Books for Christmas

The Porsche 917, in Kurz, Langheck and Spyder forms, make subject of a book by Ian Ramsey with Bill Oursler whose 121/4in x 81/2in format does justice to the many colour and black-and-white illustrations. For coverage of the World Championship-winning sports/racing car which the authors call The Ultimate Weapon, this 160-page Haynes/Foulis publication would be difficult to better at £19.95.

Another item just made for a Christmas Present is the VCC’s 1988 Veteran and Edwardian Calendar, with a colour page for each month which can be detached and used as a Postcard, printed not on artboard but on art Paper. The cost is £2.25, post free. Apply to VCC, Jessamine House, Ashwell, Hertford shire SG7 5NL.

As if to endorse the Ferrari as the most sought-after car of post-vintage days, Haynes has published Antoine Prunet’s The Ferrari Road Cars in a new edition of 494 pages (10in x 8in), which should sort out a complex range of super cars. Priced at £29.95 this is too bulky for the Christmas stocking, but a fine present for any Ferrari buff.

I used to see dark-haired, white “bathing hat”-helmeted American Lee Kennard driving her 38/250 Mercedes-Benz at the Brighton speed-trials. Now she has put her life story, including accounts of her three vintage Mercedes-Benz and her husband’s 3-litre Bentley, into a little book called Of Cars & Ships & Poetry & Cats & Other Things.

It is a slim volume, complying with everyone’s ambition to write a book, and the pictures are not much more than amateur snapshots of the “won’t reproduce” sort, but it would slip easily into a Christmas gift-pack. It costs £6.95, from Talis Press, Balmoral Publishing Works, Cheddar, Somerset. Francesca, Countess of Gosford and friend of the author, contributes an introduction which captures well the days before the war.

I could not understand at first why John Murray Ltd of 30 Albermarlet Street, London W1X 4BD had sent us a review copy of Adrian Vaughan’s third book about his work as a railway signalman, fascinating reading though it is. Then I read that, after selling his Morris 8, he used a Jowett Javelin to get to work and — Riley Register note — there is a fine picture of his friend Bill Keening with his 1923 Riley tourer at the Challow box after driving down from Surrey. Is the number five on the latter an indication that it was used in competition?

Anyway, here is a change from reading about cars, though Signalman’s Nightmare might turn a reader against railway travel much as a pilot’s experiences of being talked down in bad weather tend to make one prefer car to aeroplane! This enjoyable books sells for £10.95. WB