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Jim Clark – The best of the best

David Tremayne

There have been many fine Clark books over time – the pick of them perhaps the Graham Gauld/McKlein co-production that appeared four years ago. With the arrival of David Tremayne’s biographical epic, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the great Scot’s passing, that fine tome has met its match. This, too, is superb.

Readers of long standing might recall the author’s 25th anniversary Clark feature in the April 1993 edition of Motor Sport, wherein he spoke to many of those who had known Clark best. This incorporates more of the same, but on a much grander, more lavish scale. The double world champion’s story – personal and sporting – is recounted in great detail and production standards, as ever with EVRO, are from the top drawer. The accompanying photographs are also, for the most part, exquisite (an LAT shot of Clark balancing an Aston DB4 GT Zagato at Goodwood, page 112, is almost enough on its own to justify the cover price). There are poignant contributions from contemporaries such as Kurt Ahrens and AJ Foyt, while Dario Franchitti provides a touching, eloquent foreword – a hint that he could turn his hand to writing, if ever he tired of being paid rather more handsomely for doing other stuff. Essential, in a word. SA

Published by EVRO
ISBN: 978-1-910505-16-8, £80

The Kellner Affair – Man of Speed

Peter M Larsen & Ben Erickson

This is not just a car book. It’s the story of several key figures in the coachbuilding business executed by the Germans in 1942 for their resistance activities. Like their previous work on Saoutchik this huge book is steeped with background, including shocking photos of Nazi atrocities, but also packed with information about the glamorous trade of clothing luxury cars in the 1930s. The aerodynamics section is eye-opening, packed with designs I’ve not seen before – including some by Andreau, Paulin and Figoni – but while the focus is on Jacques Kellner and the fabulous cars from his atelier, it’s a much wider tale of friendships, patriotism, treachery and war.

Kellner and the others paid the final price for their secret resistance, and Vols 1 and 2 cover this in extraordinary detail. There are also revelations about Walter Sleator, Rolls-Royce agent in Paris. Only in Vol 3 are Kellner’s designs reviewed, illustrating the coachwork with staggering research, period photos, drawings, brochures and letters. A chassis plate on the slip case emphasises the supreme production quality. Indulgent, maybe, but a tour de force of research. GC

Published by Dalton Watson
ISBN: 978-185443-291-8, £329

Ford GT40 – The autobiography of 1075

Ray Hutton

Calling this simply a history of  Ford GT40 chassis 1075, one of the most famous of them all, would do it  quite some disservice. 

In fact, this is far more and covers much of the GT40 model’s illustrious history. Given the intricate detail that’s to come, it can at times feel that  some important moments of the GT40’s pre-1075 history are glossed over (the earlier Le Mans wins,  for instance).

Once 1075 has rolled out of Ford and into the hands of JW Automotive, the author’s appetite for detail ramps up a notch: from its build to a BOAC 1000Kms victory and, the crowning glory, Jacky Ickx’s incredible run to victory (by 120 metres!) with Jackie Oliver at Le Mans in 1969. 

Hutton has done a sterling job  trawling photographic archives, too, and his efforts have produced a wonderful collection of rare shots, famous images and others that are worthy of lengthy study – not least the black and white photo of a bemused Oliver and Ickx enveloped by crowds, having just signed the GT40 off with its greatest victory. JP

Published by Porter Press
ISBN: 978-1-907085-68-0, £60

A Passion for Speed

Paul Smiddy

I thought I knew a bit about Mrs Victor Bruce, but this biography shines new light on an amazing life. Obsessed with speed from youth (her first run-in with the police was at age 15), Mildred seemed well matched with the equally petrol-headed Victor Bruce. They shared racing and rally triumphs, toured to Sweden and Sicily, set endurance records at Montlhéry and in powerboats. Buying an aeroplane on a whim Mildred went solo in a few days and set off round the world. Timid she was not. For that flight she had to choose between her Dictaphone or her parachute. She dumped the parachute, so the book offers first-hand memories of arduous flying, capture by brigands and crashes as well as racing, her unconventional love life and business career. Smiddy rightly calls her a female buccaneer, yet she was no tom-boy – she always wore pearls under her flying coat. What a gal. GC

Published by The History Press
ISBN: 978-0-750983-66-2, £14.99 

Enzo Ferrari

Luca Dal Monte

The publisher claims this to be the only biography that captures the full scope of Enzo Ferrari’s life – and there is no mistaking its intensity. It was first published in Italian, when it sold well, and the author subsequently did his own translation – an opportunity to fine-tune the original text.

There are relatively few photographs: the bulk of the content comprises more than 900 pages of text, text and more text (the design is redolent of a 1963 copy of Motor Sport). As well as the enduring car story, there is much fascinating insight into the many other sides of Ferrari, including the one who harboured Polish fugitives and kept them safe during the war.

This is an incredibly thorough bit of work about a highly complex individual. Recommended, but perhaps not for a single sitting. SA

Published by David Bull
ISBN: 978-1-935007-28-9, £35

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