Books for the new year
"Thirty Years of Motoring for Motor Sport" by Bill Boddy. 160pp. 11" x 8-1/2" (Grenville Publishing Co. Ltd., Standard House, Bonhill Streeet, London, EC2A 4DA. £14.90).
Here at last is the book so many of our readers say they have been waiting for — a résumé of W.B.'s road-testing, and driving other cars (veteran, Edwardian, vintage and historic racing cars included, the last-named embracing two Brooklands lap-record holders) for Motor Sport since 1951, presented as reproductions of the summing-up articles he wrote after each year of road-testing. It takes the reader back to the days of many classic and since-defunct cars, as well as covering most of the well-known makes, in their many variants.
It is illustrated with pictures of such cars, and as the story unfolds one gains an insight into how a motoring writer worked in the post-war period: what, in fact, Bill got up to when working for this paper, and how he regarded the changing scene and developed his style.
Those engaged in restoring old cars, or trying to decide on which make and model to devote such attention, will be able to find out how Motor Sport, at a time when we were considered the most out-spoken of motoring papers — and were banned for a time in trying BMC cars in consequence, the notorious "Bishop Ban" — regarded such cars, when they were new models presented to us for appraisal. In addition, this book represents a sort of index to the full road-test reports which are available from Motor Sport's photostat department. Supply of the book itself is already running low, so if you want to look back at how W.B. saw all the cars he drove between 1951 and 1980, and the journeys made in them, order now, — C.W.
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Two very important revisions of former aviation books have come from Airlife of Shrewsbury, in their nicely-printed format. I refer to "DH — A History of de Havilland" by Martin Sharp which was first published in 1960 and has now been revised and enlarged into a 486 page, 8-1/2" x 5-1/2" study of this important pioneer and his famous Company. The book is the standard work on the subject of all DH matters and no follower of DH can afford to be without a copy, which can be rectified by spending £15.95 on the 1982 edition. I like the manner in which long captions to the many illustrations are placed at the back of the book, supplementing shorter ones beneath each picture. The book is divided into four stages of DH development and there are many erudite Appendices and a full list of all DH aeroplanes and the many aero-engines DH produced. A map of Stag Lane aerodrome is but a fragment of the nostalgia and motoring enthusiasts will note a picture of "DH" in his first car, another of the Chummy Austin 7 by a Cirrus-2 DH Moth, and one of a vintage Hampton tourer towing a Moth with wings folded.
The other important Airlife reprint is "The Tiger Moth Story" by Alan Bramson and Neville Birch, which we reviewed when it was first presented, in 1964. It includes almost everything one can think of about the Tiger, including flying impressions from the back cockpit, and a Log of all these aeroplanes known to the authors. What a combined treat for DH fans these two Airlife books constitute. The Tiger one fills 279 pages and costs £14.95.
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"50 Years of the RAC Rally" by Graham Robson. 70pp. 11-3/4" x 9-1/4". (IPC Transport Press Ltd., Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS. £1.95).
This is another of those fascinating "Autocar Specials", a soft-cover publication about what made the RAC Rally the World's best, to quote the book's sub-title. It consists of reproductions of photographs used in Autocar reports of the Rally from 1932 to 1981, reinforced, as if that were necessary, with an article by Peter Garnier, who went through the 1956 event in a works Austin A55 saloon with Jack Sears, a review of the great rally drivers of 1950-1966, a picture-supplement of the great rally cars of that era, and test reports on the Ford Escort RS1800 that won in 1976 and the Audi Quattro driven by Hannu Mikkola in 1982.
There is more besides, including good colour-plates and a report of last year's Lombard Golden-50 Rally, making this truly wonderful value. The Foreword is by Roger Clark, MBE. A jolly good browse but one error was noted, an AC captioned as a Talbot, in the 1937 Rally.
Incidentally, the first RAC rallies were mad affairs for ordinary cars, of which that of 1935 is described as disappointing, but it wasn't so to one young driver who got through without loss of road marks in a back-braked 1922 8 h.p. Talbot-Darracq but was disqualified from the quick start test as he had no self-starter...—W.B.
