saw his first motor race in 1957 and acquired his first car (a Ferrari 250GT that had been raced by Gendebien and Bianchi) in 1968, presumably his book relies on Press race reports. — W.B.

Grand Prix! — Vol. 3” by Mike Lang. 399 pp. 11 in x 8 in (Haynes Publishing Group, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7JJ. £14.95).

This is the third volume of Grand Prix reporting by this young author, devoted to detailed coverage of the F1 races of 1974 to 1980 counting for the World Championship. It is a big book, covering these races at length, in chronological order with the expected tables, pictures and appendices. It was due out in August but the review copy did not reach us until late in October. F1 fanatics who crave everything and anything on their favourite subject will make a meal of this one. It competes, of course, with all manner of similar annuals, volumes, and lesser books, and past reports in the motoring press, including the D.S.J. / A.H. ones in Motor Sport.

It is becoming more and more difficult to cover accurately the complex art and science of modern Grand Prix motor racing, which is why supposedly authentic reports differ over important items. If you are prepared to take Lang’s reports as the ones you want, and can wait for his reports on the 1981 and 1982 seasons, this will be a volume you will need in your bookcases. Lacking the time to check word by word the reporting by this Devon-based civil servant, who was possibly at all the races he writes about, which I wasn’t, let us say that James Hunt has called the book “superbly researched”. — W.B.

“The Third Generation Lotuses — Elite, Eclat, Esprit, Excel” by Graham Robson. 144 pp. 7½ in x 9 in (Motor Racing Publications Ltd, 28 & 32 Devonshire Road, Chiswick, London W4 2HD. £8.95).

This is the 21st title in the well-laid-out, information-packed books in the MRP “Collector’s Guide” series and as the publishers remark, this is fitting because its author, Graham Robson, wrote the first, about the Triumph TRs. Here is Robson, whose Volvo history for Patrick Stephens was reviewed last month, on the Lotus models named in the book’s title, not overlooking a chapter on the Lotus “Competition Connection” — you can say that again! — and all the usual data tables, while Mike Kimberley, Managing Director of Lotus Cars provided the Foreword. — W.B.

* * *

Another venture by Haynes Publishing Group is a big picture book in the best “coffee table” tradition, called “Milestone Sports Cars, 1950 to 1965”, the text is by Jean-Loup Nary and the very fine colour and black and white illustrations by Alberto Martinez, the whole brought together by designer Jean-Francois Puthod. Its pages measure 12 in x 9¼ in but, in the absence of a blurb, no price can be quoted. Incidentally, isn’t it amusing how many books are now sold at so-many-pounds, 95 pence, reminder of how the drapery business once marked up goods at so-much three-farthings, for obvious reasons? W.B.

* * *

The Porsche Book— a definitive illustrated history, by Lothar Boschen and Juergen Barth. 584 pages (Patrick Stephens Limited, Bar Hill, Cambridge CB3 8EL. £22.50 hardback).

The first edition was published in 1978, so there was much for the authors to catch up on: in road cars, the 924 Turbo, Carrera GT, the 928S, the 911 Carrera and the 944. In race cars, the development of the 935 and 936, the aborted lady project, and of course the 956.

Although it is the definitive work, as PSL claim, the second edition has not eradicated certain errors which could mislead the researcher, and introduce some new ones (such as identifying the director of research, Helmuth Bott, as engine designer Hans Merger), so, like the space rocket that is 99.90’a right, there are still a few things to let it down.

“The Big Book” (the literal translation of the German title) is a mine of information on all the prototype, road and race cars produced by the German factory in its 35 years. It is expensive and not very readable, suitable for the committed Porsche-phile. M.L.C.

The Shell Book of How Cars Work, Edited by Stuart Bladon. 110 pages (Adam & Charles Black, 35 Bedford Row, London WC1R 47H. £6.95 hardback, £3.95 paperback).

The first edition of this Shell-sponsored book first appeared 20 years ago as four separate publications covering various aspects of the motor car. Stuart Bladon, formerly Technical Editor of Autocar, has done a good job in combining the four main components (the engine, transmission, suspension, and steering and brakes) into one rather elementary but clearly explained publication, now including fuel injection but not turbocharging which seems like an opportunity missed.

