Book Reviews, February 1953, February 1953

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 Sports Cars of the World  by Ralph Stein. (Charles Scribner’s Sons, Ltd., 23, Bedford Square, W.C.1; 174 pp.; 8-1/2 in. by 12 in.; 52s. 6d.)

We have little doubt but that this lavish book from Ralph Stein’s forthright and amusing pen will make him a rich man—on account of the demand that must exist for it in the States, where it originated. To English buyers it represents a very attractive purchase, dealing as it does with the history and technique of over 50 makes of sports cars, British, French, Italian, German and American, illustrated by over 100 usually striking, invariably large, photographs which include a selection of colour plates which have appeared in Argosy. We hesitate to write hard words about this work, the lavish and tasteful layout of which does justice to the subject. It is just that English readers will find little that is new to them and may feel, with additional chapters on what is a sports car and ideal specifications, Stein has iced his delightful cake a little too literally and made it a trifle sickly.

He is accurate to a degree—only brick apparent being that Invicta is said to have been born a 3-litre, whereas the 2-1/2-litre came first, in 1925, the 3-litre following in 1926—but much of what one reads recalls Grant’s and Boddy’s respective works on British and American sports cars published some time ago in England; long enough ago for Stein to have bought and digested them.

Then Scribner’s seem to have let him down over pictures. Some are magnificent but collectively they are a rather scratch lot, casually captioned. Dates in captions are approximate only and such errors as confusing the sex of Frazer Nash exponent Miss Wilby, the engine size of Joe Lowrey’s H.R.G., the PB with the TB M.G., have regrettably crept in. Original pictures would in every case have been preferable to those of the modified “used” cars usually portrayed.

Yet this is a very fine book and if you have 52s. 6d. you don’t want you will waste no time in effecting an exchange at the nearest. bookshop.

***

200 Ingenious Motoring Gadgets —  Compiled by R. H. Warring. (Postlib Publications, Swan House, Kingsbury, London, N. W..9;   122 pp.; .5-1/2 in. by 9 in; 10s.)

This is an ingenious book. It lists two hundred ideas of use to the practical motorist, in short paragraphs, illustrated by sketches where necessary.

Some of the suggestions are pretty puerile, some good, all interesting, and the first impression that ten bob is a lot for this job wears off the farther you penetrate.—W. B.

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