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"To Ride The Storm — The Story of the Airship R.101" by Sir Peter G. Masefield. 560 pp. 9-1/2" x 6". (William Kimber & Co. Ltd., Godolphin House, 22a Queen Area Street, London, SW I H 9AE. £75.00).
This is a very important revelation into the realms of airship history, and faintly topical, because once again there are stirrings about airships having a future. The terrible accident to the R.101 near Beauvais in October 1930 ended the British airship programme for all time, in those adventurous pre-war days. The terrible fate of R.101 on its maiden long-distance flight, towards India, in which almost all the passengers and crew perished, including Lord Thomson, the Secretary of State for Air, who was such an enthusiastic advocate of the R.101, caused several books to be written about the tragedy, the first, "The Millionth Chance" by thriller-writer James Leasor. This and other books painted Lord Thomson, a Labour Minister, as ill-informed about the airship and the cause of it making the final flight before it was ready.
It has been left to Sir Peter Masefield, in this magnificently researched and detailed book, to put to rights wrongs committed by others about the R.101 story and Lord Thomson, who was a keen aviation person and knowledgeable with it and who clearly had the safety of all concerned at heart, over and above his personal wish to fly to India in the great airship, the largest vehicle of its kind in the World. Sir Peter Masefield is well qualified for the task he set himself, having been on the design staff of Fairey Aviation and then Technical Editor of The Aeroplane. Afterwards he was Secretary of the War Cabinet Committee on Air Transport and he investigated the post-war possibilities of using rigid airships for trans-Atlantic air services, which is where his interest in the R.100 / R.101 started. He has put an enormous amount into this book, which is not only an enthralling story of its subject but is packed with technical data about the R.101 in particular and airships in general, with many learned Appendices. The foreword is by Doctor Noble Frankland, OBE, DFC, Director of the Imperial War Museum. Some printing errors, of the kind we all seem to suffer from these days, have crept in, but do not mar this great work, which has many well-chosen pictures. What is more, and quite unusual in a technical discourse of this kind, Sir Peter has woven a love story into his text, that between Lord Thomson and The Princess Marthe Bibesco. Altogether, this is an impressive book, very nicely produced, and all the quoted facts and dialogue have references to confirm their authenticity. There is further reference to it in "Cars In Books" on page ????. The Aviation world, airship enthusiasts, and those who enjoy a good documentary, should read "To Ride The Storm".
We have received a very large book by Denis Jenkinson, produced in their expected high-class format by Edita S.A. of Lausanne, called "The Automobile Year Book of Sports Car Racing". The book is bulging with fine pictures of sports-car racing from 1953 to 1972, with detailed captions by D.S.J., such that it has required 244 pages, measuring 12-1/2" x 9-1/2", to contain them. Another superb treat for motor-racing folk. It is distributed by Patrick Stevens Ltd., of Cambridge, who tell us that if ordered up to the publication date of January 31st the price is £14.95, but after that it will cost £19.95. The book includes 62 colour pictures and 237 in black and white. — W.B.
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"Action Stations. 5 Military Airfields of the South-West" by Chris Ashworth. 233pp. 9-1/2" x 6-1/4. (Patrick Stephens Ltd., Barr Hill, Cambridge, CB3 8LE. £9.95).
I have enthused before over these books from PSL which enable any remains of war-time airfields to be investigated by those who care about such things, and those who cannot investigate personally to enjoy doing this from the armchair, using this series of books well endowed with pictures, maps, and keys, 207 of the former and ten maps in the present volume.
Chris Ashworth's "Action Stations" will especially appeal to those aviation enthusiasts who are in the habit of driving about the SW of England. It looks at the airfield at Thruxton, well-known to motor-racing folk, from whence the Bruneval raid was launched, Middle Wallop where John Cunningham gained his great reputation as a night-fighter pilot, and High Post where Spitfires were test flown. It includes Mount Batten from where a Sunderland flying-boat made the first U-boat kill, and St. Ives from whence a Liberator set out and destroyed two U-boats in 20 minutes. Larkhill, Yeovilton, home base of the Falkland's campaign Harriers and the Fleet Air Arm Museum, and much more besides is within the coven of this unusual book, written by a pilot with over 6,000 hours to his credit, on aeroplanes from Tiger Moth to Nimrod. I look forward to further titles in the series. — W.B.
