Reviews, January 1993

Mini – A Celebration of the World’s Ultimate Small Car, by Graham Scott. Hamlyn, £10.99.

The word ‘Celebration’ hints at a rose-tinted spectacle affair of no great depth, and so it proves. Large pictures in a total of 80 pages look good but leave little room for much analysis or new research in the text. Written very much through the rear-view mirror of hindsight, all the expected stuff is here – the Swinging Sixties clichés, a still from The Italian Job – though a chapter each on racing and rallying do round out the facts somewhat. And amongst the oddities and prototypes shown in the “Mutants” chapter, I had not seen the MG Mini before. Cheerful, rather than scholarly.


• Patrick Stephens of Yeovil has three new books ready for the Christmas and New Year sales. They comprise: Christopher Hilton’s Grand Prix Showdown, about the drama of the races which decided each year of the 1950-92 World Championships. Not a full account of every race, just the deciding ones, dealt with in a somewhat ‘Fleet Street’ style (£16.99). A new edition of Alan Henry’s very readable story of Williams -The Business of Grand Prix Racing, brought up to date, that is to the end of the 1992 season, with a 1991 Foreword by Nigel Mansell, OBE. If you have not yet done so, get this one (£15.99). With the exciting finish to the international rally season still in mind, Phil Short’s Rally Co-Driving — A Champion’s Guide to The Way to The Top (£17.50) is very well timed. W B

• Unfortunately I re-arranged someone’s career last month when I described Peter Lewis, author of Motor Racing in the Fifties, as The Guardian’s motor racing correspondent during those years. In fact, he was writing for The Observer.

• The great Nintendo lap record debate goes on apace. Following Chris Rea’s claim of a 37.0s, substantiated with photographic evidence, Sarah Booth of Kidderminster has written in to relate her brother Tom’s 36.3s . . which is a couple of tenths off his mate Kevin’s best. We aren’t told, however, whether these were achieved in a ‘racing’ situation, where it is possible to get a tow that adds 20 km/h to straightline speed, or in the ‘time trials’ mode, where such ploys are not enforceable. Mind you, even with a tow, a low 36s is beyond us. . .