“‘The Motor’ Guide to Makes and Models” by David J. Culshaw and H. B. Cottee. 169 pp., 8¾ in. x 5½ in. (Temple Press Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.1. 15s.)
This is a remarkably painstaking work giving in great detail information about all the British cars made from 1945 to 1956. It gives their development histories, their specifications and prices and is, in fact, a fund of information about the cars of the post-war period, with certain Continental models like Renault. Borgward, Fiat, Peugeot, Simca and VW included.
Cars such as the Bradford, Connaught, Marauder and Paramount which are apt to be forgotten get the same treatment as the others. We welcome this conscientious book as filling another gap on the bookshelves devoted to motoring history, although we confess to being puzzled as to who, apart from fanatical enthusiasts, will buy this interesting guide.—W. B.
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“The Jaguar Companion,” by Kenneth UIlyett. 148 pp., 8¾ in. x 5½ in. (Stanley Pout & Co., 178-202, Gt. Portland Street. London. W.1. 12s. 6d.)
A book covering the history of Jaguar is perhaps a bit premature regarded as history, but as an in recent commentary, then this curiously titled work is it. It goes from the era of the Swallow sidecars to the great Jaguar race victories of recent times. We have recalled for us the advent of the XK120, our own report on this car on the road recalling the great performance and smooth running of this sleek car which demonstrated brake fade so alarmingly. The book goes on to fill in much Jaguar history—and no British car has had at more illustrious career. One finds unhappy inaccuracies, however, as soon as one glances at the picture captions—such as that claiming that Stirling Moss and Motor Sport’s Continental Correspondent practised for the 1957 Mille Miglia in a Jaguar, whereas, the 4.5-litre Maserati they really used appears in the picture, while Abecassis is continually spelt Abercassis and a picture of him in an H.W.M. is said to be John Heath. An obvious D-type is labelled Tojeiro and the Monza 500-mile race is described as a Grand Prix, and though Mr. Ullyett’s technical knowledge is good, his racing knowledge is sketchy. Things like that apart, lots of Jaguar lore is packed into this book, which is certainly inexpensive.—W. B.
“‘Aeromodeller’ Annual—1959-1960,” 145 pp., 8¾ in. x 5½ in. (Model Aeronautical Press Ltd., 38, Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts. 10s. 6d.)
Those of our readers who love models, and whom we may have interested in miniatures c.i. engines, will find lots to intrigue them in this well-produced annual. It certainly covers the year in the model aeronautical field in a manner which does great credit to its compilers and this one really is good value for money.—W. B.
“Best Motoring Stories.” Edited by John Welcome. 215 pp., 7 1/10 in. x 5 3/10 in. (Faber & Faber, Russell Square, London, W.C.1. 15s.)
It is very nice to have between two covers a selection of motoring stories by famous authors, some of them from unexpected sources. The authors, excerpts of whose work Mr. Welcome has used, comprise Nigel Balchin, Evelyn Waugh, Rudyard Kipling, Ian Fleming, James Thurber, Ken Purdy, Aldous Huxley, Charles Jarrott, Ralph Arnold, S. C. H. Davis, “Sapper,” T. H. White and Hilary Ford. Jarrott and Davis write of real motor racing. The rest is fictional, featuring respectively, a fictitious Mercedez-Benz, a racing “Plunket-Bowse,” veteran Locomobile and Lanchester, a Mercedes-Benz 300S, an old Reo, a racing driver called Pietro Lonettti based on Nuvolari, a 30/98 Vauxhall Velox, an Edwardian Silver Ghost Rolls-Royce, a “Pantle,” a vintage Bentley and a Trojan.
Not all of the authors get their technical facts right—even Kipling talks of a car’s engines, in the plural—but the amusing thing is that the man who has collected all this material makes most of the mistakes the book contains in his introduction. He tells us the Trojan has no reverse gear, whereas that is what it was able to use to offset its lack of front-wheel brakes, he makes the curious remark that the Type 43 Bugatti “was no oil-painting” and he thinks the Loco-mobile steamer was a monster, whereas in “Steam Tactics” Kipling went out of his way to emphasise its lightweight construction.
This is a Welcome book.—W. B.
“Stop at Nothing,” by John Welcome. 206 pp. (Faber & Faber. 24, Russell Square, London, W.C.1. 5s.)
