by Sarah Morgan-Wu & James O’Keefe
On my first recce through this hefty, high-quality book on the American speed hero I thought there had been a production glitch: the words “The End” appear on p25.
But sure enough, there are only 25 pages of text about the hugely successful racing driver who lost his life chasing Land Speed Records on Daytona Beach. The bulk of it is large-format photographs, offering comprehensive though sometimes repetitive coverage of Lockhart’s racing, including his rookie Indy win, his frequent board-track successes and his record attempts in the beautiful, whippet-slim Stutz Black Hawk Special which promised a far more efficient route to 200mph than the weighty monsters of Campbell and Keech which were also running at Daytona.
The authors have clearly done much research – there are many appendices of results and documentation – and are at pains to, for example, dispel the story that the tyre which blew and caused the fatal smash was cut by a shell. There’s no evidence of that. But the text, what there is of it, is strangely passionless. It’s thick with race results, figures and newspaper quotations, but does not give much of a picture of this handsome but seemingly shy man who was uncomfortable with the publicity his racing brought him and would much rather be in his workshop (there are excellent pictures of him at work). A skilled and inventive engineer, Lockhart closeted himself in the shop extracting huge power from his H-16 twin-Miller power unit. But was he shy or anti-social, lawed or intensely driven? Despite all the information, I still don’t know. GC
Published by Racemaker Press, ISBN 978 1 935240 03 7, $75