Book reviews, January 2002, January 2002

1946 And all that Guy Griffiths (Text by Anthony Pritchard) Published by Palawan Press, £125 To order: 020 7371 3060 or see

They have done it again. From the sumptuous, embossed cover, to my favourite photograph — a grimacing Hawthorn, fingers in ears, attempting to blank out the shrill V16 BRM next to him on the grid — Palawan’s latest offering is a gem.

It features the work of Guy Griffiths, the doyen of motorsport photography. Four hundred of his finest images, covering the immediate postwar era in Britain (1946 to ’54), are laid out on quality art paper, and paid due deference by superb design.

Sensitive, pithy text and captions by Anthony Pritchard give the book a cogent thread, but there is no doubting who the star is: Mr Griffiths. Not every image is pin-sharp — the book also tacitly charts his improvement as a photographer — but all are extremely emotive.

Paul Fearnley

Festival of speed and Goodwood revival meeting £14.95 each To order: 01243 755098 [email protected]

It may seem odd that the less ‘serious’ of the two events makes for the better video, but so it is: the range of cars, the approachability of everyone, and the brief but theatrical ascents, make the FoS production a delight Four knowledgeable, enthusiastic presenters are a major plus. Well edited and good fun — I was especially tickled to learn Erik Carlsson was wearing his Monte-winning trousers. I didn’t get to the Revival this year, but this video shows the terrific racing I missed. The main events get full-length coverage, with commentary by Simon Taylor, who passes the baton to Main de Cadenet and Chris Goffey for scene-setting.

But its concentration on racing, and many accident replays, means it’s not as entertaining as the Festival tape.

Gordon Cruickshank

Autocourse 2001-2002 Edited by Alan Henry ISBN 1 903135 06 Published by Hazleton Publishing, £35

Another year, another grand prix season, another Autocourse: we all know what to expect. But this year’s one is better.

There’s been a change of font for the headlines and main text, and the book looks all the better for it In the team-by-team section, there are pictures of the significant figures who head up each squad’s backroom staff. And Alan Henry’s piece on Nild Lauda at Jaguar is one of the book’s star features.

Photography is of a high standard (though perhaps lacking a little flair), and the stats are truly mind-boggling in their intensity.

But the book’s greatest strength, as ever, is the writing. Henry, Maurice Hamilton and Bob Constanduros may well be seasoned hacks, but they effortlessly tread the fine line between cynicism and over-enthusiasm.

Hell, after reading this book, you might even believe again that Formula One is entertaining.

David Malsher

Jaguar at Le Mans by Paul Parker ISBN 1 85960 632 6 Published by Haynes Publishing, £25

There must be nearly as many books on Jaguar as on Porsche, but this is a significant work which adds new detail to one specific part of the Jaguar story. Around the framework of every Jaguar car and driver to enter Le Mans from 1950 to 1995, Parker hangs the stories of the development and the drivers, the successes and the failures, complete with every chassis number to go to the Sarthe.

Inevitably, it’s really two books, one on the ‘Lofty’ England/Ecosse years, and one on the TWR comeback — as well as anything to have used Jag power, such as listers old and new.

It’s comprehensive, but still easy to digest, with human interest to balance the oily facts, all punctuated by sidebars on particular elements. Candid workshop and pits photos convey a sense of the team away from the track, and there are many candid gems. This is that rare thing — a readable reference book.

Gordon Cruickshank

Enzo Ferrari by Richard Williams ISBN 224 05985 8 Published by YellowJers9,Press, £18

It may not make you like him, but this biography gives a strong sense of the awkward, reclusive man who forged a legend.

The scene-setting chapter powerfully depicts him at the centre of his own inscrutable world, making people of all ranks come to him for an audience — drivers, film stars, politicians. (Heroically, when the Pope visited, he did not get to meet Enzo.)

In probing Enzo’s more mysterious actions, the author contrasts the stories the man was wont to produce, at the time and later.

I didn’t find revelations, but was intrigued to discover that a black prancing horse is actually the symbol of Stuttgart, as well as why he used violet ink, and that he had visited Brooklands in the 1920s.

This is a well-crafted tale.

Gordon Cruickshank

Castellotti – A Stolen heart by Cesare De Agostini ISBN 88 7911 265 I Published by Giorgio Nada Editore, £24.99

“And about time, too!” was the reaction in our offices upon hearing there was a new biography on Eugenio Castellotti. But would it do justice to this highly talented, but overly brave man? It does.

The story of Eugenio’s career takes up the book’s first half, and misses nothing. The standard of translation is high — the author’s intriguing writing style has not been tainted by a heavy English hand.

Although the text is broken up with pictures, the vast majority of images form the volume’s second half. And these are fantastic in their number, variety, and quality.

That Eugenio drove in an era of gorgeous sportscars and F1 cars adds to the appeal, of course. Even so, books so thorough are rarely so interesting. Add it to your ‘Dear Santa…’ list.

