Reviews, December 2007

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Ferrari Grand Prix Moments
Jesse Alexander

With over 1500 results coming up for ‘Ferrari’ on Amazon, it hardly needs explaining that the market for books on the famous make is somewhat competitive. Jesse Alexander, though, needs little introducing and it suffices to say that this new collection of his photography is a remarkable insight into the inner workings and characters of the Italian marque between 1954 and ’66. His images bring the team to life. As Phil Hill says in the foreword, Jesse captures some of the “Old World charm” which surrounded the Modena factory.

The book is divided into six main sections, focusing on Modena, Monaco, Monza, the Nürburgring, Reims and Spa-Francorchamps. The photos reflect just how much access he enjoyed while he was covering the team; with close-ups of Fangio and Enzo Ferrari looking at ease and, indeed, themselves. Other shots where drivers are trying to explain the behaviour of the car after a test run to a furiously scribbling Carlo Chiti are natural and, above all, tangibly real. Each is accompanied by a caption which not only explains when and where but also, in many cases, the intricacies of the ensuing conversation.

For anyone with a passing interest in motor racing photography, Ferrari, Grand Prix racing between 1954 and ’66 or any of the drivers or team members that were involved in Ferrari during these years, this collection would be a welcome addition to their library. EF

Published by David Bull Publishing, ISBN 978 3 7688 1916 9, £45.

Mille Miglia
The spirit of a legend

With historical clips, photos and interviews with past winners, this DVD is informative and interesting. It does at the start feel slightly like an advert for this exclusive competition, thanks to the questionable jazz music and Jonathan Lloyd Hughes’ voice lulling you into a hypnotic Mille Miglia slumber but, on the return leg from Rome, the action picks up and more historical clips are included.

Don’t expect to learn anything ground-breaking – it is more of an introduction than an expert guide. There is an amusing mix of modern drivers sternly telling you how hard the modern race is and Giannino Marzotto (with cigarette and glass of prosecco in hand) explaining that actually it is nowhere near as hard as it used to be. Overall, a well put together and interesting film. EF

Published by Selkirk and Heimann, Ref B000QGDHYE, €25 (£17)

Goodwood
The Motor Racing Story, 1948-66

Beautifully packaged in a wine-red case, promising the story of the famous circuit, the film within is without the least structure: the narrative arc or crafted tale implied by the ‘story’ appellation entirely absent. The film all starts so well, with footage and stills from the back-story of the circuit’s birth interweaved with interesting comment from Charles March, Stirling Moss and others. But the filmmakers seemed to have bored of this before too long and eventually archive footage is spliced with… archive footage without any explanation. The arch diction and Augustan sentence structure of the contemporary commentators provide rich ornamentation, but merely describes what is there for all to see in the film.

A little disappointing. IM

Published by the Goodwood Road Racing Company, £19.95

Dan Gurney’s Eagle Racing Cars
Technical history of the machines designed and built by all American racers
John Zimmermann

This well-laid out book charts Dan Gurney’s All American Racers from its birth in 1964 to the Gurney Alligator motorbike of 2002. This comprehensive history is partnered by telling photographs from both on and off the track and includes input from Gurney himself and designers, engineers and drivers who worked for the marque. There are also original sketches, blueprints and detailed drawings which document the evolution from model to model.

This is a nut-and-bolt story that perhaps will only be truly appreciated by AAR enthusiasts. EF

Published by David Bull Publishing, ISBN 978 1 893618 82 4, £45.

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