BOOK REVIEWS, June 1965, June 1965

Motor Sports Car Road Tests, Second Series.” 119 pp. 11½ in. 8 in., soft covers. (Temple Press Books Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.1. 15s.)

Some time ago Temple Press grouped together some of Motor’s sports-car road tests and presented them in one volume, as a companion to their useful volumes of general road-test reprints. This is the second of the Series, although how the Editor defined a sports car is unknown to us, and perhaps to him, for the test reports include Mini-Cooper S and S1275 saloons, Volvo P1800 coupe, Ford Lotus-Cortina saloon and Ford Mustang coupe as well as obvious openable sports cars like the Austin Healeys in three forms. Lotus Elan and Super Seven 1500, MG.-B, and Midget Mk. II, and Triumph Spitfire, in normal and Stage 2 forms.

In all, there are 24 full test reports and over 160 illustrations, while the tabulated data alone will keep enthusiasts happy for hours at a time. For some reason, presumably connected with printing techniques, most of the tests are preceded by a blank page, useful for making notes or drooling on.

Charles Bulmer, B.SC., A.F.R.AC.S., contributes a bijou foreward on ” Sports Car Progress,” concluding sagely that ” Insurance companies willing, the golden age of sports cars is only just beginning.” He remarks that two of the cars he would most like to own are both in the book—our guess is that they could be the Jaguar E-type and Lotus Elan, or perhaps the Mini-Cooper S 1275 ?

A table of performance data shows the fastest of these two-dozen sports cars, which include Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, Gilbern GT, Lotus Elite, Morgan 4/4 Series IV, Porsche 1600C, Reliant Sabre Six CT and Sunbeam Alpines, was the Jaguar E-type, which was timed at 150 m.p.h., the most accelerative over the s.s. ¼-mile was the Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, which clocked 14.6 sec., and the most economical of these sports cars was the Triumph Spitfire, which gave an overall petrol consumption of 31.3 m.p.g.—W. B.

“Avro Aircraft Since 1908,” by A. J. Jackson. 470 p.p. 8¾ in. x 5¾ in. (Putnam & Co. Ltd., 42, Great Russell Street, London, W.C.1. 63s.)

This is another of those detailed, copiously-illustrated one-make aviation history books which must make Putnam the envy of other publishers of aeronautical documentation.

From the primitive pioneer biplanes with which Alliott Verdon Roe experimented at Brooklands and elsewhere in 1907 to the Avro 748 airliner of today, all the Avro aeroplanes are described in detail, illustrated and indexed, and there are appendices covering machines made for other manufacturers, those designed by A. V. Roe Canada Ltd., and all the Avro projects from the Avro 505 to Avro 771.

Particularly intriguing are the individual histories of British Civil Avro 504Ks, but anyone who knows the unflagging energy and painstaking attention to detail which the author puts into his books will appreciate that all the other Avro types are described in like detail, from Baby to Aldershot, Avian to Vulcan, Cadet to Lancaster. Motoring historians may well look at this industrious work before preening themselves, and aviation fanatics in general and Avro fans in particular owe a deep debt of gratitude to Jackson and Putnam for this very complete, yet concise, accurate, valuable and nostalgic, beautifully printed and illustrated history. Any of our readers who owned, piloted or flew in Avro aeroplanes will find a year’s good reading for their 3 gns. in this excellent book.—W. B.

“The Art and Technique of Driving,” by Pat Moss and Erik Carlsson. 191 pp. 8¾ in. 5¼ in. (William Heinemann, 15-16, Queen Street, London, W.1. 25s.)

No doubt most of our readers know enough about driving to regard themselves as experts and will not feel any great need for a book on the art and technique of driving. This has to be qualified by the thought that two such experienced and successful rally drivers as Mr. and Mrs. Carlsson must have learned a great deal about driving, some of which must rub off on those who read their book.

Parts of it having been serialised in a weekly contemporary, the full value has been undermined for those who read most of the motor journals, especially as much of what remains seems pretty superficial.

Parts of what the Carlssons have to impart seem strangely controversial, like their advice about not changing down so as to employ the engine as a brake—is this because they habitually drive Saabs ?—and leaving a dasher on while waiting to make a right turn, which is beastly dazzling for those in the queue, and surely should be done with discretion ?

However, we all regard ourselves as driving experts, so study of this book will at least give rise to keen arguments or a glow of ” I told you so ” satisfaction, and it covers various aspects of the modern motor-car and its components in relation to driving techniques, as well as driving itself.—W. B.

” Table-Top Car Racing,” by Richard F. Dempewollf. 158 pp. 9¼ in. x 6 in. (George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 40, Museum Street, London, W.C.1. 27s. 6d.)

This book covers almost every aspect it is possible to think of concerning the very popular pastime of model-car racing on slot or rail tracks, from HO to 1/24th scale. It is copiously illustrated with pictures, diagrams, plaits and sealed designs and clubs and individuals associated with miniature car racing should find it invaluable. But the piece about Gar Wood pouring petrol over the carburetter of his racing boat to make it go faster is surely model maker’s imagination !—W. B.

This is the time of year for touring, and a number of guides has been sent in for our appraisal. These include The Travellers Guides series, edited by Sean Jennett and published by Darton, Longman & Todd, 64, Chiswick High Street, W.4., which cost 10s. 6d. to 12s. 6d. each and cover Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devonshire, The Shakespeare Country, The Lake District and Oxford and District, as descriptions of towns, beauty spots, etc., illustrated in colour and line-drawing, and the De Lange Motoring Guide to Spain and Portugal, with maps, descriptions of 42 towns and 16 through routes, tours and day excursions, etc. The latter, by Dr. Van Egeraat, quaintly if faintly illustrated, is published by Edward Stanford Ltd. G. T. Foulis & Co. Ltd., 1-5, Portpool Lane, E.C.1., have published ” Motoring on Irish Byways,” by Christopher Tread (25s.), and Farm Holiday Guide Ltd., 18, High Street, Paisley, their 3s. 6d. guide to 2,480 farms which take visitors., which should be useful to impecunious racegoers.

There is a great surge of interest in the 1914-/18 war on this, its fiftieth anniversary, and aviation enthusiasts are offered a pictorial history of World War I, ” The Knighted Skies,” by Edward Jablonski, which is a pleasing browsing book, although not by any means a competitor for the serious aeronautical histories of Putnam, Macdonald and Harleyford. It is published by Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd., Parkside, Edinburgh 9, at 50s.