by Dean Batchelor, Chris Pook and Graham Robson. 420pp. 13″ x 10″. (Haynes Publishing Group, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7JJ. £29.95)
Fully subtitled “The Great Book of Over 200 of the World’s Greatest Automobiles”, this must be something of a record for coffee-table compilations, for it weighs 7lb and includes colour pictures of all the cars with which it is concerned — which means many hundreds. The cars run from AMX to Datsun Z, says the blurb, though in fact the last entry is Volvo 1800ES, and some may be disappointed that Bentleys are not included.
The authors seem to have unusually outspoken views on some of the cars. For instance, “Suspension engineer Leslie Ballamy designed the now-infamous split-front-axle independent suspension that was to become a trademark of all early Allards” and (of the Triumph TR8) “Unfortunately, it also inherited the same sloppy workmanship and that classic bane of British roadsters: cowl shake. Indeed, Consumer Guide magazine’s test TR8 had so much body flex that parking on even shallow inclines was enough to keep the doors from opening or closing. We also remember that car for a temperature-gauge that kept crowding its red zone. On checking with a dealer about possible overheating, we were told to keep a screwdriver handy for tightening the hose-clamps during the first 1000 miles!”
A book, you might say, that packs a punch, and explains why British cars were once hard to dispose of outside this country. If you have strong arms, you may well enjoy it. WB