Reviews, February 2009

Bentley Speed Six
Clare Hay

It’s large, lavish, limited in numbers and extremely expensive, so it ought to be good… Certainly, if you want the entire story of the Speed Six team cars, Clare Hay is the right name. Her research into ‘Old No1’, the first Speed Six which figured in a court case over its authenticity, was staggeringly thorough, and here it’s expanded to cover the three team entries and their race careers, with fine colour shots of all three today. Images of invoices, race entries and other paperwork reinforce the completeness, while the text conveys the constant improvements and sheer effort put in by the works. Hay covers the team cars’ later histories and discusses all the production cars plus the Hassan and Jackson specials, adding detailed specs and race results. One of those definitive works where value stops being an issue; if you want the entire story, you need this. GC
Published by Number One Press, ISBN 978 095358272 3,
£285 in slip case or £385 leather-bound, including courier delivery

British Racing Green / Italian Racing Red
David Venables/Karl Ludvigsen

Picking up the ‘Green’ volume I thought briefly that the much-loved Profiles were back – the cover is a direct reference to those useful booklets. Inside are some handsome racing car drawings, specially commissioned for this new series, though sadly not the three-axis illustrations that delighted modellers in the Profiles. But these books have a wider remit – to encompass the cars, the people and the circuits of the major racing nations.

Venables is an excellent guide to the early days, moving on to today by marques and then by teams, with interesting photos from the Ludvigsen archive. Sadly some colour shots are poorly reproduced. A breathless chapter titled “The rest” tries to cover the full breadth of British enterprise, from Weigel to ThrustSSC, but it’s a good picture of the UK on track.
In the red corner, Ludvigsen takes a chronological approach to Italy’s story, including intriguing lost causes and some fascinating rare photos. Both books are more interesting on the early days, and as such offer a context for today rather than a picture of where we are. GC
Published by Ian Allan Publishing,
ISBN 978 0 7110 3332 0/978 0 7110 3331 3, £24.99 each

Ronnie Peterson
A Photographic Portrait
Photos: LAT. Words: Quentin Spurring & Alan Henry

Motor Sport had first-hand experience of Ronnie Peterson’s enduring popularity in the wake of our cover story in October last year. The reaction from our readers confirmed that affection for the most spectacular Grand Prix driver of the 1970s more than lingers. And 30 years after his death, here is the second book in a matter of months dedicated to his memory.

Peterson’s old friend Alan Henry, who wrote our 2008 cover story, kicks off with a moving tribute, before Quentin Spurring takes over with long, detailed captions to accompany a wonderful selection of images from the LAT archives.

There is very little that is new here, but that is always difficult with such a well-documented driver. And perhaps it isn’t really the point. It’s a ‘comfort blanket’ book, recalling a familiar and fondly remembered decade of racing in which Peterson was a central figure.

The choice of five similar portraits of the man to illustrate Henry’s article is uninspiring, but that is the only flaw in a lovingly compiled tribute to a great man. DS
Published by Haynes,
ISBN 978 1 84425 548 1, £30

Autocourse and calendars Formula 1, World Rally Championship and MotoGP calendars feature photography by Peter Fox, Photo4 and Gold and Goose respectively.

Latest Autocourse yet to land here, but was due to be published before Christmas., calendars: £11.99, Autocourse: £30

Morgan: 100 years Charles Morgan & Gregory Houston Bowden.

Co-written by the current boss and the grandson of Morgan’s founder, this well presented book covers the full story of a British institution. Includes a chapter on Le Mans.
Published by Michael O’Mara Books Ltd, ISBN 978 1 84317 267 3, £30

Stirling Moss print Tim Layzell.

Fine ‘pop art’ work depicting Moss in his Jaguar C-type in 1952 Monaco GP. Printed on very high quality paper, sized 55 x 55cm. Just 450 copies will be sold, all signed and numbered by the artist. or call 0117 9074103, £155 + p&p