"The Book of the Silver Ghost"

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“The Book of the Silver Ghost,” by Kenneth Ullyett. 110 pp 8 1/4 in. x 10 1/2 in. (Max Parrish & Co. Ltd., 55, Queen Anne Street, London, W.1. 35s.)

It is said that any written work on Rolls-Royce cars represents profitable source of income for its author and Mr. Ullyett has got onto the band wagon, very convincingly until you examine what you get for your 35s.

There is a superficial Introduction by the author. This occupies 7 1/2 pages and imparts nothing new. There are 50 fine photographic or painting reproductions, of which I have seen at least half-a-dozen elsewhere, and an engine drawing from a recent Autocar. And the rest of this book, 62 pages of it, consists of a reproduction of a rather dull instruction book for the Silver Ghost of 1907-9.

I should not have thought this worth 35s. but apparently the publishers think different, for they have announced already companion books on later Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars. No doubt they know what they are doing but the fact remains that a real history of Rolls-Royce has yet to be written and perhaps never will be written unless the first-war, aero-engine “bible” – I quote from the first decent history of the car from Derby, “The Magic of a Name,” by Harold Nockolds – “Bound in dark blue leather, marked ‘Strictly Private and Confidential,’ it is one of the most secret … engineering documents in the World. Only about a dozen copies were printed … with orders that they must always be kept under lock and key, as they are to this day,” is placed at the disposal of a painstaking motoring historian. In that case, presumably such a book, even priced at £20, would be a gold mine. Until it is written you can spend 35s. on this rather attenuated but admittedly fascinating, if superficial, picture book or spend it on a subscription to one of the better clubs catering for these cars. I know where my money would go.

W.B.

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