Book Reviews, July 1982, July 1982

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Jaguar E-Type” by Denis Jenkinson. 134 pp. 8 ¾” x 7 ½”. “Mini Cooper and S” by Jemmy Walton. 135 pp. 8 ¾” x 7 ½”. “Volkswagen Beetle” by William Buddy. 135 pp. 8 ¾” x 7 ½”. (Osprey Publish, Ltd., 12-14 Long Acre, London, WC2E OLP. £6.95 each.

These three books, in the popular Osprey “Auto History” series, are all by MOTOR SPORT writers. They follow that publishing house’s format of large type, many pictures, some in good colour, and a story by those who know intimately the cars about which they are writing. Denis Jenkinson is very interesting about his experiences with two E-Type Jaguars in which he covered astronomical mileages, largely while travelling back and forth across Europe chasing motor-racing reports for MOTOR SPORT and why he decided on these cars after being a long-standing Porsche enthusiast. Into his Personal story he weaves the development theme of the 3.8 and 4.2-litre six-cylinder and 5.3-litre V12 E-Types, explaining why the latter model was not for him. He also notes the changing face of motoring, which has driven him from his beloved E-Types to motorcycles and aeroplanes for present-day business travel.

As in the other books in this series, technical data is included in the appendices, and this includes in this instance a rare list of Jaguar E-Type home-market modifications for 1961 through to 1969/71 which I found in my files and sent to the publisher.

Jeremy Walton covers a great deal of fascinating ground about the various Mini-Coopers, the 997 and 998 c.c. Coopers and the 970, 1,071 and 1,275 c.c. S-Types, again from very considerable and intimate personal experience, for he has driven almost all of them, often in anger, during his earlier motor-journalistic days. Exciting and exhilarating as he found these “mini-bricks”, he writes of them in the context of 1961 to 1971, not making the mistake, as all too many writers do, of pretending that no progress has been made since or that nothing can ever replace these excellent little cars.

Having been persuaded to return to the theme of the VW Beetle, which caused me to be labelled pro-German and an anti-patriot in some quarters when I was writing enthusiastically in MOTOR SPORT about the Beetle I ran in the mid-1950s, I have concentrated on its remarkable pre-war and post-Hitler development story in my book for Osprey, before recalling some of the incidents of personal Beetle usage and ownership and telling of going to Wolfsburg for that still-memorable millionth-Beetle party in 1955. — W.B.

Alpine” by Dominique Pascal. 415 pp. 10″ x 8 ½”. (Albion Scott Ltd., Bercourt haute, York Road, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 0QP. £27.50)

This very large coverage of the Renault Alpines, Berlinettas, A310s, prototypes and monoposto versions is packed with photographs and drawings, colour plates and technical data but you have to be able to read French to understand it. — W.B.

Alfa Romeo Tipo-A Monoposto” by Luigi Fusi. 137 pp. 9 ¼” x 6 ¾”. (Albion Scott Ltd., Bercourt House, York Road, Brentford. Middlesex, TW8 9QP. £14.95)

Luigi Fusi has written a full history of all the Alfa Romeo models from 1910 onwards and has collaborated with Roy Slater to produce a book about the 6C 1,750 c.c. Alfa Romeos, Fusi having been at his drawing board in Milan during the vintage and near-vintage years. He has now decided to concentrate on one-model Alfa books, and this one is about the fabulous twin-engined 12-cylinder Model-A, using two 110 b.h.p.,1,750 c.c. twin-cant six-cylinder engines side-by-side, with twin prop.-shafts. The idea was conceived in 1930 and it is said that Jano and his team got it into being in four months, from drawing-board to starting-grid.

Here is the story of that car, in Italian and English. It pays to be able to read the former, because the photograph captions are in that language only. Some of the pictures and drawings are not new, but to have Fusi’s own account of the car’s technicalities and how it fared in racing (after killing Arcengeli at Monza) is quite something. The book’s dust-jacket refers to the Tipo-A “monoposto single-stater”, which is an over-emphasis on type; but it’s what is within that counts. — W.B.

