Books for the new year
“Porsche Excellence Was Expected The Complete History of the Sports and Racing Cars” by Karl Ludvigsen. 886 pp. 8 in. x 9 in. (‘Automobile Quarterly“, 245 West Main Street, Kutitown, Pennsylvania, 19530. 64.95 dollars; leather-bound limited edition, 85.95 dollars).
Although they have had shorter runs than those makes of cars born in the early days of the automobile, Ferrari and Porsche have, justifiably, had so much attention paid to them by authors and historians that the flood of recent books relating to these two famous cars, in all their model and bodywork variations and competition endeavours, has been very confusing. Now there is no need to experience this any longer, so far as Porsche is concerned. For that great and tenacious automotive writer Karl Ludvigsen has laboured to produce the entire Porsche story to date, for the Automobile Quarterly Library, in one great volume.
Since reading his great work on the racing Mercedes-Benz cars I have had enormous admiration for Karl’s studious and very thorough approach to such tasks. Certainly he has excelled himself over the Porsche story. His great tome equals that “Bull-Nose” book in weighing nearly half-a-stone, runs to nearly 900 close-packed pages, and it embraces an enormous supply of photographs, colour-plates, diagrams, drawings and tables. After the familiar description of Ferdinand Porsche’s pre-Porsche career the book gets going about everything Porsche, right up to the Type 928, in the greatest detail. 1 was reminded early on when reading it how interested I was when D.S.J. took me out long ago in his Type 356 Porsche, that he was to use for his Continental travels for Motor Sport, as he demonstrated its ingenious and sensible features. I was soon to be reminded of my visits to the ever-enthusiastic Porsche factory at Zufferhausen and of trying the 195os models on the near-by German autobahn. This book covers them all, the t5oos, the Spyders, the 356A, the RS models, the 911 and 912, the Carreras, right up to the present-day Porsche productions, including all the competition exploits and successes of the make. There are even maps of Porsche country, and the tabulated data covers Porsche competition victories from 1948 to 1976 and a long bibliography and indices run to 14 pages, that alone being a measure of the size of this comprehensive coverage, also so beautifully produced. Ironically, in the leather-bound review copy of “Porsche” the section about today’s models has been inserted upside down and backto-front, as if to put history in perspective. Porsche fanatics should have a good year, absorbing all the information and nostalgia that Ludvigsen has provided for them. W.B.
“Bugatti-Evolution of a Style” by Paul Kestler 141 pp. ii in. x 8+ in. (Patrick Stephens Ltd., Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB? 8EL. £16.95).
This is a book about the bodywork found on the more stylish Bugattis and if there is any single make, marque, call it what you will, that Was beautifully styled, from the engineering as well as the external aspect, it was the Bugatti. The author, an electrical engineer appropriately from Alsace, has concentrated on the bodywork designed first by Ettore Bugatti himself, then on that from the drawing-board of his son Jean Bugatti, the coachwork dealt with thus ranging over the years 1913 to 1947.
The book provides a fresh look at the career of the Bugattis and is illustrated with 96 colour and 97 black and white pictures. Many of the photographs reproduced will be familiar to close followers of the Bugatti story and so it is from the sketches and colour-plates that most of the satisfaction will be drawn. The production of this book was in the hands of Edita of Switzerland, so high quality was ensured from the start. The book is divided into chapters about Ettore Bugatti in his formative years, the origins and successes of this quite remarkable, artistic family, the early days at Molsheim (magic name!), pur sang during the ‘twenties, La Royale, Jean Bugatti’s “hallmark”, and the war-time and post-World War Two prototype Bugattis.
The Preface is by none other than the courageous Elisabeth Junek, Bugatti racingdriver, and there is a portrait of her in what must surely be a Type 43 Bugatti with a scuttle-cowl replacing the usual windscreen? This book is an expensive luxury, but I suppose if you can afford to run a Bugatti in 1978 you can brush aside its price….-W.B.
“The Triumph TRs A Collector’s Guide” by Graham Robson. 128 pp. 7 1/4 in. x 9 in. (Motor racing Publications, 28, Devonshire Road, London, W4 2HD. £5.95.)
The story of how the rugged, popular Triumph TR sports-cars were evolved, from a variety of Triumph and Standard parts, commencing in 1952, has oft been told, but here is the entire story of this and the development of the TR Triumph through all its variants, up to the present controversial TR7 by, guess who well, of course you guessed correctly Graham Robson.
