Automobile Year 37 (1989/90) edited by jean-Rodolphe Piccard. 280pp. 121/4″ x 91/4″. Motor Racing Publications Ltd, Unit 6, The Pilton Estate, Croydon, Surrey CRO 3RY. £24.95.
riginally there was but this one high class annual devoted to motor racing, rallying and topical developments in the motor industry. Since then similar annuals, especially Fl reviews and bigger and more lavish one-make “coffee table” volumes, have flooded the market.
But it is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and in my opinion Automobile Year remains the best. It is handled here by MRP of Croydon; it is, in fact, a three language production. Number 37 contains the expected very thorough review of last season’s racing, Fl covered by John Blunsden, with other leading races and rallies described, the whole illustrated in glorious colour. There are articles by Denis Jenkinson on racing without sponsorship, should this ever happen, and by Michael Cotton on Mercedes in the ascendant in the World Sports-Prototype Championship and on the growth of TWR, which could have come straight out of MOTOR SPORT. The Industry articles run from Japan setting the pace, to Europe’s clean engines, how it all began, in 1889, 30 years of the Mini by Ray Hutton, much more about Japanese cars, a review of the Citroen XM and Peugeot 605 French “flagships”, the prospect for future car sales in India, Japan’s new sports cars, tough times for the USA’s motor makers, and much more besides. There is an explanation of how Art Centre (Europe) collaborated in designing a new cover for “Automobile Year”, although the present dust-jacket, showing only a Honda saloon, does not indicate the sporting content of “AY”; but then its reputation for such coverage has been long established! This is one book in which advertising, from prestige companies presented in prestige style, does not offend,; this time it comes from Linea Pininfarina, Mahle, Blaupunkt, Lancia, France Design, Renault, Mercedes-Benz, ASC, Longine, Mazda, Volvo, Fiat, Jaguar, Mitsubishi and Marlboro. With so much to read and look at, the price of £24.95 for this year’s Automobile Year cannot be regarded as excessive, for what’ is still, in my opinion, the Rolls-Royce of such annuals. WB