Autocourse 50 Years of World Championship Grand Prix Motor-racing

By Alan Henry ISBN 1-874557-78-0

Published by Hazleton, £40.00

There are no big surprises here, no sleeved tricks, just a straight-forward chronology of the World Championship. If ever there was a book to judge by its cover, this is it.

It is also exactly as it should be. Too often works such as this try too hard to supply the surprise and delight features and miss their true purpose in the process. An Autocourse book was never likely to make that mistake, and certainly not when it has been penned by Alan Henry: there is no more reliable scribbler in the business.

Straightforward it might be, but it is not basic.

Henry’s words are as authoritative and entertaining as usual, the layouts simple and classy while the photographs, supplied by the Cahier father and son team as well as our own LAT archive are both well chosen and engrossing. Criticisms? I could have lived happily without the panels telling me what else was going on in the world at any given time, particularly as the space needed could have been used for more photography or relevant words; also, had it come with more and better designed information in the appendix of statistics, it would have some claim to being a definitive reference work. But these are quibbles. It’s a fine book, good value even at £40 and if you need the ultimate bluffer’s guide to the history of F1, I don’t suppose you’ll easily do better than this.AF

Can-Am Cars

By David McKinney ISBN 1-874557-78-0

Published by Osprey, £14.99

A series which had no minimum weight, and no maximum engine size… would that such a championship existed today. But such was the legendary Can-Am series, a championship where, as the author rightly points out, aerofoils and proper ground-effect were introduced to the motorsport world. Formula One has claimed credit for these startling innovations for too long.

In this book, McKinney describes the great years of Can-Am and its machinery, and this he does well. However, all the chapters take the form of a dispassionate report and the technical descriptions of the cars involved bring little relief. If, as all real fans will, you are looking for anecdotes from drivers, team bosses and mechanics, or a flavour of how it was to drive one of these monsters, this is sadly not the book for you. The photographs too (with one or two notable exceptions) lack the ‘wow’ factor. This seems particularly unfortunate, when the subject matter in front of the lens is some of the most dramatic machinery in motor racing history. Can-Am Cars 1966-1974 is a very informative read and one that will perform useful service in the MOTOR SPORT offices as an effective reference book. But in failing to capture the unrivalled excitement of the brutal, brilliant Can-Am era and focusing instead purely on their technology and results, a considerable opportunity has been missed. DM