Phil Hill: His Story, His Photography
With Doug Nye & Steve Dawson
It’s been a long time coming, but this huge two-volume work centred around the personal photographs of world champion Phil Hill is an event. I can’t think of anything similar; which other champion was so fascinated by the whole enterprise of motor racing that he pointed his Leica at transporters, mechanics and spectators any time he was not in the cockpit? And he framed cars and people with real art.
Knowing Doug Nye’s intense scholarship it’s a surprise to see in his introduction that “this is a book to dip into” – especially as you practically need an engine crane to lift it. But a couple of hours later you’ve become lost in the wealth of images as you flit to and fro between early XK120 days in checked shirts and the years of world attention as Enzo’s prime pilot. It’s listed as by Hill with Nye, and that’s how it feels, Doug neatly sliding the history between Hill’s captions. Credit also to Steve Dawson, who catalogued the photos and interviewed Hill extensively.
But it’s the expansive captions which sing out. Only a man who was there could identify the lesser figures in each shot, and only Hill would say shyly of one portrait “Yeah, I know, Mr Cool…”
Here are priceless moments no one else could catch – such as after Ginther’s off during Targa practice when he snaps “Richie sheepishly refitting the hood” of their scrunched Monza Ferrari. And what he calls “the most extraordinary moment I ever caught” of a broken Levegh walking in after his solo Le Mans drive failed – an astonishing shot, quickly grabbed yet richly constructed.
Beautifully presented, this is a fabulous work that will never cease to excite. GC
Published by GP Library
ISBN: 978-1-873201-72-8, from $180.00
You wait a while for a Veloce reprint to come along… and then about 427 turn up at once.
This is one of the most thorough examples from the recent glut of reissues, Italian marque authority Collins providing an 037 overview – first published about 10 years ago – that is as comprehensive photographically as it is textually (many of the images and illustrations were sourced from designer Sergio Limone’s private archive).
The layout is clunky in parts, but the content provides more than adequate compensation. SA
Published by Veloce
ISBN: 978-1-787111-28-8, £45.00
Porsche 911 ST 2.5
Type ‘Porsche 911’ into its search window and Amazon returns 1159 results, including this one, so the genre arguably reached saturation point some time ago. But…
This is a very specific tale about a very specific 911, the ST 2.5 that won its class at Le Mans in 1972. Drivers Jürgen Barth and Michael Keyser have collaborated with respected German author Imhof to recall the glory days of a machine that also served as a camera car for the Speed Merchants movie (a copy of the DVD is included). Its front-line racing career ended in 1975, after which it was exported to America… and then vanished.
In 2013 two Swiss enthusiasts found a decaying 911 in a Californian barn – and it gradually became clear that it was this one. It has since been repatriated and restored by Porsche Classic and this book tells the tale of its twin lives either side of its disappearance.
The tale is embellished by reproduced period documentation and there are some wonderful photographs, especially from the Targa Florio. So yes, it is yet another 911 book – but it is also refreshingly different. SA
Published by Delius Klasing
ISBN: 978-3-667-11110-4, €49.90
Speed Read F1
Full of charming illustrations and endearing explanations of Formula 1’s dizzying maze of regulations and technological terms, Speed Read F1proves a vivid beginner’s guide to the sport. Stuart Codling is a respected F1 journalist and has spared no definition in the glossary and filled the book with F1’s essential historical oddities, such as Ernst Loof’s single-race career, which began and ended at the 1953 German Grand Prix.
Technical jargon is kept to a minimum, making it accessible enough for first-timers, and F1’s countless innovations are all helpfully covered too, as well as famous rivalries such as Mika Häkkinen vs Michael Schumacher, or Jackie Stewart vs Jim Clark. Pop-art style illustrations aren’t drawn to a Giorgio Piola level, nor should they be, but they’re stylish enough to make an explanation of ERS engaging.
A manageable encyclopaedia, Speed Read F1 could convert a formerly baffled casual observer into a full-time fan, and its ‘historical tidbits’ wouldn’t go amiss at a pub quiz. Just don’t go expecting any number-crunching analyses or technical drawings – this is a guide purely aimed at novices. SK
Published by Motorbooks
ISBN: 978-0-7603-5562-6, £12.99
Alan Mann Racing
This is thinner than most McKlein publications – but with reason.
It takes an age to get going, via chapters about GT40s (the May 1966 cover of Motor Sport, price two shillings, forms part of a photo montage) and Escorts to contextualise Ford’s place in the racing world, plus a section on the origins of the Cosworth V8 (not news), but then the F3L was something of a racing mayfly.
It is beautifully produced and – as is customary with McKlein – there are some fabulous photographs. The overall feeling, though, is that this has been padded out to provide substance that the story simply doesn’t possess.
I would still categorise it as one of the most elegant racing cars of all time, mind. SA
Published by McKlein
ISBN: 978-3-927458-97-0, €79.90