Books for the New Year

Author

W.B.

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“Vintage Cars” by Cyril Posthumus. 96 pp. 11½ in. x 8½ in. (The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, Astronaut House, Fe/sham, Middlesex. £1.50).

At first glance this is just another annual, of which there are already far too many, boiling in the vintage speculative pot. Not so! In the first place, the author is Cyril Posthumus, who knows the subject thoroughly, and secondly, the price is quite reasonable. Posthumus has chosen some excellent pictures black and white and colour, to illustrate his theme, many of which we have either not seen previously or which are so nicely reproduced that they seem to be fresh ones—which makes a welcome change! The book’s theme is not so much vintage cars as such, as the setting of the vintage period, namely the years from 1919 to 1930. Posthumus splits these up into various categories such as the New Motoring, Cars for the Rich, the Vintage Sports-Car, Racing and Record-breaking, and so on, selecting his pictures with a good eye for atmosphere and instruction.

There is one delightful chapter about motoring as it was in the author’s own youth, which captures some of the nostalgia of the young, in love with motor vehicles and living in a Surrey village during the vintage years. I say “some” of the nostalgia, because it would require all the book to cover the period adequately. Drawings and pictures of the mechanical parts of the older cars relieve those illustrations of the cars themselves, and of these, again, Posthumus has found a nice selection. He has also rather cleverly used two colour plates of the Model-T Ford, to make the point that in later times “Lizzie” could be had in other finishes than “any shade of black”, one picture being of a 1924 black tourer and the other of a red 1927 Tudor saloon.

The cover of the coloured dust-jacket is devoted to cars of three different Nationalities, Britain being represented by Philip Mann’s Straker-Squire leaving the starting-line at Prescott. This poses the only really justified criticism of the book, although it is done almost universally, and that is the juxtaposition of modern with contemporary pictures. This author is so accurate that I hesitate to cross swords with him. Indeed, the only points I would raise are that when the Kingston By-Pass was being built in circa 1926-1 remember, because I walked the length of it and on to Weybridge from S. London, on my very first visit to Brooklands—the taxation system was surely a universal RAC-hp one, not the earlier (pre-1920) graded method in guineas which varied with the power, from 61 hp upwards? The Chenard-Walcker is referred to as having four-wheel-brakes, but, I suggest, was more often remembered as having front brakes only, servo-operated from a drum on the trans mission. Also, the picture on page 43 of a Delaunay-Belleville calls this a 1926 six cylinder example, but it is actually of an 114B, which had only four cylinders for its overhead-camshaft dual-ignition engine, and is a picture I took of my own car outside Watlington Station after the war, this car, after various changes of ownership, now being in the Guy Griffiths’ collection.

Otherwise, a book that should please even fully-qualified vintage critics and a good one to have around.—W.B.

“Caring For Your Renault” by J. Dewar McLintock. 136 pp. 9¾ in. x 7 in. (PSL, Bar Hill, Cambridge CB3 8EL. £2.60).

This is a repair and servicing manual devoted to Renault cars from the little old 4CV through the Dauphine, Floride, Caravelle, the Ten to the present Renault 4 and all the existing range. It is not a complete technical manual but is intended rather to guide the hands of those who work on Renaults themselves. In places it is rather superficial, as for example a sectioned engine drawing captioned as showing potential sources of engine wear— “Excess wear usually results in an abnormal degree of mechanical clatter or thumps where larger bearings are concerned.” Nor do I feel that Fiat fans will take kindly to the author’s suggestion that the now-defunct Renault 4CV was “the first true Minicar”!

But there is a lot in this book which should be very useful to Renault owners, particularly the chapter dealing with the electrics and providing a wiring diagram, although only for a 1968 Renault 4. The author is Editor of the Renault magazine Autoworld.—W .B.

“Racing Car Year-1973” by Jonathan Thompson. 96 pp. 8½ in. 11 in. Soft Covers (Bond/ Parkhurst Publications, 1499, Monrovia Avenue, Newport Beach, Garlifornia. 6.95 dollars)

This soft-cover landscape-shape book is a series of pictures with technical specifications of current competition cars, from 39 manufacturers covering eight major formulae: Formula One, USAC, Can-Am, Group 5 sports-cars, Formula 5,000, Formula Two, Group 4 GT and Group 2 touring cars. It is the first of an intended series of reference works by Bond/Parkhurst and is obtainable only from the publishers or from the bigger Californian automotive stores.

The latest title in the Ward Lock Source Book series is “Military Tracked Vehicles” by B. H. Vanderveen. It contains 143 4¾ in. x 6¾ in. pages, is copiously illustrated, and sells for 95p.

A soft-cover edition of “Automobile Design : Great Designers And Their Work” by Ronald Barker and Anthony Harding, which was first published in 1970 and duly reviewed by us at the time, has been introduced by David & Charles, South Devon House, Newton Abbot, Devon, to sell for £2.10. It is composed of chapters devoted to the Bollees, Frederick Lanchester, Henry M. Leland, Hans Ledwinka, Marc Birkigt, Ferdinand Porsche, Harry Miller, Vittorio Jano, Gabriel Voisin, Alec Issigonis, and Colin Chapman. The authors are Jacques Ickx, Anthony Bird, Ronald Barker, Maurice D. Hendry, Jerrold Sloniger, Michael Sedgwick, Jose Manuel Rodriguez de la Vina, D. B. Tubbs, Griffith, Borgeson, Peter Hull, Angela Cherrett, Rudy Kousbrock, and Philip Turner. No prize for saying who wrote what! From this there is much variety and much of interest both about the designers and the great motor-cars they produced. The book is fully illustrated.

