Book reviews, June 1962, June 1962

“Autocar Road Tests, Spring 1962.” 81 pp, 113/4 in x 71/2 in. Soft covers. (Rifle Books Ltd, Dorset House, Stamford Street, London SE1. 7/6d).

These reprints of road-test reports that have appeared in the Autocar are a valuable source of reference to salesmen, engineers and students of design and a means of many hours’ enjoyable reading to motoring enthusiasts. This Spring Edition carries 39 such reports, from that on the Fiat 600D to the Mercedes-Benz 220SE coupe and including such controversial cars as the Aston Martin DB4, Austin-Cooper, Citroen DS19, Lancia Flavia, Ford Capri, Lotus Super 7, Skoda Felicia and VW 1500. In performance the range spans 68 to 141 mph (Fiat 600 to DB4), 14.1 to 38 mpg. (Bristol 407 to 600D) and an ss 1-mile in from 15.8 to 24.9 sec. (Lotus 7 to 600D).

The tests are copiously illustrated, data is tabulated and the test format is that of The Autocar and not the revised Autocar layout that I like less. A good book by any standards.—WB.

“A Racing Driver’s World” by Rudolf Caracciola. 232 pp, 87/8 in x 71/2 in. (Cassell and Company Ltd, 35, Red Lion Square, London, WC1. 30/-).

This is an account of the great German Champion’s racing life which was published as “Caracciola, Mercedes Grand Prix Ace” by Foulis in 1955 and has since been brought up to date, although not so efficiently that several drivers are quoted as living who have since died.

This is an exceedingly readable book that you might buy for the wife or girl friend to read while sitting in the car waiting for you to emerge from the Paddock or tuning shop. But it is a superficial book from the viewpoint of the serious student of racing history, practically no technicalities being included (although I am interested to know that the cylinder head of Caracciola’s Ego could be screwed on and off !) and Caracciola’s drives in the Ulster TT and at Donington being ignored.

There are so many motoring books awaiting a publisher that I am suprised Cassell troubled to rehash this one. It is not important. WB.

“Caravan Sites-1962,” is a useful guide published at 2/6d. by Modern Caravan, Heathcock Press Ltd, Heathcock Court, London WC2.

The 1962 edition of that fascinating gastronomic work (245 pages and 12 reference maps) “Egon Ronay recommends” is available for 7/6d. from Hutchinson & Co, 178-202, Great Portland Street, London, W1.

The latest publication of the Roads Campaign Council is “Divide and Survive.” It deals with the importance of segregating vehicles and pedestrians in modern towns. It is fully illustrated and free copies are obtainable, on mentioning Motor Sport, from the Press Office, The RCC, 15 Dartmouth Street, London SW1.

Following publication of the RAC Continental Handbook comes the 1962 edition of the invaluable 1962 RAC Handbook which has been fully revised, lists 4,500 approved hotels, 8,000 garages and repairers, is complete with maps, town plans, and massesof essential information. It costs 12 6d, or 8s 6d to RAC members, from any RAC office.

For marking on almost any surface, in any of eight vivid colours, in home, garden, workshop or office, the Gem-Master will be found effective and economical. These markers, filled with an enormous volume of quick-drying ink, cost 3/6d each. They are the product of Cushman and Denison Company Ltd, Moorland Street, Birmingham 4.

Cars in books

There is but a solitary reference to a car by make in the rather sordid book “A Hermit Disclosed,” by Raleigh Trevelyan (Longmans, 1960), which I am surprised is a Book Society Alternative Choice, although I suppose it will interest people who reside in Essex. The car concerned is a Lancia on which a Dagenham garage owner, whom the author had called to interview, was working. Knowing the complexity of Lancia engines and ifs, it is faintly amusing to read that the garage promoter was “preoccupied with the car. He was not keen to be distracted”.

The next two books I read featured Buick cars. There is the enthralling (fictional) account of an escape from the Japanese invasion of Burma in one of these cars in “The Jacaranda Tree,” by HE Bates (Michael Joseph, 1949/52), while on the very first page of “The beast in me and other Animals,” by James Thurber (Hamish Hamilton, 1949/50), the author likens Gryllus domesticus to a wrecked Buick.—WB.