Robson has a special ability to write fully and accurately of Leyland products and in this book, although I do not see that TRs are so much collector’s pieces as usable motor-cars, he expounds at length not only about how the different marks of TR were constituted but about how they performed, how they sold and also how to service them, and of how they fared as competition cars. The prototypes and specials, like the Zoom, Italia, Francorchamps and others, are not forgotten and the book abounds in good pictures, and it has information about spares and maintenance; handbooks, technical specifications, commission number-sequences, and home and export sales-figures. It is rather unfortunate that in a caption which commences: “What is Wrong Here?” the brake-lever is mistakenly referred to as the gear-lever! Otherwise no complaints. Definitely one for TR fanatics and those who like to acquire an intimate knowledge of all motor-cars. What next, Robson? – W.B.
“Maserati: The post-war sports/racing cars” by Joel E. Finn. 224 pp. 12 in. x 9 in. (Patrick Stephens Ltd., 9, Bar Hill, Cambridge C83 8EL. Soft cover £8.50, hard cover £18.95.)
If the Bologna Trident means anything to you then you will have to buy this book. It covers the sports Maserati cars from 1946 to 1965 built specifically for competition purposes. Each type is covered in great detail as regards history, specifications, modifications, with wealth of facts and figures. The photogra alone make this book worthwhile, but addition there are reproductions of fa handbooks, brochures and specification sh The author owns a number of Maseratis, while being a keen Maserati enthusiast he not blind to the short-comings of the from Modena, nor to their mismanaged ra policies at times. Finn is not a professi journalist so his words are refreshin simple and honest, without journal platitudes and cliches, “The 450S loo purposeful, covered with vents, scoops, h and bulges, every element of the car contri ing to conveying an image of brute force had it all.”–D.S.J.
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“The Road & Track Illustrated Auto dictionary” by John Dinkel has little use to th who already know about what constitutes motor vehicle, but might just be a suitable present for an American girl-friend whom you want to interest in your hobby. Naturally we looked to see how the author explained “hood” and sure enough the explanation is: “The lift-up part of the car body covering the engine; normally term used only in reference to front-engine cars. In mid-engine designs this panel is usually called an engine cover or access panel and rear-engine cars a deck lid.” Published by W. Norton & Co., New York, no price quoted.
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A little “pot-boiler” but an enjoyable one albeit the pictures are “old chestnuts”, is Shire Publications’ “Lord Nuffield” by Peter H No.39 in the “Lifelines” series. The name of the author ensures accuracy, the timing is appropriate, and the UK price of 75p is modest. The publisher’s address is: Cromwell House Church Street, Princes Risborough, Bucks. The little 48-page, soft-cover history has been piled with the support of the Thames & Chilt Tourist Board.
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The RAC has taken some town-plans from handbook and has bound them up into sin volumes. That covering Southern England, Nv 63 towns in 78 plans, is available from them £1.75; Curious that Reading and other im tans towns are omitted however.
Cars In Books
IN “Drawn From Life” by John Skeapt (Collins, t977) I discovered that in 1933 famous sculptor sold his “lovely old Rolls-Roy to a garage for 250 in cash, after it had brok a piston while travelling back to London at m.p.h. from a week-end at Easton Neston. It replaced by a Vauxhall estate-car, described “just the job” for a tour in France the follow year. I also learn that the author’s Christopher was a professional Formula T driver of the I 97os and that Skeaping bought Daimler SP250 for a trip to the South of Fran The book also refers to Marion Hart, who h just flown her single-engined Beecher aeroplane solo across the Atlantic and was go on to circumnavigate the African continent. A parently this 81-year-old lady had flown Atlantic alone four times and did so again 1975 aviation-minded readers will note. Some interesting motoring references ap in “The Tightrope” by Cecil Parrott (Fa Faber, 1975), which is a very readable account how the author was tutor before the war to Pet
the Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, and about his later function in the British Press Reading Room in Stockholm, during the war, when he gamed an intimate knowledge of Balkan politics: I was attracted to it by the dust-jacket, depicting what I at first thought to be a police hold-up of a Rolls-Royce Phantom but which, from a better picture within the book, I see depicts the unhappy assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia in Paris in 1934. The car is, 1 think, a Delage, but, remembering that a La Salle (or Cadillac) was in use in French diplomatic circles about this time, it could be the latter. Leaving this sad happening aside let us look at the motoring references. It is intriguing to learn that in 1934 the Second Secretary at the British Legation in Belgrade, Mr. Cowan, was using a Riley. The Court cars in Hercegnovi at that time were Packards, which will please those who think this make to be the equal of Rolls-Royce! The Queen of Yugoslavia also kept a Ford roadster for the use of her young son, which she called “the bone-shaker”. Cecil Parrott was invited to drive the Prince in it but although he had held