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"Three-Litre Bentley Experimental No. 2 — The Primal Spirit of the Immortal Racing Bentleys" by Timothy Houlding. 70pp. 8" x 11-1/4". (From the Author, at 72 Henwick Road, St. John's Wood, Worcester, WR1 5NT. £8.90 post free).
This is a rather unique soft-cover, lavishly presented record of No. 2 Bentley, written and illustrated by a young member of the B. who has contracted the sort of intense enthusiasm for the W.O. cars which afflicts this Club, and whose 41/2-litre Bentley, built from parts, was seen in the October 1982 MOTOR SPORT. Although iris very difficult to find new facts and figures for such a history, the BDC itself being very thorough in this respect, there is fresh material here, the author having consulted Walter Hassan, Harry Varley and J. E. Foden the first customer-owner of No. 2 Bentley, Reg. No. BM 8752, in compiling his history of this historic car, using also fascinating extracts from the racing diary of Frank Clement who so frequently drove it in competitions. Houlding has also tapped almost every conceivable source for pictures of the car but as these have been blown up, on fine art paper, this enhances rather than detracts from the brochure-like book. Drawings are also used and the whole thing is very nicely produced. I can find very few flaws, although the fatal accident to D. J. Gibson happened at the 1922 August Brooklands Meeting, not at a July Essex MC Meeting as stated and there are few minor points to question.
Although Bentley followers are very well provided for in the way of literature, I think W. O. enthusiasts will find this new contribution irresistible. I understand that only 3,000 copies will be issued.
The idea is to produce further brochure-type books in due course, covering other early Bentleys, such as the controversial No. 1 TT 3-litre, for example. Having found the present one very acceptable I can say truthfully that "I can hardly wait"... — W.B.
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From Albion Scott Ltd., of Bercourt House, York Road, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 OQP, who can supply every known motoring book, so should be kept in mind by all with Christmas book-tokens to dispose of, comes the 1982 edition "le Grande Automobili" full of good things in rather haphazard order, with English "digests" — has Hugh Conway seen the photograph of no fewer than eleven Type 52 miniature electrically-powered Bugattis with child drivers, lined up on a banked track, we wonder? — the book's price: a modest £6.95 for a sort of Italian "Automobile Revue". Albion Scott also distribute "Die Autoshow des Jahres" for the same price, all in colour, including enormous pictures of the "Golden Arrow", the 38/250 h.p. Mercedes-Benz GP 10, and the Napier-Railton.
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Two books with a similar theme are "The Price Guide and Identification of Automobilia" by Gordon Gardiner and Alistair Morris (Antique Collectors' Club, 5 Church Street, Woodbridge, Suffolk, £19.50) and "Michael Robinson's Collector Car Review 1982" (Haynes Publishing Group, Yeovil, £6.95). Both give prices for various collectors' items, either bits and pieces or complete cars, but as such prices quickly change, I fail to see much value in this. The latter book bases the values quoted on auction-sale results, some dating back to 1981, and the Haynes book lists such things as car Club badges. For instance, if you can afford £75 to £125, the book says, for a 1930s BARC badge you can pretend you used to belong to the Brooklands ARC, whether you did or not, by displaying it on your car (until it is pinched) or you might aspire to the Bugatti OC, for example, by acquiring their badge for a fiver or a little more — but I thought such badges remained the legal property of the Clubs that issued them...?
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Autodata have ready their Car Repair Manual for the Ford Escorts from 1980 and for other such manuals, including American ones, over to Albion Scott.
A rather unusual book which will intrigue and instruct bodywork stylists and designers, especially now that low-drag is playing a prominent part in such things, is "Stromlinienautos in Europe und USA" by Ralf J'. F. Kieselbach, for it illustrates and discusses aerodynamics in the construction of passenger vehicles from 1900 to 1945. The text of this large volume (164 11" x 9" pages) is in English as well as in German and although I looked in vain for Lord Brabazon's streamlined Fiat 1100 "FLY-1" (but the type is included) and the Lancia Lambda "Airway" coupe, lots and lots of other low-drag cars, under makes, are there for study and appraisal. Albion Scott can supply this book for £24.50.
