“A.B.C. of British Cars,” by John Dudley. 72 pp. 4 in. by 6 in. (Ian Allen, Ltd., Craven House, Hampton Court. 2s.)
This is a useful annual reference work to the cars of the British motor industry, having the merit of being inexpensive and of pocket size. It covers only British cars, however, not cars available on the British market, and thus Citroen, for instance, is omitted. A list of prices would be useful, too, for it is necessary to flick from page to page to compare prices of different makes. Illustrated with makers’ hand-out pictures, one of almost every model available, the book provides a brief description of each make followed by a tabulated specification covering engine size, b.h.p., wheelbase, track, length, width, turning circle and U.K. prices.
John Dudley attempts simple performance figures for m.p.g. and speed but appears to have employed manufacturers’ data, the Ford Anglia and Prefect, for example, being credited with “a petrol consumption, at cruising speeds, of about 45 m.p.g.,” whereas we only obtain about 30 m.p.g. from these cars—it all depends on what you mean by cruising speed, of course. In the same way, speeds quoted sometimes seem optimistic— for example, some 120 m.p.h. for the Aston Martin DB2/4, 110 m.p.h. for the Jensen 541, in excess of 100 m.p.h. for the Swallow Doretti. over 100 m.p.h. for the Triumph TR2, and in excess of 110 m.p.h. for the normal Austin Healey Hundred—again, it all depends on what is meant by “top speed.”
The book is indexed, concludes with a list of registration letters and the places they refer to and another list for identification of international plaques, and is a pleasing thing to scan when a new car is in prospect.—W. B.