The Hill book

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108

Sir,

I have been a Motor Sport reader for some 25 years, putting up with your occasional involvement with trivia and your seemingly frequent attacks on the British Motor Industry and its products, for the sake of the otherwise excellent technical and historical content:

However, your review of “Graham” leaves me astounded! Having moved, as Armstrongs’ Competition Manager, in his sphere of activities since 1967, I too found the book very readable.

In contrast to your opinion, I thought the last chapter both extremely moving and relevant. In fact, I would suggest it could be of great help to anyone finding themselves in similar circumstances.

Your implications as to the reasons for Bette’s chapter are in far worse taste than anything you may think about the book and I would have thought a retraction would be in order.

South Cove L. BANKS

Replicas

Sir,

As a lifelong reader of your illustrious magazine; a fanatic of the combustion engine (whose enthusiasm is considered by his friends to be almost maniacal); and as a sincere lover of vintage cars, I feel I must register some small protest at your continued public ridicule of those of us who have indulged in building replicas.

Many of us have spent many months, sometimes years, sweating over the perfection of such vehicles, and feel you are being a little unfair. Obviously, the zenith of one’s aspirations is to own a genuine vehicle. Indeed, I would rate driving my own carriage between London and Brighton as the greatest manifestation of my dreams.

But despite all this enthusiasm and adoration, the public circulation of such vehicles on the market is extremely limited. The world of keen enthusiasts is not made up exclusively of members of the House of Lords who wish to sustain their hobby or their livelihood. Nor do we all consist of people who are old enough to have struck a semi-religious bargain years ago; nor indeed, people who are rich enough to have taken advantage of such a bargain even if it came our way.

The facts of the matter are that most replicas are built by people who are ardent but poor fanatics who can only dream about the real thing.

This makes the attitude of your magazine, and, indeed, your own personal comments, uncomfortable and may even alienate many of your readers from your otherwise excellent magazine.

Your attitude is that of the millionaire in Monte Carlo who watches the Niarchos yacht pull into harbour and scoffs at the man who exposes his love of opulent boats by making a balsa model. The situation is akin to the aircraft fanatic who is fascinated by the potentials of aerodynamics, yet can only manage to fly a kite. It is that of the gourmet who ridicules a properly prepared Irish stew because he can remember his last dish of truffles. Indeed, it is like the man who is turned onto music because he once heard a Stradivarius, yet can only afford a fourth-rate violin in order to emulate that first primitive passion.

A replica vintage car is a very poor compromise for the real thing. But to many of us the compromise is the only thing we have, and we love them dearly for it.

Corfe Castle JEREMY FIGGINS