Book Reviews, January 1953, January 1953

Garages de France

For those who enjoy Continental motoring a French publication entitled “Garages de France” will be a useful companion to the inevitable “Guide Michelin.” Giving a complete list of the larger garages in France, together with their activities and service equipment, this book is almost certain to earn its keep in the door pocket. If it doesn’t, the enthusiast can always derive pleasure from the sight of the Bugatti steering wheel on the cover which shows that the French are still true believers in “class and distinction.”  — D.S.J.


You Can Draw Cars  by Bill Jenks. (68 pp., 8-1/2 in  by 5-1/2 in. Autobooks, Burbank, California;  2.50 dollars).

This is a most attractive drawing lesson, step by step, by a man who is obviously a first-rate artist but, as important, also one who knows his cars.


This Thing Motor Racing  (40 pp., 11 in. by 8 in. Auto Course Ltd., 48, Brook Street, London, W1; 5s.)

This pictorial motor-racing book contains a novel idea. You are given the choice of either a 4-1/2–litre Ferrari or 159 Alfa-Romeo and then taken pictorially through a Grand Prix race.

The effect is rather, “Alice on the Race Course” because the pictures are of many races and cars. One moment you are Ascari, at another Sanesi, then you change like lightning into Farina, Simon, Moss, Fischer. Fangio . . . Crossing the line as winner you are Farina in an Alfa-Romeo at Silverstone, but as you come to rest, tired but triumphant, you turn into Rosier sitting in his Talbot at Zandvoort, only to be acclaimed by the crowd a moment later as Fangio at Barcelona and then to drink with with your team-mates at Nurburg.  Your team manager starts off  as John Wyer preparing a Le Mans chart (for a G.P. race !) in his drawing room, but soon changes to a pre-war Neubauer and later to the Alfa-Romeo chief, although Neubauer comes back before the race finishes ! This is a bit confusing but the fact is, most or all of the pictures have appeared previously in Auto Course.  But the jumble does not detract from a very clever theme and the excellent pictures are beautifully reproduced on good paper.  Each one—they total 68—is captioned in detail at the end of the book, which enables a pleasing “general knowledge” game to be played with oneself, another angle of a fascinating five-bob’s worth.— W. B.


The Gun Digest. Seventh edition. Edited by John T. Amber. (224 pp., 8-1/2 in.  by 11 in.  Wilcox and Follett Co., 1255  S.Wabash Avenue, Chicago 5, New York; 2 dollars.)

We do not know if this book was sent to us because someone in America imagines the Editor wants to shoot someone !  We are chary of reviewing it in case anyone wants to shoot the Editor, for this very thorough book gives so much useful data on guns old and guns new that after reading it even a novice could hardly miss. It shows how industrious the American Publisher is and the price,  as U.S. prices go, seems moderate for a book it will take us a year to digest .–W. B.


The Motor Cycle  Road Tests, 1949-1952. (64 pp. 8 in by 10-1/2 in. Iliffe and Sons Ltd Dorset House, London S.E.1: 3s. 6d.)

It is becoming popular for motor journals to issue their road test reports annually in book form and a very useful habit this is. Previously the Motor Cycle  tests have not been available in this way but now a start has been made. This first book, containing as it does 30 full tests, very well-illustrated, is excellent value. It covers the period 1949-1951 and a range of machines from the 98-c.c. James Commodore to the 998-c.c. Vincent-H.R.D. “Black Shadow.”  Reports on eight combinations are included. Unlike Temple Press, Iliffes do not include drawings of the machines, but engine drawings are available in a separate publication.—W. B.


Horseless Savages by W. H. Charnock. (39 pp.  5 in  by 7-1/2 in.  Published by the author, from The Grey House, High Salvington, Worthing;  6s.)

This is another book of those motoring poems which Bill Charnock does so well.  We enjoyed them all and shall try to learn the easier ones!  Perhaps the best of them is ” Imposhumous Motors Unltd”  but the general standard of most is high, the humour as technically correct as it is witty. You must get this little volume and lose your cares in its pungent lines.  We should not be surprised if clubs find some of the items forming sing-songs on pub nights. Charnock is soon to present us with his fourth book—  “Unbalanced Cranks.”  Order this as you buy his “Horseless Savages”  —W. B.


The Autocar  Road Tests, 1952  (96 pp., 8-1/2 in. by 11-1/2 in. Iliffe and Sons, Ltd., Dorset House, Stamford Street, S.E., 5s.)

This book requires no explanation. It consists of this year’s Autocar  Road Tests in book form, a most valuable, reference work. There are no embellishments, apart from a long article on road test procedure by John Rabson of the Autocar  technical and road test staff.  The tests appear exactly as published, which is as it should be, although it seems a pity an up-to-date list of prices could not form a supplement. One amusing error, duly corrected under “Errata,” is that the tester apparently thought the Holden was a four-cylinder car, subsequently discovering that he had been driving a six!  But we have dropped that one ourselves! A thoroughly pleasing dollar’s-worth, this.—W. B.


Motor Sport  Racing Car Review – 1953  by D. S. Jenkinson  (Grenville Publication Co. Ltd., 15, City Road, E.C.1.   132 pages, 8s. 6d).

Another edition of Jenkinson’s annual review appears. This one dealing with the foremost Formula One, Two and Three racing cars of the 1952 season. Each car gets at least one full-page photograph to itself, the book is an attractive publication on art-paper and in it one gets a clear picture of how each marque and type fared last year, of the car’s technical make-up and future possibilities. There are quick-reference specification tables for each car and some valuable hitherto unpublished data from the pen of one who goes out to see the Continental races and to interview racing-car sponsors. The book covers Alta, Aston-Butterworth, B.R.M., Connaught, Cooper-Bristol, Cooper-E.R.A., Cooper 500, G-type E.R.A., single-seater Frazer Nash, Fl  and Fll Ferrari, Gordini, H.W.M., Kieft, Maserati-Platé, the new Maserati and Fll  O.S.C.A.  The foreword is by the editor of Motor Sport.