Book Reviews, February 1968, February 1968

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“Grand Prix Bugatti,” by H. G. Conway. 224 pp. 8 7/8 in. x 7¼ in. (G. T. Foulis & Co. Ltd., 1-5, Portpool Lane, London, E.C.1. 63s.)

H. G. Conway has set himself up as the Bugatti historian, as well as owning and driving some very choice examples of this exclusive marque—some say that he invented the Bugatti! Consequently, much is expected of anything he contributes to this subject. Fortunately, Conway is extremely painstaking and goes into great detail, so any book from his pen and archives about Bugatti is an event.

In this latest volume he covers in meticulous detail the Grand Prix Bugatti cars, which in their various forms won so many races and are of classic two-seater road-racing car form. A good deal of information and illustration has appeared previously, particularly in Bugantics, the beautifully-produced monthly magazine of the Bugatti O.C., which has been an accepted and much-appreciated part of the sporting motoring scene since long before the war and which now covers Ferrari as well as Bugatti topics. This is inevitable and does not materially detract from “Grand Prix Bugatti,” which is lavishly illustrated and which gives so much fascinating information. It covers G.P. Bugatti successes race by race but goes further than “The Racing History of the Bentley” by dealing with the mechanical aspects of the cars in addition, even to drawings of chassis frames, axles, bodywork, cylinder blocks, brake systems and many other items, not forgetting facia layouts.

Indeed, the book contains 127 photographs and 27 line drawings, and has a handsome dust-jacket depicting Moffatt’s 1924 Type 35 photographed in colour by G. Nicholls. The chapters take in racing history and design and construction in two separate parts, and the appendices give technical data and list all known owners of Type 37, 35, 43 and 51 Bugattis. The Type 43 is included in the book, although strictly a sports car. Apart from minor errors, such as listing one Type 37 owner as living in Hampshire whereas he resides in Surrey and the disappointment of such a valuable book being given photo-gravure pictures and rather inferior paper, this is essential reading for the World’s Bugatti enthusiasts. It will, alas, not earn us dollars, as it must not be sold in the U.S.A.—W. B.

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“The Story So Far,” by Pat Moss. 216 pp. 9½ in. x 6¼ in. (William Kimber & Co. Ltd., 6, Queen Anne’s Gate, London, S.W.1. 36s.)

Breezily written and thus easy to read, this is Pat Moss’ account of her career to date, as a show-jumper, rally driver and occasional racing driver. Such books are usually interesting and this one is no exception. It does not give the close insight into rallying that Marcus Chambers’ book does and it seems to have been written hurriedly, probably dictated on to tape, judging by certain errors which occur, such as “Cadmore Park” for Cadwell Park, “Dennis” for Denis Jenkinson, and so on. There is also the rather startling passage on page 72 which reads “Although I was fully grown now, I still rode Marcus. . . .” but it is all right when you remember that the book is about horses as well as rallying.

Outspoken in places—when I remember the terrible trouble we got into with B.M.C. for daring to criticise the A70 and A90 Atlantic Austins in Motor Sport some years ago, I shuddered to find Pat Moss describing the latter as “a most unsuitable car, hard to manoeuvre, it handled dreadfully, at rallying speeds it had no brakes to speak of and on corners it wallowed about like a pregnant pig,” etc.—this book will perhaps inspire other girls to take up competition motoring, as they go with Pat, from novice to expert, on rallies with other well-known woman competition drivers and navigators. Humorous, a good personal story, reflecting Pat’s life as the daughter of a rich man and sister of Stirling, who nevertheless had to rely on her own resources and skill when she went in for show-jumping (this part of her story is particularly interesting) and competition motoring, this is a worthwhile book which escapes being a classic. It is well illustrated; there is no index.—W. B.

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It might be thought that there is scarcely room for two books about the tank battle at Cambrai in 1917 and we reviewed “The First Tank Battle,” by Robert Woollcombe, favourably last month. However, “The Ironclads of Cambrai,” by Bryan Cooper (Souvenir Press Ltd., 95, Mortimer Street, London, W.1, 242 pp., 8½ in. x 5½ in.), deals with the subject in a rather more popular and general manner and gives rather more technical information about the tanks engaged. It costs 35s.

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Those who are contemplating buying a motor caravan will find a great deal of information about selecting, equipping and running such a vehicle in “Motor Caravanning,” by Tim Wilkinson (David & Charles, S. Devon House, Railway Station, Newton Abbot, Devon, 156 pp., 8½ in. x 5½ in., 30s.).

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We cannot help taking an interest in power boats where the accent is on power. For 5s. you can get a 40-page magazine-type publication on the 1967 Offshore Power Boat race written by Anthony Needell and David Short giving all the rules, details and results of the last race together with some very fine full-page action photographs. In one photo there are four boats powered by Ford V8, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Volvo engines; we can’t help being interested. Send 5s., plus postage to: Ade Publications, 25 Ellesmere Road, Twickenham Middlesex.