Book Reviews, July 1970, July 1970

“World Car Catalogue—1970” Edited by L’Editrice Dell’Automobile Lea. 439 pp. 9 1/2 in. x 11 in. (Eurospan Ltd., 44, Hatton Garden, London, EC1. 96s.)

This is the valuable reference work produced by the AC of Italy, in a somewhat revised form. The catalogue section seems to have been somewhat compressed but still contains comprehensive specifications of more than 800 new models from all over the Globe. The tabular matter is headed Price, Engine, Transmission, Performance, Chassis, Steering, Brakes, Electrical Equipment, Dimensions and Weight, Body, Practical Instructions and Optional Extras. That the engine section goes into details of valve gear, not just push-rod or o.h. camshaft, and the practical instructions cover servicing intervals, capacities and even valve timing, shows the scope of this unique publication. Such data are not given for every car but they are for most of them and as the work covers cars from every car-producing country, its value is readily apparent.

In addition to these specifications, which are accompanied by clear photographs of most of the models, together with those of technical or styling items, the “1970 World Car Catalogue” contains articles on the American, British, Japanese, Italian, German and French motor industries, has an intriguing colour section devoted to specialist bodywork by Lombardi, Ghia, Pininfarina, Savio and Vignale on various exciting cars, a chapter on prototypes, addresses of car manufacturers and indices under makes, names and speed.

Iliffe Books used to co-publish the English edition of the “World Car Catalogue” but they have relinquished this to Herald Books, with Eurospan doing the distribution in the UK, Commonwealth and European countries. This is the best directory of cars there is and should be in every Trade and private reference library, although the short chapter on motor racing in 1969 is the least worthwhile section, but only because so many specialised books cover it more comprehensively.—W. B.

* * *

“Jackie Stewart—World Champion”, by Jackie Stewart and Eric Dymock. 192 pp. 8 3/4 in. x 5 1/4 in. (Pelham Books Ltd., 52, Bedford Square, London, WC1. 35s.)

It had to happen! All the F1 drivers who get to the top write a book about themselves sooner or later. Stewart has managed it while he is World Champion, even if the thing is brief and patchy and reads as if it had been hurled on to tape with more important things on the driver’s mind. Eric Dymock helped out and the book is unique in that the journalist’s parts are in italics and the driver’s in ordinary type. The saving grace about the book is that Stewart is quite outspoken at times without this impairing any of the charm which makes him a likeable World Champion. Although the reader may feel that he says only as much as he wishes to impart in matters of bonus paid, why he preferred driving for BRM to Ferrari and Lotus, with lots left unsaid, there is enough to make this racing autobiography worthwhile, if not a memorable book.

One feels some surprise at how briefly Stewart brushes off the death of his friend Jimmy Clark (although the book is dedicated to the memory of Jim Clark, OBE), loves him for telling Louis Stanley that he “takes terrible pictures” and for including the story of how, even in the ambulance after his Spa accident, Stewart was ticked off by “Big Lou” for not getting his Christian name right, and admires him for replying neatly to those motoring writers who think present-day drivers place too much score on circuit safety – which means US.

So the book has its moments. But it is brief, even with padding in the form of patchy tabulated race details in the last part only, and it isn’t sure whether it is intended for the knowledgeable racing follower or the public. There are some clear pictures. One day Stewart will probably have time to write the full story of his remarkable motor-racing career.—W. B.

* * *

“Competition Cars of Europe”, by Anthony Pritchard. 208 pp. 8 3/4 in. x 5 1/2 in. (Robert Hale & Co., 63, Old Brompton Road, London, SW7. 35s.)

There have been so many similar books that this one is really a “pot-boiler”, although those who wish to acquire knowledge of, or brush up memories about, the competition cars of 1934 onwards, like Type 57 Bugattis, the 158 Alfa Romeo, the Disco Volante Alfa Romeo, sports Mercedes-Benz, Maserati 250F, V8 Lancias and Ferraris, the SEFAC, CTA-Arsenal, Gordini and Type 251 GP Bugatti and the recent Matras, etc., could always borrow a copy from the local library. The main criticism is that the book has no set purpose, GP Auto-Unions but no GP Mercedes-Benz for example, and covers much previously well-trodden ground. But if you want to recap about Spanish high-performance and so on, here it is.—W. B.

* * *

G. T. Foulis have published two more books in their touring series, “Touring France”, by Marion Deschamps, and “Touring Scotland”, by Ross Finlay, dealing respectively with the Ile de France and the Unknown Highlands. They cost 45s. each.

* * *

The Vintage Motor Cycle Club has produced a revised and expanded edition of “Vintage Motorcycles Illustrated”, with 24 new pictures. It is obtainable for 5s. 6d. post free from VMCC, 28, Glover Road, Pinner, Middlesex. The previous edition sold out in four months.