Books for Christmas
“The Centenary of The Car — 1885-1985”
by Andrew Whyte. 160 pp, 111/4 in x 91/2 in (Octopus Books Ltd, 59 Grosvenor Street, London W1X 9DA. £9.95). I expect we are in for a spate of books to
coincide with the centenary of the motor car, over the next two years or so, and in this context I have already reviewed “Automania”. Now Octopus Books has got early on this particular band-wagon with a very elegant, coffee-table size tome, which looks more at the cars themselves than bothering itself with the miscellanea of the 100 years of automobilism. In the hands of Andrew Whyte this most be accurate history, and personalities are interspersed here and there, among the chapters that deal with the centenary divided up into the periods 1885-1915, 1915-30, 1930-45, 1945=60, 1960-75 and 1975-85, concluding with a two-page Chronology and an Index. The Foreword is by Jackie Stewart.
The main attraction of this book is in the fine colour plates, and racing and rallying up to recent times are included, the special photography being by Ian Dawson. A nice present, perhaps, but hardened historians will have seen almost all of it before.
“Zagato” by Michele Marchiano. 109 pp, 101/2 in x 101/2 in (Automobilia, Milan £14.95).
Zagato has always been something of a poor relation to other Italian coachbuilders, not in terms of ability but inasmuch as few Zagato designs have ever made large-scale production. With around 7,000 produced, the Lancia Fulvia Zagato is the most prolific model, with the others trailing far behind. Yet some of those cars, handbuilt in handfuls, are among the high-points of the coachbuilder’s art — Alfetta 159, Alfa 6C 1750, Aston DBZ, Alfa TZ and Junior Z, and a variety of Abarth Zagatos.
Therefore it is a pleasure to open up this generously illustrated book and find the full Zagato story laid out, in Italian and English. Although broadly chronological, the book concentrates heavily on the Milanese coachbuilder’s greatest period, between the mid-fifties and the mid-sixties, with some luxurious close-ups of body and chromework on the all-conquering Alfa TZs. With illustrations on every page, the bilingual text seems thin at first glance, but all the information is there, together with one or two rather charming Italianisms. The text proper slots between the two halves of a year-by-year table of production, which yields such interesting facts as that Zagato were responsible for the shape of the Bristol 412 convertible, and the construction of the prototype Shelby Mustang 350GT for Ford. Lovers of fast cars will find cars for Ferrari,
Maserati, OSCA, Bristol, Jaguar, Rover and Porsche amongst a wealth of projects, while the student of design can trace the typical Zagato line, a muscle-bound front blending into a slender tail, right back to those early Alfas before the war.
This long overdue book will delight enthusiasts of Italian cars of all eras, and it is available in this country from Connoisseur Carbooks, 28 Devonshire Road, Chiswick, London W4 2HD. — G.C.
To the ever-expanding number of Porsche books has come Dominique Pascal’s “Porsche at Le Mans” which covers the entry of this famous marque in the great French 24-hour race since the first in 1951, since when the author has calculated that more than 440 Porsches have taken part in this race. Here they are in this book, which contains more than 440 photographs, depicting each of the Porsches that has run at Le Mans, and 16 pages of colour plates, tables etc. It must be good value to Porsche followers, at £18.95, published by the Haynes Publishing Group of Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset. The same publishing house has also added two new titles to its “Super Profile” series, namely one of the MG TF by Jonathan Edwards, the other on Mini-Cooper and Cooper-S, by Graham Robson. Both are as informative and well-illustrated as all these Super Profiles and they each cost £4.95. — W.B.
The latest titles from Brooklands Books, “Holmerise”, Seven Hills Road, Cobham, Surrey, are “Mustang Muscle Cars 1967171” and “Road & Track on Aston Martin 1962/84”. The latter covers in reproduced road-test reports AM models from 004 to Bulldog and the Mustangs reported on run from Mach I to the 429. Each soft-cover magazine-size book costs £5.95, or £6.50 by post.—W.B.
Sapphire Publications Ltd (22 Datchet Close, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 7JX) has launched a new series called “Supercars In Profile”, the first two being devoted to the Ford GT40 and the Porsche 935. Each profile is 32 pages long (eight pages in colour) and is printed on good quality paper. There is a brief outline of the evolution of each car, page of specifications covering the individual types produced, tables recording the international race successes of each car, and excellent photographs. The profiles cost £2.95 each and, to judge by the first two, is a very promising series. It’s good to know that there is enough interest in Jim Clark for Patrick Stephens Ltd (Denington Estate, Wellingborough,
Northants, NN8 2QD, £9.95) to issue a new edition of “Jim Clark Remembered”, Graham Gauld’s tribute to the great driver who was also a close friend, just over half of the book’s 144 pages are devoted to outlining Clark’s career while the rest is a portrait based on reminiscences of friends and colleagues, a record of all his races and, for the first time, the publication of the report of the investigation made by Peter Jowitt into the Hockenheim crash. Copiously illustrated, “Jim Clark Remembered” is both a factual record and a sensitively written memoir of “a very ordinary human being who had the good fortune to discover his true vocation in life” and whose fulfihnent of that vocation will never be forgotten. — ML.
Airlife Publishing Ltd, 7, St John’s Hill, Shrewsbury, Salop, SY1 1JE have brought out two very interesting aviation books which could represent very able presents at this time of year. The first is “Flying The Big Jets” by Stanley Stewart, a Senior First Officer on BA Boeing 747s who in 285 erudite pages, if you count the Index tells those who fly in Jumbo aircraft just what it is all about on the flight deck, outlining this for them in the much enthralling detail not only in the text but with innumerable diagrams, photographs and charts, although the author is not above including an appropriate piece of Ogden Nash verse about grounded planes. This book should be entertaining, even essential reading for those flying in jumbo jets, but will be welcomed by all who want to know more of the procedures involved — like how it feels to call Bombay from 1,000 miles away, the take-off and landing and emergency procedures, maintenance facts and figures, and so on, including a graphic description of preparing to let-down and land at New York. Just the job, while in a fireside armchair or when cruising in an aircraft-seat at 30,000 feet. The book costs £9.95 and is highly recommended. — W.B.
The second new Airlife book is called “The 91 Before Lindbergh” by Peter Allen. It deals with cross-Atlantic flights by aeroplane, seaplane, flying-boat and airship up to Lindbergh’s historic solo flight of 1927. This is the stuff of aviation history and contains not only descriptions of the crossings but some unique pictures, newspaper clippings, etc of them. Those unversed in this aspect of adventurous flying should hasten to read this 182 page £11.95 book. It is claimed in the dust-jacket blurb that it is the first book to cover the conquest by air of the North and South Atlantic and it makes a good follow-up to the big book, with its splendid pictures, “Atlantic Wings” by Kenneth McDonough which was published in 1966 but which is presumably out of print. — W.B.