David Malsher

Ferrari 156 – Sharknose by Ed McDonough ISBN 7509 2731 3 Published by Sutton Publishing, £25

In its first seasons, the `sharknose’ Ferrari dominated GP racing, but this account shows it was not easy for the team.

A whole book on one car and only two seasons risks being too intense, especially about muchreported classics like 1961 Monaco, but race details and technical aspects are leavened with quotes from the main players, while McDonough has the advantage of having seen that Ferrari defeat at Monaco firsthand. He also explains the tensions inside the team, and writes thoughtfully about von Trips’ crash.

The sharknose idea is traced back to the stillborn Sacha-Gordine of the early 1950s. I have always wondered if it was a mere styling device, but the author suggests it had tested aero benefits.

Gordon Cruickshank

The great challenge 3 – the Lauda Era by Rainer Schlegelmilch ISBN 3 00008435 8 Published by Dieter Streve-Miihlens, 480DM

Following the first two photographic feasts from the Schlegelmilch stable — the Clark and Stewart Eras — the latest in what will ultimately be a five-part series is an astonishingly high-quality tome devoted to the era dominated by Austria’s three-time world champion.

Some of the best imagery from what is Formula One’s hippest time period — 1971 to 1985 — appears in this large-format, beautifully crafted volume. For Rainer’s skill is not confined to taking superb photos of stars such as Andretti, Lauda, Villeneuve and Regazzoni. A lot of effort has gone into the production, editing and presentation, all of which are superb and add much to the appeal.

I could go on. And on. But basically, despite the £150 (approx) price tag, stop whatever you are doing and buy this book. Now!

Henry Hope-Frost

Le Rallye Monte-Carlo Au XXe Siecle by maurice Louche ISBN 2 9500738 5 9 Published by Maurice Louche, € 155, plus €15.5 p&p

Here for the first time, in such exhaustive detail at least, is a history of one of the most evocative events of the 20th century.

Maurice Louche has already turned his capable hand to the history of the Jour. de France (the car version) and Monte Ventoux, and his latest double 400-page volume offering is just as impressively informative.

It relates the story of every year in French (followed by an English translation) from 1911 to the present day, each volume concluding with lists of every finisher, every year.

Photographically, it is prolific rather than stunning, aiming to cover as much ground as possible rather than simply pleasing the eye. In particular, the modern events are disappointing in this respect But there are pearls to be unearthed.

The keen desire to cover so much ground also dictates a rather fussy and chaotic design.

This is, however, a book that you ought to find some shelf-space for.

Paul Fearnley

Ton Up! A celebration of 100 years of the Midland Automobile Club compiled and edited by Jonathan and Pat Toulmin Published by Atclland Automobile

My first reaction was that such an important venue as Shelsley Walsh deserved something a tad slicker. Better designed. With better repro.

But that was to miss the point.

Firstly, this book marks the centenary of Midland Automobile Club — their famous hillclimbing venue lags four years behind. Secondly, their success has been based on a friendly atmosphere and a go-ahead spirit.

It’s typical of MAC that they should set to and produce their own 240-page book.

It’s typical, too, that it is very comprehensive, shedding light not just on Shelsley, but also MAC’s circuit meetings, sprint, rallies and trials.

I’d have preferred more personal reminiscences to break up the blow-by blow account, but there is a lot to recommend — not least the photo of a cloche-hatted May Cunliffe hurling her Bentley through Bottom Sin 1927.

Paul Fearnley

Bruce McLaren – Life and legacy of excellence by Karl Ludvigsen ISBN 1 85960 824 8 Published by Haynes Publishing, £25

Perhaps it’s because the name is still at the top of racing’s tree that it’s hard to believe this is the first full biography of this talented driver and car builder, 31 years after his fatal testing crash at Goodwood.

Ludvigsen’s photo archive and others have provided a huge spread which go right back to New Zealand with the boy McLaren at the family home, while Ludvigsen conveys the sense of fun and passion Bruce imbued his team with.

The most powerful feature of this book is Robin Herd’s Foreword. It concludes movingly with his worry that if he’d stayed at McLaren a bit longer, Bruce might have stopped driving earlier and not had his crash. You don’t often see such frankness in motor racing books.

Gordon Cruickshank

Lotus 25 & 33 by John Tipler ISBN 750 925 949 Published by Sutton Publishing, £20

In my regular ‘The car I Wish I’d Designed’, there’s a car most F1 designers immediately select: the Lotus 25. Its monococque made spaceframes redundant overnight, and it was competitive for an amazing seven seasons — with help from its 33 successor.

Tipler works through its genesis, detailing each chassis’ history, illuminating hard facts with reminiscences: even Colin Chapman wasn’t sure this new principle would be a success, and claimed to have designed the 24 afterwards, as a safe fall-back.

Tipler goes into monococque history in depth, right back to Edwardian times, and devotes much space to the technical data of Len Terry. With plenty of workshop pictures to balance samey close-up race shots, this is the complete tale of the car that changed F1.

Gordon Cruickshank