Airymouse” by Harald Penrose. 162 pp. 8 ¾” x 5 ½” (Airlift Publishing Ltd., 7, St. John’s Hill, Shrewsbury, Salop, SY1 1JE. £6.95)

Anything that Harald Penrose, once test-pilot for Westland’s, writes about aeroplanes and flying them is a delight, because of his perception, descriptive powers, and love of flying and the English countryside. So it is excellent news that his book about how he returned to flying, purely for fun, in a small aeroplane of his own, with a cruising speed of only 60 m.p.h. as first-engined, after many years of more serious associations with aviation, has been republished. The maker of “Airymouse” biplane is not disclosed but it was, I think, a Curry Wot.

How Penrose had fun with it under all manner of aerial conditions and adventures is told in the 18 chapters of this delightful book, by an author who commenced flying in 1919 with a joy-ride in an Avro 540K flown by Alan Cobham. This time he is giving us some lighthearted enjoyment of flying for its own sake, not a history book, such as his celebrated five-volume “British Aviation” or his “Wings Across The World”, about the developments of commercial air-line. The drawings are by Philip Trevor, and are exactly in keeping with the text.

The author works in many facets of flying apart from memories of his ultra-light experiences, such as forced-landings in war and peace, how Bureaucracy cheated him from competing in the Daily Mail Cross-Channel Air Race, flying seaplanes, etc.

I was very glad to be able to read again this book, first published 15 years ago, and so, I am sure, will all true aeroplane enthusiasts. — W.B.

Fly and Deliver — A Ferry-Pilot’s Log Book” by Hugh Bergel. 126 pp. 8 ¾” x 5 ½”. (Airlife Publishing Ltd., 7 St. John’s Hill, Shrewsbury, Salop, SY1 1JE. £6.95)

I found this book especially welcome, because it is by Hugh Bergel, father of Richard who has driven a 250F Maserati in VSCC races, and who himself used to compete with a Type 35 Bugatti, and also because I was able to place the mss. with the publishers for him.

But this is a work that stands up in its own right. Hugh Bergel, that modest chap with a splendid sense of humour, held a high-ranking position (CO of No. 9 FP, Aston Down) with ATA during the second German war, and he flew 79 types of aeroplane, listed in Appendix A of the book, while serving with ATA.

It is the peculiarities of these many aeroplanes and some of the adventures he had with them as a war-time Ferry Pilot which he describes so well, not overlooking the technicalities, Hugh Bergel having written previously about the starting-up procedures of some notable war-time aircraft.

Bergel, like Penrose, first went up in 1919, having a 5/- joyride round Hounslow aerodrome in a partly-converted war-time DH9 and he learned to fly in 1928 at Stag Lane in DH Cirrus-I Moths. His book not only tells us a very great deal about famous war-time aeroplanes and what it was like for a comparatively inexperienced pilot to have to fly them, but Hugh Bergel opens the door to what life with ATA during WW2 was like — chapter headings such as “HTTMPPFGGFUST”, “Finding One’s Way Round Britain”, “Ferrying Procedure”, “Out-of-the-ordinary Jobs” and “The Men and Women of ATA” are but part of it, and liberal quotes from Bergel’s Log Book make up much of the rest of a book that will be irresistible to all true aviation enthusiasts. The Foreword is by Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Rosier, GCB, CBE, DSO, RAF(Rtd), and Hugh dedicates his story to his wife, “who had all the worry while I had the fun”. There are some good photographs, too, some unseen in any previous book. Another winner for Airlife! — W.B.

The Shuttleworth Collection” by David Ogilvy. 214 pp. 8 ¾” x 5 ½”. (Airlife Publishing Ltd., 7, St. John’s Hill, Shrewsbury, Salop, SY1 1JE. £8.95)

It is unusual to have a hard-cover, conventional book as a guide to a museum and collection open to the paying-public. But the aeroplanes of the famous Shuttleworth Collection at Biggleswade in Bedford are of sufficient interest to merit this, particularly when they are written-up by David Ogilvy, who served for 14 years as the General Manager of the Shuttleworth Collection, up to 1980 and who, incidentally, once wrote flight-tests of light aeroplanes for MOTOR SPORT.