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The still-glamorous Lamborghini is the subject of a full study of the Miura, the first V12 supercar of that make. Written by the well-known Peter Coltrin with Jean Francois-Marchet, this is an Osprey title of 184 10" x 7" pages and 150 worthy photographs, a memorial to Pete, who lived virtually on the factory doorstep. The price is £9.95.
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Other new titles for 1983 include a huge "Maserati" tome, in slip-case, by Luigi Orsini and Franco Zagari, taking the history of this previously somewhat neglected make from 1926 to the present, in, take note, 894 data-packed, fully illustrated pages, colour plates included, this enormous 10" x 8" history being distributed by Albion Scott Ltd. for £34.50. They also have a very large, beautifully colour-picture-supported Ferrari No. 2 calendar, selling for around £19.50, and claimed already to be a collectors' item. By the way, Albion Scott's new London premises will be found at Oppenheim Booksellers, 9/11 Exhibition Road, SW7 (01-584 4143), which is open from 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays — who says we British do not toil for our bread? Close to the London Museum complex, the premises are just round the corner from South Kensington Underground Station, and on the 45 and 49 'bus mutes. The Brentford Showroom remains open as before.
Haynes weigh in with three titles in their "Super Profile" series, these being "Morris Minor and 1000" by Ray Newell, "Porsche 911 Carrera" by Chris Harvey, and "Lotus Elan" by Graham Arnold, each of which costs £4.95.
A large pictorial story about "Carroll Shelby's Racing Cobras" by Dave Friedman and John Christy is available from Osprey Publishing Ltd. for £9.95, this 207 page, 11" x 8-1/2" book having plenty of text to back up the 300 photographs. It is a story that deserves to be told in such detail, backed up by Appendices of race results, racing Cobra numerology, etc., about what the publisher's blurb refers to as legends of the 1960s, on road and track, which "in no time had steamrollered the Ferraris on both sides of the Atlantic".
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Newest from the "Brooklands" series of photocopy type reprints from contemporary Press sources is "Jeep Collection No. 1", priced at £3.95 or at £4.45 direct from the publisher at Booktop, Holmerise, Seven Hills Road (hence presumably the "Brooklands" tag, as this was on one much-used route to the old Track), Cobham, Surrey. I see that it includes the article "The Truth About the Jeep" which Capt. John Moon wrote for Motor Sport in 1945.
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Another welcome reprint is that of "The Austin Sunny—The Motor For The Million, 1922-1939" which I suggested R. J. Wyatt should write for Macdonald and which they duly published in 1968. David & Charles did it again in 1972 and such is the popularity of the famous Austin 7 that second and third impressions of this 2nd edition followed in 1976 and 1978. Now we have this fine 216 page edition at £8.95, from the Newton Abbot publishing house, with additions made after Wyatt had met Stanley Edge, the draughtsman who was in at the conception and birth of Sir Herbert's mechanical baby, and with all those detailed Wyatt drawings and tables, etc.
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The AA has come up with an enormous 1983 guide to Hotels and Restaurants in Great Britain which you can buy for only £4.95, all 735 pages of it, not counting the maps. — W.B.
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In preparation for the coming holiday season comes Collins' "Motorists French-German-Spanish Phrase Book". Conveniently sized for the pocket (4-1/2" 7-1/4", 160pp), it contains several sections relevant to motorists, such as those on breakdowns and accidents. The three languages are shown on the same page under each heading, so that no matter which country one is in, the page required remains the same. Finding a phrase is made easy by page-tabs which refer to a front-cover index, and most travel situations should be covered in the text. Although easy to use, this £2.50 book does present the phrase and its pronunciation confusingly close together.—G.C.
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Anyone planning a holiday by tent or caravan will appreciate the AA's "Camping and Caravanning in Britain 1983". As well as listing, classifying, and locating 1,000 sites, it also offers advice on equipment, legal hints, and regional information. Its 228 pages include many maps, and the price is £2.95. — G.C.
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We did not make it clear last month that the big Conway Greilsamer Bugatti book referred to is a second edition, revised and extended, with the Introduction by Baron Rothschild in English. It is said that the first edition sold out at 6,000 copies, representing a turn-over of £180,000! The new edition is available from Albion Scott for the same price, £30. — W.B.