Video Reviews, January 1991

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Pre-War Motor Racing 1900-1939 and Motor Racing ’60s Style — 1961 and 1962. These two 60 minute videos are Porter publishing’s latest releases and will be immensely appealing to Motor Sport readers. Imagine you’ve got 60 minutes to explain to an unknowledgeable fellow the history of Pre-war motor racing. You would swallow, think hard, and come up with the most prominent names and events of that era. Being British, Brooklands, Bentley and Birkin would probably spring to mind immediately, followed pretty quickly by Le Mans, Alfa Romeo and Bugatti. Think a little more and Nuvolari, Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union would then come to mind, but then you would find that you were concentrating too much on the Twenties and Thirties.
At least, though, the only constraint on the explanation is that of memory or knowledge, but when you are producing a video, there is another major constraint — that of footage — or lack of it.
The pre-war video is quite a good effort, but one which will be criticised by the knowledgeable, who will find it wanting. There are so many subjects that seem to have been omitted altogether when, at the very least, reference could have been made in the commentary.
One of the flaws of the film is the modern colour footage which sits uneasily with the historic monochrome film. The showing of a VSCC race at Oulton Park in 1965, for example, is completely out of context with the rest of the film while that taken at Prescott quite recently is actually tedious.
The last ten minutes alone make buying the video worthwhile, for they concentrate on the Thirties and the rise of the Mercedes and Auto-Union teams, although if the amount of screen time is any criteria to go by, the BMW 328 far outweighed anything else in the Thirties.
Motor Racing ’60s Style, is a lot of fun. Roy Salvadori, a UDT Laystall transporter with matching scooters, Crystal Palace, Formula Junior, Centro Sud, John Cooper, E-type Jaguars are all there in two half hour films of club racing that make up this tape with a superbly wry commentary by Nevil Lloyd.
If you are interested in watching 250 GTOs opposite locking in a hard race, Mike Parkes racing a 250 GTO, then a 3.8 Jaguar and then a Testa Rossa all in one afternoon, Tony Brooks in a BRM, Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori in E-types and Stirling Moss in another 250 GTO, marshals without overalls and not a pair of jeans in sight for the duration, this is the video for you. Also available are 1963 and 1964 on another video and 1960 and 1967 from Porter Publishing Ltd, The Storehouse, Little Hereford Street, Bromyard, Herefs, HR7 4DE.

“If Thunder Chicken has chickened out . . . it won’t be thundering again tonight” is your sort of commentary, shouted at a decibel rating that makes even passing mopeds sound calming, then Monster Mania (Front Runner, 49 mins), about the hybrid, monster-tyred trucks that out-drag each other in the States, is for you. Otherwise leave well alone. Likewise Car Wars 4, a video I felt embarrassed to watch especially while Martin Donnelly was lying in hospital. Another Front Runner video nasty.