In this book he covers the origins of the Collection, the engineering and the flying characteristics of the many aeroplanes in the Collection, and as there is information about the bicycles and veteran cars that also figure in the Shuttleworth Trust Museum, the book is a comprehensive guide to the Collection. As the aeroplanes therein are described in the sequence of pioneer machines, war-time aeroplanes, between-wars types and post-war military aircraft, this book is another contribution to aviation history. Other authors contribute chapters about the aero-engines and other exhibits at Biggleswade, the all-grass aerodrome itself, a typical Display Day, markings and colour schemes, subsidiary exhibits and there is listed technical data and interesting pictures, including one of a Clayton & Shuttleworth caterpillar tractor towing a Bristol fighter, circa 1919. Airlife have netted another very good one! There are brief references to Richard Shuttleworth, killed when flying for the RAF, who started it all in 1928, and his motor racing activities. Incidentally, if you have not yet been to a Shuttleworth Trust day, do not delay. . . — W.B.

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Other recent tides available from Albion Scott Ltd. (address above) include “Facel Vega” by Jean Daninos, covering the Excellence, HK500 and Facelia models of this rare French car in a format very like the aforementioned Osprey “Auto History” series – EPA’s “Gran Tourisme” books — the text again being in French. The price is £10.95. From the same source comes a very comprehensive “Mustang Recognition Guide”, extremely detailed, at £8.95, “Mustang 70”, an illustrated facts book about the famous American sports car, at £2.95, and “The Beetle Book” by Louis William Steinwedel, a lighthearted picture book about the unquenchable VW, at £8.95.

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The latest history book produced by the staff of Automobile Quarterly in America is the welcome title “Camaro: From Challenger to Champion” by Gary L. Witzenburg, who sets out his copiously-illustrated story in 216 8″ x 9 ¾” landscaped pages, for £14.95.

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The AA has come up with a very big, properly bound book about “Discovering Britain”, 415 8 ¾” x 10″ pages, with maps, which should remain a source of enjoyment for a long time, to those who the motoring as well as motors. It costs £12.95.

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Another encyclopaedia of trucks and ‘buses has been published, this one by Hamlyn of Astronaut House, Hounslow Road, Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 9AR for £9.95. It is very large format book of 320 pages, full of illustration ranging over the full period of commercial vehicle development, with explanatory text, by Denis Miller.

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Since the very hard winter there is growing interest in four-wheel-drive vehicles, and the “Four Wheel Drive Book” by Jack Jackson covers this field, in a remarkably informative and all-embracing style. It is published by Gentry Books, 15 Pont Street, London, SW I X 9EX, at £10.95 and runs to 254 pages, with hints and tips, specifications, etc.

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A new approach to “Motoring for the Millions” is the book of that title, by Ian Ward, who fits descriptions of 28 economy cars of many different kinds, from Ford-T to one-longer De Dion Bounce, 3 ½-litre Dodge to Renault 4, to their colour and black-and-white pictures. The Blandford Press of Link House, West Street, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1LL do this pleasant if rather unnecessary coverage for £8.95.

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Road & Track’s American version of Brooklands Books’ road-test reprints has appeared, reprinting their own road-test reports, the first three titles being about Fiat Sports Cars of 1968-1981, Mercedes Sports and GT cars, 1970-1980, and the Ferraris of 1968-1974, Brooklands Books are handling the distribution.

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Patrick Stephens Ltd. ask us to point out that the correct title of the fourth of those absorbing books by Bruce Barrymore Halpenny about old military airfields should be “Action Stations 4: Military Airfields of Yorkshire” and not as in May’s review, on page 607. More titles in this interesting and nostalgic series are w follow. —W.B