Reviews, June 2013



Forghieri on Ferrari
1947 to present

Mauro Forghieri and Daniele Buzzonetti

“Unlike [Vittorio] Jano, I had the advantage of not being known in the GP world, so no way was I obstructed as I photographed the more interesting details of their cars…”

It’s spring 1962 and young Mauro Forghieri is part of a Ferrari factory group on an exploratory mission to Britain, to see how companies based in motor racing’s most productive nation go about their work. Such practice brought no charges of espionage in those days, nor $100 million fines…

It’s one of many charming throwaway paragraphs in former Ferrari linchpin Forghieri’s new company history, much of the content drawn from his enduring stint with the company. He might not have been well known in 1962, but his name became synonymous with a firm he graced for almost three decades. Chassis, suspension, engines, transmissions — he hailed from an era when cars were designed by individuals rather than technical groups, and he was involved with all those elements.

Forghieri worked for Ferrari from 1960 to 1987, but the book covers 1947 to pretty much the present day, has a different slant from the norm and is splendidly illustrated throughout. You could rightfully claim that the world really doesn’t need any more Ferrari books, but I’d counter that it will welcome this one. SA
Published by Giorgio Nada Ed/tore Sri,
ISBN 978 88 7911 565 0, 60 euros

Silverstone Circuit
Through Time

Anthony Meredith and Gordon Blackwell

It’s hard to believe that a run-down old farm, surrounded on all sides by trees, fields and small rural villages, would one day become the state-of-the-art international racing circuit we all know today as Silverstone.

The transformation began in 1942 when the RAF commandeered a large site on which once sat local landmark Luffield Abbey. Buildings were erected and runways laid, forming the basic pattern of the circuit.

With the war over and military operations ceasing at the site in 1946, local car enthusiasts and car clubs started to use the perimeter road as a makeshift circuit. Astonishingly, with the help of locals, the RAC, the BRDC and several motor racing aristocrats, 1948 saw Silverstone host its first Grand Prix.

Ever since, the circuit has moved with the times and has been redeveloped and rebuilt on a constant cycle. However, there are still reminders of those early days wherever you look, and this book shows, with the help of period photos next to those of today, how far the circuit has come. Though amusingly, 1960s images of muddy car parks show some things don’t always change!

Many photos are from private sources and are not all of the best quality, but that matters little as they brilliantly convey the story of how a redundant airfield in the Northamptonshire countryside became the ‘Home of British Motor Racing’. DC
Published by Amberley Publishing,
ISBN 9781 4456 06361, £9.99

Amedee Gordini
A true racing legend

Roy Smith

Considering the Gordini name pops up in most European race reports through the Fifties, it’s a surprise that there hasn’t been an English book about the man before this. Roy Smith redresses that with a detailed biography of Le Sorcier, from footloose Italian immigrant settling in Paris through an interest in boxing to a constructor who at times was France’s sole tricoleur-waver on the track.

It’s a story of relentless struggle for funds and support, ending with Renault’s absorption of the firm, but Gordini’s endless enthusiasm and prolific output make for an involving tale. Period interviews, drawings, adverts and exhaustive race listings break up the detailed text, which concludes with the Gordini name on Le Mans and Grand Prix winners — but by then the battling privateer was dead. GC
Published by Veloce Publishing,
ISBN 9781 845843175, £55

Beyond injury, achieving the extraordinary

Regular readers of the magazine will know about Race2Recovery’s mission, which involved a team of volunteers and injured servicemen taking on “an impossible dream”: raising money and awareness for military charities by competing in the Dakar Rally.

I was lucky enough to accompany them on one of their training trips to the sand dunes of Morocco and saw first-hand what the team had to endure overcoming even the simplest of tasks. It was an amazing feat of determination that saw one of the four Wildcats making the finish of the rally in Santiago.

This is their story from the first seeds of an idea to the final remarkable completion of the Dakar in 2013. EF
Published by Haynes Publishing,
ISBN 978 85 733 380 3, £17.99

History’s greatest automotive mysteries, myths and rumors revealed
Preston Lerner and Matt Stone

If you have even a passing interest in automotive history, this book should make an entertaining casual read. It’s not heavyweight stuff, but each subject is approached with care and attention to detail. And honestly, who isn’t tickled by the thought of Clyde Barrow writing to Henry Ford, praising his new V8?

On the racing side, the 1933 Tripoli Grand Prix conspiracy theory, Mike Hawthorn’s culpability at Le Mans in ’55 and the story of the only monkey to win a NAS CAR race all get due time under the microscope. While Lerner and Stone don’t throw up any revelations, there are no attempts to sensationalise. The stories are well told, fun and allowed to speak for themselves. ACH
Published by Plotorbooks,
ISBN 978 7603 42602, £16.99

Sports Car Racing in the South
Texas to Florida 1959-1960

Willem Oosthoek

Specific? It sure is. But as specialist eras go, this proves a rich seam to mine.

Serial Maserati author Oosthoek presents the second of three volumes investigating an era when all manner of European exotica could be discovered pounding around a range of now long-forgotten airfield tracks across the southern states of the USA.

Say Fort Sumner, I think Billy the Kid. What about Muskogee, Oklahoma? It’s got to be Merle Haggard. But instead we find Ferrari 250TR5, Lister-Chevys and Hap Sharp in a beaten up Cooper-Maserati. The incongruity of such cars set against large-scale flat American backdrops is fascinating.

Most of the best pictures were taken by Bob Jackson, a photographer who won a Pulitzer Prize for his image of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. Turns out Lloyd Ruby was actually more his thing.

Jackson’s shots of Carroll Shelby in his workshop preparing a beautiful 570S are a treat — and a youthful Jim Hall seems to crop up on every other page.

Some images sourced from elsewhere have been used at sizes beyond their quality, but the depth of detail is always impressive. And as befits a book of this price, it all comes complete in the inevitable glossy slip-case. DS
Published by Dalton Watson Fine Books,
ISBN 9781 85443 257 5, £95