Book reviews, July 1952, July 1952

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“The History of AC Cars Ltd”

We are always gratified when a manufacturer decides to have the history of his particular concern written up. None has done so more pleasingly than AC Cars Ltd, whose Mr RG Henderson has got out a nicely-printed little 100-page book about the AC Company. It deals with the origin of AC, the early commercial and passenger three-wheelers, John Weller’s first four-wheeler AC, and the subsequent four and six-cylinder AC cars developed, first under the command of SF Edge, later under the control of the Hurlock brothers, who still own AC Cars Ltd.

Some excellent illustrations are included and the modifications to the AC up to the current model are given just as enthusiasts in general and AC owners in particular would wish to find them. SCH Davis recalls that wonderful Brooklands era of the early nineteen-twenties and whets the appetite for more, for if any criticism at all can be levelled at Mr Henderson’s jolly little history, it is that the racing ACs have been rather glossed over. However, he promises a revised edition in about a couple of years’ time, when AC celebrate their Jubilee. In general, the sporting side gets good cover so, if you are an AC owner or dealer, try to inveigle one from AC Cars Ltd. The supply, however, is limited.—WB.

“500-cc Motor Racing Year Book, 1952.” Edited by Roy Pearl and Robert Blackburn. (Pearl Cooper Ltd, 2/3 Norfolk Street. WC2. 144 pp, 6s)

This long-awaited Year Book of half-litre racing is a model of what a year book should be, from its gaily-coloured cover to its index and who’s who of prominent 500-cc personalities, it is packed with interest. There is a long and clear discourse by Dick Caesar on “How It All Began” (he acknowledges that a letter from J Lowrey and an article from K Neve in a war-time Motor Sport really gave the lead), an article by Stirling Moss, a foreword by SCH Davis, details of racing a team by Alan Brown and of how Brand’s Hatch looks from the driver’s seat by Ken Carter, and a history of 350-cc and 500-cc record-breaking, complete with a list of existing records by W Boddy. Incidentally, some of these records could be raised quite easily, even at Silverstone. This comprehensive Year Book contains, in addition, notes on the Half-Litre Club, an account of the Continental races of 1951, plans of English and Continental circuits, a very useful article by Dean Delarnont on building a 500-cc racing car, for which so many people have been asking, illustrated specifications of the leading commercially-built 500s, International and National race fixture lists for 1952, and a list of those firms which supply components and accessories for 500-cc racing cars. Still not content, the publishers have provided detailed results of British and Continental 500-cc races and a useful conversion table. The book is well illustrated with good action photographs. A very good six-bobs’-worth !—WB.

“Full Chat,” by Noel B Pope. (Motor Racing Publications, 81a Gray’s Inn Road, WC. 80 pp, 8s 6d)

Anyone who remembers Pope and the Brough at Brooklands will see in his or her mind’s eye the Paddock shimmering in the sunshine, hear the tang-tang from Brooklands’ expansion chambers following a “run-and-bump,” and perhaps recall the indolent luxury of wandering Byfleet-wards in the sun as the riders came pas, clipping round the long banking. Noel Pope’s story is for motorcycle enthusiasts but it fills in just a bit more of the Brooklands story and for that alone will appeal to many of our car-minded readers—particularly if they decide after all to enter the Sport via two wheels, when they will devour nostalgically Pope’s opening chapter detailing how he carried his £15 racing Zenith in the dickey of a £2 shaft-drive GN. We like, too, his modest description of the effort of doing a 120-mph lap on the Brough—”You have only done three miles, but you are quite out of breath, and as hot as the back tyre—which is too hot to touch ! The Brough, smelling and making noises like a fried-fish shop, retires behind a haze of smoke. That’s how it was.” A man’s book ! And nostalgic. But crudely bound and printed for its price; especially as it carries advertising matter 1—W B

“Daily Mail Motoring Guide” (New Carmelite House, EC4. 160 pages, 2s)

Compiled by Courtney Edwards, this little book is a very good two bobs’ worth. It contains something of almost every aspect of motoring, including car specifications and pictures, with test comments, notes on, and photographs of 16 well-known racing drivers, pictures of competition cars, International and National competition calendars, lists of club secretaries, etc, etc. A handy reference book. 

Two worthwhile “free-issues” are Wakefield’s “Achievements1951” and Ferodo’s “Record-Braking,” both profusely illustrated with cars and motor-cycles which won high honour last year when lubricated with Castrol or retarded by Ferodo. These booklets are available free, on mentioning Motor Sport. Write to : CC Wakefield & Co Ltd, Grosvenor Street, W1, and Ferodo Ltd., Chapel-en-le Frith, Derbyshire, respectively.

The revised, enlarged edition of “Continental Sports Cars” by W Boddy (GT Foulis & Co Ltd, 7 Milford Lane, WC2), priced at 12s 6d, not 15s as we stated earlier.