Book reviews, July 1963, July 1963

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“Automobile Year: No. 10.” 241 pp., 12 5/8 in. x 9 1/2 in. (Edita S.A., Box 1109, Lausanne 1, Switzerland. English Agent : G. T. Foulis & Co. Ltd., 1-5, Portpool Lane, London, E.C.1. 52s. 6d.)

This is still the outstanding luxury motoring annual. The 1962/63 edition contains the usual reports of last season’s F. 1 cars, by Paul Frère, and a comprehensive review of the 1962 Grands Prix, Manufacturers’ World Championship races, the European Touring Championship, Drag Racing and the International Hill-Climb Championship, beautifully and comprehensively illustrated, so that “Automobile Year” is a supreme source of reference.

In addition, Gunther Molter writes about the Japanese Motor Car Industry, D. Korp covers the N.S.U.-Wankel rotary piston engine with historical comparisons, the Managing Editor, Ami Guichard, deals with the Cars of the Year, and there is the usual section devoted to Dream Cars, Prototypes and Special Bodies, which amateur and professional stylists will find of very great interest.

The highlight of the 1962/63 edition of this beautifully-produced and lavishly-illustrated volume is undoubtedly Harry Mundy’s masterful discourse on Sixty Years’ Development of the Grand Prix engine, illustrated by numerous diagrams, photographs and cut-away drawings of famous racing power units, many of the last-named full-page pictures in colour. One can expect a book from Mundy on this subject in due course.

All too often advertising spoils a publication of this kind but in the case of “Automobile Year” the colour displays, by firms such as Mercedes-Benz, L. Schuler A.G., Volvo, Fiat, Pininfarina, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Renault, Triplex, Jaguar, Sonax polishes, Shell, N.S.U., Bosch and Solex are complementary to the text, being printed on the same, high-quality art paper.

Those enthusiasts who maintain motoring libraries would be well advised to ignore some of the American “catalogue-style” annuals and invest instead in this fine annual from Europe. It enhances any bookshelf and is a staunch source of reference down the years.—W. B.

“A Record of Motor Racing—1894-1908,” by Gerald Rose. 322 pp., 11 1/16 in. x 8 1/4 in. (Autobooks, 76, Bennett Road, Brighton, Sussex. 30s.)

This book, written by Gerald Rose, who died only a short time ago, is the accepted reference work of motoring historians for it describes the early town-to-town and closed circuit races in great detail, giving lists of finishers and times for contests which took place when the Sport was very young.

There are innumerable extremely historic pictures and some technical notes on the early racing cars. Out of print for many years, “A Record of Motor Racing” was revived when the V.S.C.C. discovered it—and its author—and re-published by Motor Racing Publications in 1949. It aroused considerable excitement at the time and formed an admirable introduction to Laurence Pomeroy’s great work “The Grand Prix Car,” which was concerned with the classic racing cars of 1906 onwards.

For the last ten years or so copies of the late Gerald Rose’s inimitable work have been increasingly difficult to find, so it is good news that Autobooks of Brighton have secured a small stock, which they are offering at the fair price of 30s. each.—W. B.

“World Car Catalogue, 1963.” Compiled by the A.C. of Italy. 613 pp., 10 5/8 in. x 8 7/8 in. ( Iliffe Books Ltd., Dorset House, Stamford Street, London, S.E.1. 86s. 9d.)

This really is an illustrated reference catalogue to the World’s automobiles, and not a hotch-potch of maker’s hand-out pictures laced together by some unenthusiastic text. Over 1,100 photographic reproductions, many of them in full colour, accompany comprehensive technical data about some 550 different makes and models, conveniently divided into countries of manufacture—Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, China (People’s Republic), China (Taiwang), Czechoslovakia, France, Germany (Democratic Republic), Germany (Federal Republic), Great Britain, Holland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.S. of America and U.S.S.R. In the index of countries each car manufacturer is listed, with full postal address.

In the body of the “World Car Catalogue” the facts which indicate the essential characteristics of each model are first set out—price, seating and engine capacities, fuel consumption and maximum speed. In addition to the domestic list price, quotations are given, where possible, of the price in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States. Full technical details are then set out under the headings; engine, transmission, chassis, electrical equipment, dimensions, body and performance. These details are accompanied by two photographs, one showing the whole car and the other a detailed feature of special interest. The variations in the coachwork of different models are shown, and where manufacturers fit different engines to the same body, one model has been chosen and the variations set out below.

For ease of reference, the cars are grouped according to makes arranged in alphabetical order. Consultation and comparison are further assisted by the four analytical indexes according to nationality and manufacturer, list price, engine capacity and maximum speed. In order to include details of models announced during the production of this book a “stop press” section has been prepared and inserted loose in each copy. This late information covers some 100 models, and is illustrated with 45 photographs.

Here indeed is a unique guide for those who wish to make an intelligent choice, comparing price and performance, before buying a car; for garages and service stations for whom a knowledge of a wider variety of cars is becoming essential; and for all experts and enthusiasts who will find collected in one volume a large number of technical specifications which it would otherwise be very difficult to glean from the multiplicity of specialised literature.

Quite fascinating are further indices, of engine capacity (in c.c. and cu. in.), price (£ in the English edition handled by Iliffe Books) and. maximum speed (m.p.h. and k.p.h.). The last-named ranges from 41.9 m.p.h. for the Mazda B360 to 179.3 m.p.h. for the Ferrari 406 Superamerica coupé.

The Stop Press illustrated insert is very reasonably up to date, including as it does recent new cars like Ford Cortina-Lotus and Mercedes-Benz 230SL, although the Ford Cortina GT was too late for inclusion. The specifications are extremely detailed, even to bore and stroke in inches and mm., number of crankshaft bearings, type of valve gear, etc., and the fact that the flat-twin Citroën 2 c.v. and Ami 6 are given “cylinder blocks” can be forgiven. Performance figures are quoted, even the cylinder block and head materials are given.

This is a really honest attempt at a “Jane’s” of the motor-car world; the Guild of Motoring Writers should present a copy to each of its members to ensure that we never again have an excuse for committing technical errors!

The handsome dust jacket depicts on the front a Ferrari and a Rolls-Royce, in contrasting colours. All praise to Editor Sergio D’Angelo for the hard writing this huge volume represents and to Iliffe Books for their initiative in publishing an English edition. Advertising is refused—how refreshing!
—W. B.

“Recommended Wayside Inns of England,” by Peter Stanley Williams. Soft covers, 84 pp., 7 1/8, in. x 4 3/4 in. (Herald Advisory Services, 316, Addington Road, Selsdon, Surrey. 3s. 6d.)

The title is self-explanatory, almost every inn is illustrated, and the book will appeal to everyone who likes good food, beer and picturesque surroundings. Vintage-car owners should love it.—W.B.