The Beaulieu encyclopedia of the automobile edited by Nick Georgano ISBN: 0-11-702319-1 Stationery Office, £195
Most of us in this business refer often to ‘Georgano’ — shorthand for his Complete Enrydopaedia of Motorcars. Now our battered copies have been upstaged by this hugely expanded encyclopaedia — two weighty volumes totalling over 2000 pages — produced under the auspices of the National Motor Museum. If you thought the old one was comprehensive, this one is almost overwhelming in its coverage, benefitting as it does from years of research by Georgano and his colleagues since the original 1968 edition. Not only are 7000 makes described (in anything from single lines to a dozen pages) and illustrated, down to the most abstruse forgotten brands, but there are generous (in some cases, over-generous) biographies of motoring figures, such as five of the six Maserati brothers and even Mercedes Jellinek of Benz fame.
Thanks to the NMM’s vast archives, even the early photos are mainly high quality, with the exception of some very rough mugshots, while period adverts break up the dense text. The colour photos seem completely arbitrary, but it’s the instant access to facts on any make you like which makes this so valuable. In his foreword, Lord Montagu states that Beaulieu is an academic institution as well as a museum, and this work can only confirm that view. GC