Book Reviews, June 1957, June 1957

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” ‘The Motor’ Year Book, 1957,” edited by Laurence Pomeroy, F.R.S.A., M.S.A.E., and Rodney Walkerley. 248 pp., 10 in. by 7½ in. (Temple Press Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.1. 17s. 6d.)

Once again this extremely valuable work of reference comes to hand; it is a Year Book no serious student of the motoring scene cares to be without. The usual features are coutinued, such as a pictorial record of the entirely new 1956 British cars (there are only nine), an account of modified British cars of last year, a detailed specification table of all British cars, tables of specifications of the World’s cars, road-test commentary and figures from 1956 issues of The Motor, and reviews of the leading accessories, books and racing cars of the year — not forgetting a selection of the best Brockbank cartoons.

There are special articles, reprinted from The Motor, on automatic transmissions, on the trend of design and about Cunningham’s contribution to motor racing.

Apart from that, this Year Book is very largely devoted to the sport, opening with a frontispiece of Fangio, Moss, and Mrs. Fangio, and analysing the G.P. cars and races of 1956 in considerable detail, backed up by numerous data and results tables and by a “sport folio” of racing and rally pictures.

Throughout there is a commendable standard of accuracy, although in the World Specification Tables some confusion will be caused because maximum b.h.p. is sometimes given as S.A.E. h.p., at other times as installed h.p. without differentiation, while i.r.s. is not always defined, e.g., Lagonda. This book is an essential to all motoring reference libraries. — W. B.

“‘Motor Cycling’ Year Book, 1957,” edited by R. A. B. Cook. 194 pp. 84/5 in. by 5½ in. (Temple Press Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.1. 10s. 6d.)

This, a companion work to The Motor Year Book, provides every sort of reference to motor-cycles of all kinds and to motor-cycle sport. The International racing review of 1956 is by Geoff. Duke, O.B.E. — W. B.

“B.A.R.C. Year Book, 1957.” 104 pp. 8½ in. by 5½ in., soft covers. (B.A.R.C., 55, Park Lane, London. W.1. 5s.)

This Year Book of the British Aidomobile Racing Club appears for the fifth time, rather late in the year. It contains many absorbing articles. Lord Brabazon of Tara recalls the first day at Brooklands (he means the first meeting), Kenneth Best offers suggestions for improving British rallies, S. C. H, Davis calls for more normal sports-racing cars, and there are articles on safety in racing and holidays abroad, driving in France and foreign hotels, the last three only incidental to motor racing.

Naturally, much of the book is devoted to past and coming B.A.R.C. races and other events but there is also a great deal of general information about competition motoring, which would have been more useful earlier in the year. Edgar N. Duffield writes on memories of the early days of the Club but his memory isn’t very reliable, because he refers to at least four small cars as existing in 1912 which didn’t come into being until after 1918, gets Marendaz’s initials mixed up and refers to Percy Lambert as a J.C.C. stalwart, whereas Lambert was killed six years before the J.C.C. was formed. Still, anyone got five-bob ?

“A Fool Strikes Oil,” by Barbara Toy. 207 pp. 81/5 in. by 5½ in. (John Murray, 50, Albemarle Street, London. W.1.18.s.)

Here is Miss Toy’s third book in her self-styled “Fool” series. They are straight-forward travel books, with the attraction of clear descriptive writing and the fact that the authoress travels the far places alone in her Land Rover “Pollyanna.” This book possesses an attractive dust-jacket which proves that Miss Toy is quite feminine in spite of the alarming places and persons she cheerfully visits alone.

“A Fool Strikes Oil” is happily topical, dealing as it does, with travel and observation in the new world of oil, as she travels across the vast, inaccessible country of Saudi Arabia, from Kuwait on the Persian Gulf, to Riyadh the capital and then on to Jedda on the Red Sea, a journey of contrast, from being a guest of King Saud to driving through the old Arabia, just stirring to the first smell of oil.

There are some quite good pictures — but, please, John Murray, maps! — W. B.

 

Foulis have issued “Full Throttle,” by Sir Henry Birkin, Bt., in their “Handy Series:” (133 pp. 7½ in. by 49/10 in.). It costs only 7s. 6d.

*

“Caravan Sites,” a guide to officially-recognised residential and recreational caravan sites in Britain and Ireland has again been issued by Modern Caravan. It costs 2s. 6d. from the Heathcock Press Ltd., Heathcock Court, Strand, London, W.C.2. It lists some 2,709 sites in England and Wales and 201 elsewhere, and would be even more useful if issued earlier in the year than April. All the sites listed are legally approved and details are given. Incidentally, we now turn out 20,000 caravans a year and 200,000 people live in vans, yet London has no recognised sites, and Middlesex only nine. Yorkshire has the most.

*

The Ordnance Survey has adopted a new look! New ¼ in.-to-the-mile maps, with an easy-to-read new-look, the hills shaded to give a more readable picture to the less-expert map user, are being prepared. The first sheet, covering North Wales and Lancs. (sheet 10) has been issued, but it will take six years to complete a full set covering the British Isles. As maps are of great interest to serious motorists we append the official description of this new series:

In its design, the new map differs from the fourth edition in many respects. To conform with Continental practice and the requirements of air navigation, the scale has been altered from 1 : 253.440 or one-quarter inch to one mile to the scale of 1 : 250,000, but as the change is slight and will not be apparent to the general user, the more convenient title of “Quarter-Inch” map is being retained for the present. Again, the amount of detail shown has been reduced when compared with the fourth edition, in the knowledge that there will exist an up-to-date One-Inch Map and a new Half-Inch Map for more detailed reference. And, thirdly, the method of depicting the relief of the ground has been altered. Hypsometrical or layer tints as used in the present fourth edition have been retained, but as these layer tints change at the same interval as the contour interval, the contour lines have been omitted with the object of lightening the appearance of the map without taking away any of its value, while hill shading has been added to give a more readable picture of the relief of the ground, which should help the less expert map user.

Class I and II roads are distinguished by separate colours, as in the fourth edition, but built-up areas are now shown in grey. The National Grid is printed at 10-kilometre intervals. The aim has been to produce a map suitable for motorists, and giving a picture of the ground which not only easy to read but is also pleasing to the eye.

The new map is available in three styles: paper flat, price 3s. 0d.; paper folded in covers, price 5s. 0d.; and mounted on linen and folded in covers, price 7s. 0d

*.

“Technical Bookguide,” issued monthly for 6d., is what its title implies. The publisher is Hansom Books Ltd., 21, Lower Belgrave Street, London, S.W.1.

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Shell-Mex and B.P. Ltd. have commemorated their first 25 years by issuing a rather beautiful souvenir in the form of a brief history of World events from 1932 to the present day, illustrated — and this is the point — by reproductions, some in colour, of Shell and B.P. advertisements of the past quarter-century. The text names the famous artists commissioned to draw and paint them and all the classics are there, including the stupid “sleeping baby” stunt. Intended for the staff, the Shell-Mex and B.P. public relations department expresses the hope that we will mention “The First 25 Years,” —  so perhaps if you are quick off the mark and say you read of it in Motor Sport a p.c. to Mr. P. N. Vey, Shell-Mex House, Strand,W.C.2, will secure a free copy. No doubt such luxuries for staff and public consumption are a means of dispersing excess profits but as the petrol companies have been far more generous in reducing the price of petrol than has the Government in lowering the tax on it, who are we to grumble?

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Ian Allan Ltd. have issued their 2s. 6d, pocket reference work on “Sports Cars,” by John Douglas, in 1957 form.