British Grand Prix
by Maurice Hamilton. 271 pp. 10½” x 8¼”. The Crowood Press Ltd, Gipsy Lane, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 6DQ. £18.95.
This is a revised and enlarged edition of a very complete record of this country’s own Grand Prix. In fact, not only has the author remembered that this race commenced in 1926 and was run again at Brooklands in 1927, but he has included those ever memorable, for those who saw them, Donington Grands Prix, quoting from my Motor SportBook of Donington a few of my youthful impressions of the then unaccustomed might of the Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union teams, although these races were in fact not in the British GP series.
This is a detailed, readable book, with colour plates, but otherwise not too many illustrations, tabulated results and circuit maps. The story comes right up to date with the 1990 Foster’s GP. A good Christmas holiday read.
Track Pass — A Photographic View of Motor Racing, 1950-1980
by Geoff Goddard. 256 pp. 10¾” x 10¼”. The Crowood Press Ltd, Gipsy Lane, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 6DQ. £29.95.
Helped by Doug Nye, Geoff has put a selection of 300 of his black and white motor racing photographs between the covers of this big book. They are laced by pithy and fully explanatory captions and cover a wide range of evocative pictures, not only of racing cars and great drivers in action and repose, but of other happenings which have made up the motor racing scene over the last three decades: Clark being arrested by the police at Zandvoort, Moss exhausted, off duty scenes, the crowds, etc.
I was disappointed that not all the Goddard shots used to illustrate a generous preview of his book in a contemporary monthly appeared in the book itself, and there are perhaps more after-crash pictures than are absolutely necessary, although these are all part of motor racing. The mass of pictures offered to the viewer is divided into chapters race by race, with accompanying text. Camera buffs might have liked more about that side of things, but as one who has had to work with Box Brownie, VP Kodak, Rolleiflex and Canon Sureshot, I admire Goddard’s pictures. So another one to enjoy over Christmas if you indulge in fairly expensive presents.
Grand Prix People
by Gerald Donaldson. 352 pp. 9″ x 6″. Motor Racing Publications Ltd, Unit 6, The Pilton Estate, 46, Pitlake, Croydon, CRO 3RY £19.95.
This is a book containing an astonishing number of short interviews with prominent Grand Prix people. It has to be said that they are almost all there, from Bernie Ecclestone and Jean-Marie Balestre to lesser luminaries, from Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost, to the paddock workers, the race mechanics (I have got that in the wrong order, perhaps?), racing car designers, technicians, transporter drivers — you name someone and Donaldson seems to have been at him (or her) with his tape recorder.
He divides his victims into those along the pitlane, those in the paddock and those in the Press room, and there are no less than 47 of the last named, our DSJ and DJT among them. Indeed, in all, the reader has 110 pocket interviews to digest. Some are quite outspoken, but I will refrain from spoiling the author’s ploy by publishing quotes by top drivers and leading F1 designers about their fellow drivers and those who drive for them. Reading other people’s views are nearly always interesting and Donaldson has taped some very top people, so this book should appeal. It has 80 good black and white and 29 good colour pictures, too.
The Turbo Years — Grand Prix Racing’s Battle for Power
by Alan Henry. 283 pp. 10½” x 8¼”. The Crowood Press Ltd, Gipsy Lane, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 6DQ. £18.95.
There have been a number of books about motor racing recently which have concentrated on one period, presumably because the authors thought the years they were covering were of particular interest or importance or because that was a favourite period or one the writers were particularly qualified to cover.
Alan Henry is well able to apply himself accurately and interestingly to any part of the modern racing scene. In this book he has chosen to enlarge on the time of the very powerful, very fast, innovative turbocharged F1 cars. It was an exciting development, if bound about by various rules and restrictions. So it is useful to have a full account of the years from 1978 to 1988. Nor is this book completely technically orientated. Henry is motoring correspondent for The Guardian and editor of the Autocourse annual, and he not only attends every F1 race but he knows the drivers, team managers and designers personally, and so he has been able to include many anecdotes in this study of an intense battle between all powerful Grand Prix cars, as we then saw them — just as before the war we marvelled at the sheer power and high speed of the German GP cars.
Alan Henry endorses his reason for giving us The Turbo Years by remarking that while it is possible that those who read the book will conclude that nothing much has changed except the technology, the human element remains as vulnerable, inconsistent and unpredictable as ever, “which is what makes this business so uniquely compelling”.
Two one-stable racing histories have come from The Crowood Press, address as above. One is about the Benetton-Ford organisation, by Phil Drackett, the other covers the Williams team, by Bruce Grant-Brabham. They are priced at £17.95 and £19.95 respectively and should be welcomed by race followers who want the inside stories and plenty of pictures.
