Ferrari in camera

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Ferrari in Camera From Ascari to Villeneuve, Nye and Goddard. Palawan Press, £350

This is a book of legends: not only of the Ferrari marque and its fabled drivers, but also of the man who has captured this history on film: Geoff Goddard. Only the first two shots in this lavish volume are not by him, and ironically they depict the first time he ever saw a Ferrari. From there on, the broad pages overflow with scarlet paint, with hot oil and with racing rubber; with amazing 100mph closeups of gritted teeth and tensed biceps, with workshops chaotic with battered cars and anxious mechanics.

Goddard inserts chapter introductions, but it is the photos which drive the book, illuminated by generous captions from Doug Nye relating the “who” and the “why”. Some shots are almost poster-size, with terrific impact; all show Goddard’s eye for the scene as a whole, recording by-standers and heroes alike. Stunning action is interspersed with moving portraits — witness a troubled Musso on the morning of his death — so that even if you were there at the time, it’s hard to imagine you could have absorbed more atmosphere than is captured in this magnificent book. Works Ferrari drivers Phil Hill and John Surtees contribute forewords, and data lists of Ferrari models and drivers make it a work of reference, as well as of reverence. As to the repetition of the words “poll position”, I can only presume that this is the deliberate flaw which halts every Persian carpet just short of perfection. . . GC