“The Golden Age of Motoring” 148 pp., 10 1/4″ x 8 1/2″ (Patrick Stephens Ltd., Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB3 8EL. £14.95).
This composite work from Edita Lausanne is just another lighthearted picture-book approach to the old days of motoring — the sort of thing usually termed a “coffee-table” job. However, anything from the publishers of the much-coveted “Automobile Year” has to be beautifully produced and presented and it is the little snippets of new information from rare published works and the fine artistic pictures, many in colour, of differing aspects of motoring as it used to be, that make this a little different from other publications of its kind. It contains pictures of cars in comic cartoons and artwork, in reproduced advertisements (including one for Le Gant “Youthlastic” ladies’ corsets for more comfortable voyaging, and a classic Hispano Saint painting) and many unusual aspects of the game, from the beginnings to the vintage period.
Inevitably quite a number of the illustrations and quotations have appeared elsewhere, but there is just sufficient “new” material from books and magazines to make this a rewarding “browse”, although too much fictional matter. Most of the cars illustrated are from the Continent, although the caption-writers do not appear to know that it is a Salmson which is seen overturning at Shelsley Walsh on page 50 or that the Napier-Railton was different from a Railton (page 38). This is in many ways a “stunt” book, if a delightful one. It deals with speed, open road, drivers, traffic-jams and associated problems, elegance, prestige, meter complications, and especially lady motorists — from one piece of artistry associated with an Edwardian Renault one notes that there is nothing new, even in the design of ladies’ umbrellas! An unusual but expensive contribution to the overall automobile scene, with hardly enough fresh material to justify it. — W.B.