Bristol — An illustrated History
by Charles Oxley. 320pp. 11″ x 8½”. The Crowood Press Ltd, Gipsy Lane, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 6DQ. £35.00
The Bristol, as a highly individualistic British luxury/high performance car, deserves good coverage but, in the main, has stood for many years by Leonard JK Setright’s authoritative work on Bristol Cars and Engines, published by Motor Racing Publications back in 1974. Charles Oxley, President of the Bristol OC which he helped to found, bought his first car of this make in 1951.
His book does not set out to challenge Setright’s history but is, as it were, supplementary to it, being intended as a pictorial history with the photographs linked by a lively text. In some ways there is a touch of the enthusiastic club magazine about it, but true Bristol believers will revel in the illustrations covering almost everything Bristol, from the origins of the Filton factory in aeronautical days, through the well-liked 400, 401, 402, 404, 405 and 406 models, to the larger engined cars, the racers, the record breakers, the Arnolt-Bristol, etc.
The author does not mince matters when opinions justify this and his book has advice on buying the 407 to 411 models, and it is bang up to date. Should be in every Bristol enthusiasts’ Christmas Stocking.
Unable to revive the old Profiles, GT Foulis & Co of Yeovil has commenced its new Autofolio Series of compact, but comprehensive, studies of famous cars, in a 72 page 10″ x 8″ format. The first of these covers the Ferrari Testarossa by Philip Porter, illustrated with David Sparrow’s photographs. You get all the expected data, tables, colour pictures, even an interview with an owner, rather as in a motorcycle series we used to enjoy, also information on how to work on your Testarossa and comparisons of it with rival cars. All for £9.95. Future Autofolio Series are to cover the TR Triumphs, blower 4½ Bentley and the 2cv, etc, a nice mixture.
The 1991 FIA Yellow Book, motor racing’s Bible, will be available from Menoshire Limited from mid-January. It will cost £31.95 but is nevertheless indispensable. More information on its availability from Menoshire Ltd on 081-566 7343.
The Motor Car In Art
by John J Zolorni. 300pp. 10¾” x 11″. Haynes Publishing Group, Spark ford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7JJ. £49.95.
Based on an American Automobile Quarterly publication, this rather magnificent book has photographs innumerable of items from the Raymond E Holland Automotive Art Collection, depicted by cameraman Bradley A Schaeffer. It takes much time to assimilate the motoring paintings alone, so the book’s high cost is perhaps justified. The illustrations (500 in all) are accurately captioned and details published of the artists involved, who number an impressive total of 156. Their art is of all kinds, and I found this part of this very large book more interesting than those sections devoted to metal and ceramic car models, playthings, smokers’ companions with an automobile flavour (no pun intended) and general motorabilia.
Most of these motoring artists are largely unknown, apart from Guy Lipscombe, SCH Davis, Peter Helck, Rene Vincent and a few others, who include F Gordon Crosby, although only a few of the lastnamed artist’s pictures are included, which is a relief, because there has been rather a surfeit of them recently! The colour is mostly excellent in this highclass production and Douglas Tubbs gets justifiable recognition of his early appreciation (and book) of the motoring artist’s work. Mascots and trophies are not overlooked and this fine book might make a very good present.
The Alfa Romeo Tradition
by Griffith Borgeson. 208pp. 12¼” x 9¾”. Haynes Publishing Group, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7JJ. £35.00.
Books on the subject of Alfa Romeo have been rather prolific of late and now Haynes have added this large format one by Griffith Borgeson, the French-domiciled American historian who researches his subjects in great depth. With the Alfa Romeo story there is less that is new to describe and discuss and Borgeson has wisely concentrated on the personalities who were responsible for different cars in the great Alfa Romeo saga. The book therefore covers the life and work of such ‘greats’ as Giuseppe Merosi, Nicola Romeo, Giorgio Rimini, Enzo Ferrari, Vittorio Jano, Ugo Gobbato, Gioachino Colombo, Wilfredo Ricart, Orazio Satta, and the engineers of the modern era. I am sure even knowledgeable followers of the marque will find that Borgeson has something to tell them or that they will at least enjoy his interpretation of the influence of these engineers and designers.
The 370 illustrations are supportive but rather haphazardly planted about, some in colour, some not, and there are distasteful after-accident studies. The mass of the photographs will be familiar to Alfa aficionados and I was surprised to find on page 48 a P2 with the racing number ‘8’ captioned as Baldoni and Nasi in the 7th Targa Florio (there is only the driver in the car) and the same picture repeated on page 57, now captioned as Ascari at Montlhéry in 1925.
Jaguar Victory ’90’
by Ken Wells. 127pp. 11¾” x 8″. Haynes Publishing Group. Sparkfield, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 71J £19.95.
