Book Reviews

A Leter From Raymond Mays


I have read with the greatest possible interest your new book entitled "The MOTOR SPORT Racing Car Review." I should like to congratulate you heartily on this most interesting publication - the book contains a wealth of information, technically and otherwise, and it will find favour both from the young schoolboy enthusiast's point of view and also from the point of view of the experienced followers of motor racing.

In my opinion such books as your latest publication do a considerable amount of good to foster the interest in motor racing, and in this present mechanised age all possible encouragement should be given to this fine sport which can also bring very direct benefit to the country which participates successfully in Grand Prix races.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Bourne. Raymond Mays.

"Motor Racing In Miniature," by G. H. Deason (Drysdale Press, 7s. 6d.)

This little work, running with its index to 124 pages of high-quality art paper, is particularly well compiled. Those reading it because they take an academic interest in the new pastime of racing petrol-engined model cars will be glad that so much information is given, and moreover, having read this book, will invariably feel that they must build a model at once! - which is the purpose of a publication of this kind. There are drawings and photographs on almost every page and many full-page illustrations, beautifully reproduced, although the majority have appeared in other publications; working plans are not included. The book opens with a chapter on the early history of model-car racing (we are reminded that MOTOR SPORT published the regulations for a Berkhamsted G.P., venue the King's Arms' ballroom, just ten years ago) and following chapters embrace design, engines, chassis, suspension, transmission, wheels and tyres, ignition, tracks and time-keeping, etc. Apart from reference to one illustration of a particular friction drive, which illustration has unfortunately been omitted, and a caption which quotes one model as being a replica of the 350-h.p. V12 Sunbeam, whereas it is a rather poor reproduction of an E.R.A., this book appears to maintain a high degree of accuracy and topicality.

"R.A.C. Jubilee Book-1897-1947" (The R.A.C., 20s.).

Those who are interested in the early days of motoring and the formation, development and present status of the R.A.C., will find much to interest then in this large 200-page book. So far as the sporting side is concerned, the R.A.C.'s Jubilee publication is disappointing. After chapters devoted to the R.A.C.'s Social status (28 pages, 18 illustrations) we come to a section on sporting amenities, with headings on auction and contact bridge, billiards, snooker, fencing, sabre and epée, and squash rackets (4 pages, 4 illustrations), and then find six pages only devoted to motoring sport (one illustration). There are, it is true, other pictures of sporting events elsewhere, but the great Tourist Trophy races and British Grand Prix, etc., are dealt with very superficially, and the R.A.C. I.O.M. races not at all, save for one photograph of the 1937 race, in which the cars shown are not enumerated. The only record attempts referred to are Edge's 24-hour run of 1907, Percy Lambert 's 100 miles in the hour with the Talbot, Joyce's A.C. records at 100 m.p.h., and the 1½-litre Aston-Martin's world's records. To those rabid enthusiasts who are willing to pay high prices for every scrap of new motoring knowledge that they can obtain this Jubilee book will appeal; otherwise, it seems more suited to the old gentlemen who recline in club armchairs in Pall Mall than to the younger generation that still takes a steering wheel in its hands.

"Model Diesels," by D. J. Laidlaw-Dickson (Harborough Publishing Co., Ltd., 7s. 6d.).

This is an admirable little book, running to 128 art-paper pages, which will guide and entertain those interested in the new diesel, or more correctly, compression-ignition, model engines, either for use in model cars or as an absorbing engineering study.

The book is very well and comprehensively illustrated and describes practically all the known model c.i. engines, a chapter being devoted to those up to 2½ c.c. and another chapter to engines exceeding 2½ c.c. (that is, up to 6 c.c., if we except a 14-c.c. flat-twin). It is impressive to find that these chapters cover engines from Switzerland, France, Czechoslovakia, Scandinavia, U.S.A., and Italy, as well as those made here, and unexpectedly refreshing to discover quite a meed of criticism of certain engines, as well as praise. Knowledge gained by four years' research work is thus usefully imparted and its practical application benefits other sections of the book and is embodied in a useful table of fuel mixtures. There is an appendix giving the c.c., bore and stroke in mm., weight, r.p.m., h.p., and model-aircraft propeller requirements, of some 65 different engines. The makers' addresses are also listed and the book, which is written throughout in anything but stodgy language, is well indexed. In brief, a remarkable and pleasingly thorough little work.

"Floyd Clymer's Historocal Motor Scrapbook No. 4" (Clymer Motors, Los Angeles, $1.50).

Floyd "Clymer's fourth "Scrapbook " continues his early motor-cycle experiences and contains the usual collection of photostat reproductions of early American advertisements. The latter cover mainly the period 1903 to 1926 and, in particular, depict some of those Ameriean cars Of the early nineteen-twenties, which we dimly remember from our youth and which even then all looked exactly alike - Nash, Earl, Paige, Durant, Jewett, Dodge, Cleveland, Case, Birch, Columbia, American Six, etc. We find in this Scrapbook many, many more, all similar in outward appearance, and imagine later books in this series will mingle further old favourites with these rarer makes. Incidentally, was this family likeness amongst the majority of American cars at this time responsible for the later fantastic adoption of individual trends and yearly changes? Scrapbook No. 4 runs to 219 pages; we rather wish each had been devoted to one given period of automobile development, but jointly, the collection of advertisements is certainly comprehensive.