“The Grand Prix Car, Volume 11” by Laurence Pomeroy, F.R.S.A., M.S.A.E. 344 pp., 8in. by 11 in. (Motor Racing Publications, Ltd., Distributors, Temple Press Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, E.C.1. 75s.)
When Motor Sport reviewed Volume One of Laurence Pomeroy’s monumental work, “The Grand Prix Car,” we wrote that its appearance was one of the great literary motoring events of 1954. Now, early in 1955, comes the second volume, complementary with the first, bringing the book to the end of the formulae which governed racing up to the end of 1953, together with arguments and statistics based on the Grand Prix cars of last year.
The book abounds in magnificent illustrations, line drawings, sectional engineering plans and splendid full-page photographs. those pictures which illustrate the author’s postscript being amongst the most dramatic motor-racing studies ever collected together.
The first part of this second volume of “The Grand Prix Car” consists of descriptions and specifications of the F.1 and F.2 cars of 1947-1953, such as the Tipo 158 Alfa-Romeo, 4 1/2-litre Ferrari, 2-litre Ferrari, Maserati, Gordini, Connaught, Cooper and H.W.M. cars, not overlooking such projects as the C.T.A. Arsenal, rear-engined fiat-12 Porsche and V16 B.R.M. The 1954 W.I96 Mercedes-Benz is also touched upon. Racing history of the period is also effectively outlined.
The second half of the book reviews racing from 1906 to 1954, stating the relation of maximum to circuit speeds, covering the development of the supercharger, and describing the design changes in every aspect of the racing car down the years. Some of these chapters have appeared in the “Milestones of Speed” series in the Motor but much fresh material has been added. The tables with which the book abounds are quite fabulous. For example, there is a record of the major road races from 1947-1953, a summary of design development from 1900-1953, specifications of all the outstanding G.P. cars from 1906-1953, a table of maximum and relative lap speeds of the fastest cars of 1906-1953 and a list of G.P. cars by nationality and years of entry.
Any librarian dubious of the importance of motor-racing, but ordering these books, is going to revise opinion on receiving them, for Pomeroy’s valued contribution to motor-racing literature is— monumental. To you and me “The Grand Prix Car” is breathtaking in the wealth of absorbing material we can enjoy from the armchair.
The author, in a delightful postscript covering racing conditions down the years and the financial aspect of racing, remarks that the effective working lives of racing-car designers are usually briefer than those of racing drivers. I do not know how the lives of motoring historians and Technical Editors fit in, but I hope devoutly that Laurence Pomeroy will be spared for many decades and that his next volume will cover racing under the prevailing formula, under which we can anticipate an enthralling season.—W. B.