Here is a one-race book of great significance. Ken Wells dealing in the modern idiom with the story of the 1990 Le Mans Race, which was such a thrill for so many British spectators and followers, because Jaguar pulled it off. You can relive that race again, in the exciting pictures and informative text and interviews. Happy reading for Jaguar folk and Le Mans patrons.
Most of us have a soft spot for the Frogeye Sprites and Midgets so it is good news that Geoffrey Healey’s 1978 book More Healeys, dealing expressly with these little cars, after opening with a resume of his famous late father’s motoring life, has been republished in revised form by Haynes/Foulis. The new edition covers the current Isle of Wight Frogeyes, of which Geoffrey obviously approves. One reads his detailed Healey books not only because they are so very interesting but also because any such book written by someone so closely associated with his subject gains much from that standpoint. The new Healeys costs £14.95 and runs to 238 pages. Recommended.
It must be apparent that one of the busiest motorbook publishers in the business is the Haynes Publishing Group down at Yeovil. Three new books in their much appreciated A Technical Appraisal series, on which expert Ian Bamsey keeps a watchful eye, cover the Maserati 250F, by Bamsey himself, the Lola T70 V8 Coupes, by Andy Hall, and the Vanwall 2.5-litre F1, again written by Ian Bamsey. These cars have been in print and picture previously but it is good to have Bamsey’s and Hall’s opinions about them, in this uniform series of 96 page, 10″ x 8″ books, nicely presented, each of which sells for a moderate £12.95.
World Sports Car Racing ’90 by Gustav Busing is the follow up to last year’s new annual and was widely acclaimed for spreading its review to cover sports car racing from the USA and Japan instead of only the WS-PC. If there was a criticism, it was the fact that a good number of the pictures were uncaptioned, but this year, the publishers have rectified that by ensuring every picture is explained.
At £29.95, this 240 page book is expensive, but it is printed in full colour and is the only annual covering sports cars on such a wide brief. Available from Chater & Scott Ltd, 8 South Street, Isleworth, Middx TW7 7BG.
Original Jaguar Mk I/Mk II — The Restorer’s Guide to Mk I, Mk II, 240/340 and Daimler V8
by Nigel Thornley.
Original Jaguar E-Type — The Restorer’s Guide to 3.8, 4.2 and V12
by Philip Porter.
Original Austin Healey — The Restorer’s Guide to 100, 100-Six and 3000
by Anders Ditlev Clausager.
Original AC and Cobra — The Restorer’s Guide to Ac, Bristol and Ford Engined Cars Ace, Aceca and Cobra
by Rinsey Mills.
Published by Bay View Books, 132 Bridge/and Street, Bideford, EX39 2QE, 96pp each. £15.95 each.
Bay View Books is fast establishing itself as a publisher of worthy reference books. Its A-Z of Cars of the 1930s, 1945-1970 and of the 1970s are all valuable sources for the enthusiast and historian, as is the A-Z of Formula Racing Cars as reviewed last month.
For those who want more information on particular models, Bay View Books’ Restorer’s Guides are of immense value. Written by experts in their respective fields, the reader is taken through each model in minute detail. The use of good authors ensures that the text never becomes as turgid as that found in manuals, and the use of specially commissioned colour photos show every inch of the cars selected which are either in original condition or have been fastidiously restored.
Apart from the authors’ own specialist knowledge, information has been gained from factory records, parts lists and catalogues to ensure that these Guides are indispensable for all owners, restorers, buyers and enthusiasts.
Roger Clark: Portrait of a Great Rally Driver
by David Campbell. 112pp. 10 1/8″ x 7½”. GHK Publishing, 74 Esmond Road, Bedford Park, London, W4 1JF. £12.95
Apart from Paddy Hopkirk, there is no other British rally driver who has grabbed the affection of the British public more than Roger Clark, particularly after his memorable win on the 1972 RAC Rally. It was fitting that the first time in years the Scandinavians should be beaten on this event it should be at Clark’s hands. It was an achievement that brought him to the notice of even non-rallying enthusiasts.
Now that the Scandinavian dominance has again been broken in present day rallying, it is fitting that we should be reminded of what Clark did for rallying and British rallying in particular. David Campbell, Editor of Rally Car, has written a very readable book and it is very evident that Roger Clark himself has been fully co-operative.
The book is brought right up to date with coverage of Clark’s participation in the 1990 Pirelli Classic Marathon and there is a results section listing his full record in rallying from 1961 to 1990. Complemented by approximately 100 Photographs, this book is bound to be enjoyed by all rally fans.
Another publication from new publisher GHK Publishing is BMW: The Classic Six-Cylinder Coupes 1968-1975 by Martin Buckley. It is perhaps the “Batmobile” Which first springs to mind when considering these models, but a browse through this softback publication reveals the fact that the Six-Cylinder Coupe range of cars was in fact quite extensive. Martin Buckley has done a good job in his resume on these models while there is an informative chapter on restoration work.