The Hamlyn Group is continuing to issue servicing manuals in the Pearson’s Illustrated Car Servicing Manuals series, the latest such books covering the Hillman Avenger, Morris Austin 1800, and Wolseley 18/85, the British Leyland Mini Clubman and 1275 GT and the Austin Maxi. Approved by the RAC, these soft-cover 9¼ in. x 7¼ in.-page-size publications are priced at 75p. each.

The 1974 edition of “The Showmans’ Directory” has been issued by the publisher, at 50p. It contains details of events it could be nice to motor to, if there is any petrol for so doing.

Ross Thomson has persuaded Abelard Schuman Limited of 450, Edgware Road, London, W2 1EG to publish his book “A Child’s Guide to Motor Racing” at £1.45. We always thought we had a rather childish outlook but this picture book leaves us quite disinterested, after seeing a crash scene and a drawing of a very odd Mann in a very odd 1914 GP Mercedes labelled a vintage racing car. But perhaps it will appeal to the very young or to slightly older mentally-retarded children.

Another of the inevitable picture-historybooks about cars is to hand—indeed, we seem to have received an inordinate number of it to review! This is “Sports Cars” by Ray Hutton, from which we note that the so-called “racing correspondent” of Autocar also freelances. Of his book it is claimed that “there is scarcely a race or a car omitted from this mechanised feast”. But as there are but 96 pages and the Index does not, for instance, mention Brooklands, we have come to the conclusion that the puff-writer is also an author of some notoriety. The pictures are also all familiar but if you want a picture-book, with some plates in colour, the publisher is our old friend Hamlyn, who will charge you £1.50 for it.

Ten thousand copies of a motorway map produced by Unipart, British Leyland’s all-makes parts and accessories range, have been presented to the Thames Valley Police for distribution to motorists on parts of the M4 and M1. The map shows Britain’s motorway network with all motorway service areas clearly marked. There is information about motorway signals and signs together with detailed advice on motorway driving from the Thames Valley Police. The maps were received at the Kidlington Police HQ by Chief Superintendent Ray Coxon and Inspector Colin Daft on behalf of the Thames Valley Police from Roland Dixon, British Leyland’s Parts and KD Division Dealer and Customer Relations Manager. They will be issued at motorway service areas and by the police motorway patrols. The maps will be of particular value to the many tourists who travel through the Thames Valley Police area. British Leyland intends to issue copies of the map through the company’s distributor and dealer network and through its 1500 Unipart Centres. Copies can also be obtained from the Public Relations Officer at British Leyland Parts and KD Division, Cowley, Oxford.

Following the introduction of the new hotel and restaurant Guide to Spain and Portugal earlier this year, Michelin are publishing a complementary new Green Tourist Guide to Spain. This is now available, priced at £1.20 and it is the first time that there have been both Red and Green Michelin Guides for the two countries. This new Guide to Spain contains 286 pages, beginning with a 32-page introduction designed to help the tourist plan his trip. This includes a map of the main sights and excursion centres, explanatory chapters on the main geographical characteristics, the nation’s economy, art and literature with special reference to traditional and religious festivals and, of Course, information on bullfights. Three maps of itineraries and a page of practical advice complete this section. The main body of the guide gives a description of the various towns and their museums and monuments, the different regions and their natural curiosities. It has been divided into 12 chapters, each constituting a ‘mini-guide’, with an introduction and a map of the area describing its distinctive features. Another ‘first’ for this guide is the map at the start of the chapters pointing out one or more items which are of particular interest for the tourist, and this is done with the help of miniature illustrations.

A French-Spanish vocabulary and an alphabetical index follow the main part of the Guide.

At present, only a French version is available, but English and Spanish editions are planned for 1974 and a German edition will be brought out in 1975.

Half-a-million copies of a lavish colour illustrated book on car maintenance are to be given away by Duckhams in a promotional campaign which started last October. The book, a practical guide called “Help Yourself”, will be given to anyone buying a gallon of Duckham’s new Formula-Q. motor-oil at stockists all over Britain. Illustrated with full colour photographs and line drawings, the 67-page book has been edited by Cyril Quantrill from an original text by John Mills, the Well-known writer on car maintenance: In his introduction; Mr. Quantrill writes: “The maker’s instruction book should cover all normal maintenance tasks; and for the more technically minded owner, detailed workshop manuals can be purchased from the factory. Both, however, tend to be written in engineering language and to assume that the reader. is already well-versed in mechanical matters.. “That assumption is by no means correct, as is demonstrated almost daily in correspondence received by the staff of

Duckhams Advisory Bureau, so the author— former Editor of leading motor-cycle magazines and an acknowledged authority on car-care matters—has produced a volume which provides a simple general approach to the subject.”

“Racing Car Design and Development” by Len Terry and Alan Baker. 256 pp. 8¼ in. x 5¾ in. (Motor Racing Publications Ltd., Fitzjames Avenue, Croydon, Surrey, CRO 5DD. £4.50.)

There have been earlier hooks with similar titles but this one is not so much historic as a guide to making present-day style racing machinery, Len Terry, as the initiated will know, has had plenty of experience in the exacting field of racing-car design and construction. In this book he goes intimately into the creation of the series of Terrier racing cars, built between 1957 and 1972. This is something the amateur or even the professional designer/constructor will not care to miss, if only to compare the Terry methods with his own.—W .B.

FORTHCOMING BOOKS

WHILE we have seen no sign of Peter Hull’s Salmson History, we understand that Motor Racing Publications will have published the Triumph Sports Car History by now and that Foulis will have John Oldham’s eagerly awaited book about the Phantom Rolls-Royce cars out early this year.—W.B.