Another Welcome book—a “thriller” about a hero (with heroine) who has an astonishing number of narrow escapes in at post-W. O. Bentley when involved in rushing about after and away from crooks armed with guns and a “sleek red Ferrari.” Also mentions a D.K.W. and Motor Sport. If you want a thriller you might as well read one with cars in it. . . . The story is set mostly on the French Riviera.—W. B.
“The British Competition Car,” by Cyril Posthumus. 256 pp.. 9 in. x 6 in. (B. T. Batsford, Ltd., 1 Fitzhardinge Street, London, W.1. 25s.)
Here is a history of British competition cars of all types, racing, sports/racing, and record-breaking, produced and illustrated in Batsford’s high-quality style.
The author is painstakingly accurate but inevitably he has had to cover a lot of ground with facts already available in previous, recent motor-racing book. Moreover, he has tried tat cover a very large number of cars, which were unleashed from 1899 to 1957 (why not to 1958?), in this one book, so that it cannot pretend to be much more than a catalogue, a cavalcade of the cars built in this country for competition sorties. With so many similar books available, this one is fair patriotic followers of the Sport rather than for the general reader. It is exceedingly well done, with splendid photographic reproductions and drawings.
Other books received include a very fascinating model-T Ford data manual as issued to Ford dealers in 1926, republished by Floyd Clymer, and other Clymer books on the model-A Ford (“Henry’s Fabulous Model-A”—by Leslie R. Henry, 111 pp., 11 in. x 8½ in., 4 dollars), and Mobilgas U.S.A. Economy Run, both comprehensive and full of pictures—these from Floyd Clymer, 1268, S. Alvarado Street. Los Angeles 6. The model-A Ford book is extremely comprehensive, covering as it does model changes down the years in great detail, particulars of every body-style ever produced on this popular chassis, some absorbingly interesting data on how the car was evolved and who designed it, output figures, hints and tips, articles on how model-A’s have been restored, colour charts for modern paints, a roll specification even to working clearances, etc., together with innumerable pictures. It should be obtainable from specialist booksellers in this country.
Temple Press Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, E.C.1, have a soft cover edition of “Moments That Made Racing History,” by Rodney Walkerley, for 7s. 6d., being an account of exciting incidents in racing and record-breaking from 1902 onwards.
“Sport For Fun,” by Peter Carpenter, is a quiz book on every conceivable sport, including motor and motor-cycle racing (Hutchinson, 8s. 6d.), and the A.M.O.C. has issued its latest Register of Members, Aston Martins and much Aston Martin lore in printed, stiff-cover form, for 17s. 6d. It is available from Motor Racing Publications Ltd., 62, Doughty Street, London, W.C.1.
A Book with a Difference
“Early Motor-Cars,” by George A. Oliver. 26 pp., 14 in. x 19½ in. (Hugh Evelyn Ltd., 9. Fitzroy Square, London, W.1. 52s. 6d.).
This is definitely a book with a difference—the dimensions quoted above are correct and the size of this remarkable picture book is such that it took us some considerable time to decide how to handle it. The best mode of attack seems to be to lie face downwards on the floor but some readers may prefer to lie on their backs with the tome balanced on their knees.
The publisher obviously intended to put George Oliver’s book in the luxury class; apart from the outsize pages they have been extravagant with paper. Unfortunately, this has necessitated a luxury price, which will put this publication out of reach of many old-car addicts. Those who do buy it will no doubt extract one or more of the coloured prints for framing. Such pictures form the essence of the work; fully coloured, very detailed side views of a selection of a dozen car, of the 1904-15 era from the Sword collection in Scotland. They are engineering rather than artistic studies.
The author has backed up these colour plates with a very readable description of each car and brief technicalities appear under each plate. In the main, however, Oliver seems to prefer to show how each of the cars he has chosen fits into history and he does not concern himself too deeply with what lies under bonnet and floorboards. If the author of “The Vintage Motor Car” clearly has a bias towards the Vauxhall, Oliver shows even more strongly marked favouritism for the 40/50 Rolls-Royce. This does not prevent his thoughtful study of a dozen early cars from being very well worth reading and we await his second series with interest. But there just will not be room in which to store this volume in modern bijou homes, nor can it be accommodated in the normal bookcase.—W. B.