255 pp. 8-1/8 in. x 8 in. (Anthony Blond Ltd., 56, Doughty Street, London, W.C.1. 84s.)
Most reviewers go into raptures over this big picture book but I am not one of them. It is true that it presents some very fine pictures of historic vehicles, from Cugnot’s steam vehicle of 1770 to the present day, large in size, some in colour and most of them splendidly reproduced. But many of these pictures are makers’ hand-outs and the presentation appears haphazard to use as many of these pictures as possible.
The book appeared orginally in Italy, having been compiled by Gianni Mann and Andrea Mattel. The translation is by Rodney Walkerly and Lyon Benzima and there is a Foreword full of praise by the Rt. Hon. the Lord Brabazon of Tara, P.C., G.B.E., M.C.
There has been a flood of similar picture books about motor cars; they are nice to glance at but contribute little to serious history. In this instance there are some unfortunate errors which the translators have failed to erradicate. I will not detail them but the most pathetic is that which refers to the 1930 Le Mans Talbots as having side-valve engines! There is unnecessary padding of the text that accompanies each picture, such as adding the informa-that the 10/23 Talbot had a 3-speed gearbox with a reverse, as if in this it differed from the 8/18, which it didn’t, whereas the fact that the 10/23 had a differential whereas the 8/18 hadn’t, is passed over. Even the magnificent illustrations are suspect, for that purporting to be a 30/98 Vauxhall looks suspiciously like a 23T60.
The quality of this book results in a high price which, for serious students, makes it a luxury they shouldn’t afford.—W. B.
Book reviews, August 1951, August 1951
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