a licence from the age of 13 (giving his age as 14) for motorcycles and cars, in England, he decided this task was too risky, in the unpredictable Balkan traffic and SO he let a chauffeur take over. (One wonders what car Parrott learnt on and what he ran while he was at Cambridge.) He later refers in his book to a fleet of Yugoslavian ‘ Royal cars going to the Austrian frontier, when the Prince was on his way to his school in England and the King and other members of the Royal Family were seeing him off. The Royal chauffeur is described as taking the open-bodied Packard “at a good lick”; the subsequent adventures of this risky journey to England are well 1 worth reading, … This book even recalls the model stationary steam-engines, one purchased at Harnley’s, which the Prince played with in England (which reminds me of my own childhood). After the dramatic assassination of his Father, the boy was hastily brought from his school in Cobham, in Surrey, to Claridge’s, in a • Daimler hired from Daimler Hire Ltd., who had . previously supplied, I assume, the “antique car” used to take the Prince down to his school, in which the chauffeur was fully exposed, “except for a top covering which made a great noise in /
the wind and twice blew otT, so that a stop had to be made to retrieve it” the author calls this a cabriolet, but it was• really a coupe de vine, surely? I am surprised Daimler Hire had one of these, in 1934. There is a good photograph of the Daimler saloon used on the second, sad, occasion Reg. No. GO logo which should be of interest to Brian Smith, who wrote that fine book on Royal Daimlers which includes information about Daimler Hire [.td. Incidentally, the car in Which the King was assassinated is described as possessing “extremely wide running-boards”, Which might suggest .a Delage rather. than an American car? It carried the French (?) Reg. No. 6068-CA6. The Crown Prince is referred to as having had at home two small model cars, one a Skoda, ‘resented to aim by the Czechoslovak Governens, the other a Miniature Adler, given by the irermans. He is said to have preferred the SkocJa, tit only because “it emitted whiffs of petrol as it went round corners”, from which I deduce that h
ese were working models the Prince could acnails. drive. I scanned the new book “When The Riviera as Ours” by Patrick Howarth (Routledge & K egan. Pall.,. 19771 but there is not much about otormg in n, apart from a reference to the cars charabanc.s which ran from all the different
Riviera towns in 1921 and the people who were arriving there in cars by 1923, Fiats, Citroens and Talbots being noted, and in 1924 or so, a return service from the Riviera in “luxurious half-open and half-shut” cars. ‘Mere are brief references to early motor races on the Riviera, such as at Nice in t904, when the Princess Daisy of Mess is noted as marvelling that Rigolly did over too k.p.h. in winning the third Henri de Rothschild Cup race in a Gobron-Brillee, and to the first Monte Carlo Rally taking place in 1911 and concours d’elegance before that. Woolf Barnato gets a brief mention, as a celebrity on the Riviera, but when the author comes to the first Monaco Grand Prix he writes of Williams winning the 1929race to the crazy delight of the British spectators (but how many knew Williams as an English driver, at the time?) and of their regret that he was in an Italian car whereas, of course, the Bugatti was by then a French make. W.B.
MECCANO-DINKY have brought out a )28 mm.-long miniature of the Austin Princess 2200111. saloon, to their usual high standards, with glazed windows, interior details, and even door handles and the outline of the petrol-filler flap. It is No. 123 in the Dinky ‘l’oy series and the recommended UK retail price is Li.49. The finish is bronze, and the vinyl-covered doorpillars of the real car are correctly simulated. W.B.
The Things They Say …
“Mr. Hans Renold, who is one of the finest engineers in this country, said … that he had seen most of the best cars in Europe and there were a number of British-built chassis that were certainly not equalled by anything he had seen on the Continent … Well, having proved its ability in this way, the British industry asks for and deserves the fullest support which the British public can give it, and if the British public will give this support whole-heartedly we can let the enemy ‘dump’ until he is tired of the game and, however severe the trade crisis may be in other countries, the British trade, working handin-hand with the British public, will be able to pull through. Great Britain ismaking today no more cars than can be absorbed easily at home if foreign importations are ignored by the buying public” Henry Sturmey, writing in The Motor in 1.907. Over severity years later his sentiments have a familiar ring!
The Model Engineer Exhibition
ON JANUARY 5th, the 47th Model Engineer Exhibition will be opened at the Wembley Conference Centre by the Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Although this great congregation of model and woodworking craftsmen does not usually include many motor car models, there is usually much of interest to our world, and as the handout material features a Grand Prix Bugatti, perhaps this year there will he more in the internal-combustion and road vehicle line. The Exhibition stays open until January 14th, including Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. except that on the last day it closes at 7 p.m. Admission costs 75p for each adult, 50p each for schoolchildren, with a reduction for parties. The Exhibition Manager can be contacted via Box 35, Bridge Street, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, 1-1PI 1EE.