“‘The Motor’ Road Tests, 1963 Series.” 240 pp. 11 1/2 in. x 8 1/8 in. Soft covers. (Temple Press Books Ltd., 42, Russell Square, London, W.C.1. 15s.)
In contrast to the book reviewed above, what excellent value this road-test annual represents. To the expected test reports reproduced from The Motor, covering cars ranging from the Fiat 500D to the Facel Vega Facel II, there are half-a-dozen of the extended six-page test reports with comparative data diagrams which now appear from time to time in The Motor and which show that in their respective classes the Ford Consul Cortina 1500 and Classic, Jaguar 3.4. Renault R8, Ford Zodiac Mk. III, Hillman Imp, and Mini-Cooper are the fastest and most accelerative.
Containing 52 reports and over 250 illustrations, this is a 15s. publication no Motor Sport reader can ignore. The test figures, tabulated at the end of the book, show that the fastest of the cars tested was the Facel Vega, at 132.7 m.p.h., the best over a s.s. 1/4-mile the Lotus Super Seven 1500 in 15.9 sec., the most economical the Fiat 500D with 53.4 m.p.g. In the past photographic backgrounds used to be carefully chosen by road-testers and while this is less evident today, in this book there are a few pictures in this context, notably the Rolls-Royce Phantom V in London traffic, taken through the screen, the Wolseley Hornet on a shopping expedition, the Lotus Elite on Brands Hatch circuit, and the Volga M-21K outside the Marx Memorial Library. This book will occupy enthusiasts for hours, settle discussions, sell cars and generally give pleasure. It even smells good! – W. B.
“Historic Racing Motorcycles,” by John Griffith, is a pleasing little 87-page landscape-shape book (Temple Press, 12s. 6d.) illustrating and talking about 42 exciting racing mounts, from 1906/9 20-h.p.(!) Matchless and N.L.G. J.A.P.s to a 1938 supercharged two-stroke B.M.W. Some are with us still and the author tells us the fate of others. It isn’t strictly correct to say an N.L.G.-Peugeot won the first race at Brooklands, as this was won by Tyron’s Napier, and we doubt if a Morgan 3-wheeler ever broke World’s records at the Track. But this is an excellent bit of nostalgia, worth its price just for the picture of Baragwanath’s Powerplus-blown Brough-Superior sidecar outfit in Brooklands’ guise, with two enormous “cans.”
“The Advanced Driver,” by Norman Sullivan (George Newnes, 21s.), is full of good intentions, in the grooves of which we should try to drive. It won’t teach Motor Sport readers anything, but the countless diagrams could provide material for a motoring parlour game of “do you agree, and if not, why not?” Any author embarking on this subject must be almost afraid to go motoring after his book has appeared! There is a running commentary on page 92, such as you hear between angel-drivers and Mr. Eyles, on which Red Daniells could undoubtedly improve. The book also explains how a gearbox functions.
A book intended to explain motor racing and racing cars to the younger generation is “The Racing Car Explained,” by Laurence Pomeroy (Temple Press Books Ltd., 12s. 6d.). Mr. Pomeroy does not write-down to his youthful readers, there are many good pictures and altogether this would be a good investment for boys with Christmas boxes to spend – father will undoubtedly be caught reading it if you leave it about!
Sometimes the one-make organisations produce better motoring histories than professional authors. The latest “Aston Martin Register,” for 1963, is a splendid reference work on all the Aston Martin models, from the Lionel Martin days to the DB3S. Specifications, competition successes, present whereabouts, registration numbers related to individual cars, members of the A.M.O.C. with their cars and addresses, and some fine pictures are all to be found within the 228 packed pages. The first Register, in 1950, listed just over 100 cars, had 36 pages, and cost 1s. 6d. The 1963 edition lists some 3,000 cars, costs 21s., or 23s. 6d. post free to non-members, from Perry & Routleff Ltd., 4, Kitchen Road, London, W.13.