Possibly of greatest interest to avid teenagers who want to understand the basic principles, the Shell book should be just as enlightening to people who have no idea of what goes on under the bonnet, but feel they ought to! The chapter on lubrication should serve as a warning to people who neglect to check their dipstick regularly. The publication is printed in large type, and has full-colour artists’ impressions to support the text.

M. L.C.

“Primrose & Poppy” by David Harrison is a jolly little soft cover picture book about the early days of omnibus operators in the Ilkeston. Heanor and Long Eaton area, a distinctly specialist subject, one might say. Perhaps rather expensive at £3.75 post free, from Paddock Publications, 16 Paddock Close, Castle Donington DE7 2JW, nevertheless, this little book is full of fascinating memories, depicted often in snapshot-like aged pictures, but no less pleasing for that. It is astonishing how even the lesser ‘buses of long ago seem sooner or later to have posed for their photographs. Thus we are now fortunate enough to have these old records before us, even to the names of their crews and the places where their pictures were taken. The makes depicted include Daimler, Reo, Thornycroft, Tilling-Stevens, Chevrolet, Crossley, both flat-racliatored and bull-nosed, Vulcan, Pagefield, Fiat, Guy, AEC, etc, many from the solid-tyre period, and there are 14-seater Rests, like the one I once owned, and of course, the Model-T Ford in public service guise. How some of the enormously-long-wheelbase Leyland Lioness and Lancia coaches (which are also to be found in the book on Barton Transport by the Transport Publishing Co, reviewed last month) were tolerated on roads with sharp bends is incredible and it needs a Talbot expert to say whether the 1923 ‘buses of that make were commercial vehicles or adapted private cars. . . .

The text runs to only four pages of Introduction, plus a table of companies operating through Ilkeston from 1919 to 1941, but this little work is great fun. W.B.

* * *

Another soft-cover publication, which puts motor history books to shame, is the latest Public Service transport history from The Transport Publishing Co, 128 Pikes Lane, Glossop, Derbyshire. It is by David Dougill, about “Blackpool’s Buses”, a comprehensive story on art paper, with innumerable fascinating photographs from the beginning to 1982, together with diagrams, fleet lists, route maps, the ‘buses in war, being serviced, tested, after an accident and so on. As a mere motoring historian I am amazed at the extent of the coverage, 136 pages, 8 in x 9¾ in, packed with data, at £9.50 in card covers, £11.75 if casebound.

* * *

Haynes have brought out a series of “Super Profiles” about well-known motorcycles, of which the second batch of three has recently been released. These cover the Honda CB750 sohc (author Peter Shoemark), the Sunbeam S7 and S8 (author Robert Gordon Champ), and the BMW R69 and R69S (author Roy Harper), the reference numbers being F351, F363 and F387 respectively, the price of each of these 11 in x 8 in 56 page hard-cover books being £4.95. A standard format is followed for each, consisting of a big engine shot on the front end-papers, followed by chapters covering the history, evolution, road-test reports from popular motorcycle weeklies, owners’ views, and buying, concluded with a large photo-gallery of black and white and colour pictures — good value!

* * *

Two recent aviation title: from Airlife of Shrewsbury are “Wings of the Weird & Wonderful” by Capt. Eric Brown (163 pp, 9¾” x 7″, £9.95) about odd flying-machines, from the Arado Ar.232B to the Miles Gillette Falcon (this being Vol. 1), and “The Sky Their Frontier” by Robert Jackson (160 pp 10¾” x 8″, £11.95), a history of the World’s pioneer airlines and routes from 1920 to 1940, the latter title overshadowed by the more comprehensive book on this fascinating subject by Harald Penrose that was published some time ago and reviewed in Motor Sport. — W.B.

* * *

The Harley-Davidson, with the Indian, is one of the American motorcycles that was and is much respected and well-known in Great Britain, so a full history of it is very welcome, and this is what David K. Wright and PSL of Cambridge have now given us— all 80 years of it. It covers the people as well as the machines and its 288 pages measuring 9½” x 7½” include 250 black-and-white and eight colour photographs; which should be taken into account if the price (£14.95) shocks you. — W.B.