Book reviews , July 1986, July 1986

The Bentley Drivers’ Club has included in its Jubilee celebrations the publication of its “Golden Jubilee Book — 1936-1986”, which is one of those excellent ideas which has definitely come off. By which we mean that it provides a wealth of interesting reading matter for Club members and sports-car enthusiasts who do not belong to the BDC. being one of those unusual books unfortunately all too infrequently encountered, which is packed with fascinating material which will be read with pleasure and later browsed over, again and again Fifty years of close associations with one of Britain’s leading sports-cars cannot fail to produce absorbing history, both about the BDC itself and the cars its members so sensibly favour. This nicely produced book possesses 276 pages, many fine photographs, and a colour section, so there was plenty of scope tor including a detailed survey of the Club’s activities officials, events, and of Its members and their motor-cars, since 1936. Inevitably, it’s highly nostalgic Forrest Lycett tells delightfully of how he camera buy the first at his nine Bentleys — a 1924 3-Ittre Speed Model — in which he had covered 257,000 miles by the end of 1938, there are biographies of Stanley Sedgwock, the Club’s Thunder, G K Pelmore, L. C. McKenzie. Vaughan Davis. Evan Cook, and the long-time Secretary Col. Darell Berthon. etc and personalities such as Peter Robertson-Rodger. Gibbs Panchen, Bunty Scott-Moncrieft, Fred Hofmann and many others tell of their Bentley experiences. How the Club has been run, lists of Trophy winners. Bentley stones from all over the World, competition matters and the more recent Club history divided into the late ‘fifties, early ‘sixties, late ‘sixties and the early ‘seventies — it is all there, and much more besides, compiled by John Binns. Paul Gibbs Panchen, Stanley Sedgwick and Hugh Young, and mildly edited by John Nutter.

Of the many pictures. what can one say? – the ex-Barnato 8-litre on the 1936 RAC Rally, “Mac” with the famous Lycett 8-litre, George Burton with the de Dion-tube from his Bentley Special, Barry Eastick’s very special V1/S1 Special. Kensington Gardens shots take your pick!

There are letters from back issues of the BDC Gazette, articles from Monza, Ghent, Afganistan, New Zealand, Rawalpindi, Zacatecas, Texas and other American and Canadian places, etc with the Bentley legend woven into them, and even a previouslyunpublished story, by W. O. himself, of a journey to Dingwell In a DEP. and appreciations of the Continental R-type by Brian Morgan and of the Derby Bentley comparisons with other cars by Johnnie Green. Excuse me. I’m going to browse again. Non-BDC members can do likewise as this inimitable book is available from the Club Office, 16, Chearsley Road, Long Crendon, Aylesbury, Bucks HP18 9AW, for £12 50 – W.B.

Formula One has often been the theme of fine pictorial annuals depicting its many facets, and the latest in this held is a coffee-table tome called simply “F1 Images” by Alberto Borsien and Andrea De Adamich. Its 12 1/2 in X 9 1/2 in pages are packed full of extremely good and evocative shots of all aspects of the GP scene — the cars, the drivers, the girls, the pits, the accidents, the corners, the components, and what have you. This exciting feast of colour, devoted to the 1985 season, contains some of the best pictures of their kind that I have seen, and there are more than 250 of them. The book is published by Haynes of Yeovil and costs £29.95. — W.B.

Motor Racing Publications Ltd, Unit 6, The Pilton Estate, 46 Pitlake. Croydon, Surrey CRO 3RY. have published the third volume of James Taylor’s studies of “The Mercedes-Benz since 1945” This one, in the same popular “Collector’s Guide” series as the other two volumes, covers the cars of the 1970s, including the 300. 380. 420, and 500SL models Copiously dlustrated. this is an essential work for those who want to keep abreast of the more recent Daimler-Benz developments, and it is not too expensive at £9 95 for a 144-page casebound, landscape-paged (7 1/2 in 9 1/4 in) book containing 140 pictures and a high-quality dust-iacket. The preceding volumes were about the Mercedes-Benz cars of the 1940s and 19505, and the cars of the 1960s. – W.B.

Cars in Books

Peter Hull, who has lust retired from the Secretaryship of the VSCC, sent us a note of a piece by Aldous Huxley. in which the famous author tells of touring Europe in his 10 hp Citroen, which prompted his amendment to a hymn to read “Lord. unto us may wealth be given, to follow in a car” for he hadn’t the energy to follow the Alpine climbers on foot and even the train had become too inconvenient to be much employed by hirn. So Huxley was grateful for his Citroen, his prayer partially answered, partially, because he thought that whether a ten-horse-power Citroen could really be called a car was questionable . Owners of Napiers. Vauxhalls, Delages or Voisins would certainly deny it, thought Huxley…

Yet he had used his 10 hp Citroen a good many thousands of miles over the roads of Italy, France, Belgium and Holland, not exactly good roads, he implied, and all he claimed for his little car was that it worked, that or a rnodest and unassuming way, not very rapidly, but steadily and reliably, it took one about. Saying he ought to stop talking about his Citroen and return to higher things, Huxley confessed that the temptation of talking about cars, when one has one, was quite irresistible. Before he bought the Citroen, he said, no subject had less interest for him, afterwards, none had more. He wasted much precious time reading the moto the news from the racing tracks, and gravely perused technical lucubrations he did not understand Huxley discovered that every car-owner is a liar, unable to tell the truth about his machine. In this respect, his last vestige of confidence was destroyed by the Belgian driver who told him he had often done the journey from Brussels to Ostend in two hours, and had never taken more. Huxley was to find that the distance was over 70 miles, that the road was badly cobbled all the way, and passed through three large towns and about 20 villages. Starting late one afternoon in the Citroen, they were hopelessly benighted.

He also found envy for 40 hp cars that shot past silently as he drove his 10 hp. It was not so bad in flat country but in mountainous country, like Italy. The piece, called “Wander-Birds” concludes with a charming account of the Citroen grinding up the 6.500 ft Mont Cenis Pass in 2nd gear and being ovettaken by a red Alfa Romeo doing 50 mph. This car looked suspiciously like that which had just won the GP of Europe (for Ascari?) and they encountered it several times coming down or up the Pass as the Citroen toiled upwards. At the Custom House a soldier told them It was doing hill-climb tests. If you like the writings of Aldous Huxley, do not overlook his description of his encounter with a P2 Alfa Romeo. – W.B.