By Griffith Williams. 80 pp., 11.1/2. in. 8 in. (Christopher Davies Ltd.„ Rawlings Road, Llandybie, Cams. No price quoted.)
It is said that a little knowledge is dangerous. Whether this book, about speed records on Pendine sands by an author who was born in Pendine village, suffers from this, or was treated as just a pot-boiler for the young in which accuracy doesn’t matter, it suffers from such, and to mislead the young is unfortunate. Although a fictional work, the cars and characters are real enough, and the pictures, although mostly old-chestnuts, are reproduced large. So it is a pity that the record-car “Djelmo” is rendered everywhere as “Ojelmo”, that it is said to have been equipped with a driver’s door through which its driver, Foresti, stepped out after it had overturned (in fact it hadn’t and he was thrown out) and, worst of all, that in seeking to heighten the drama, a picture captioned as showing Parry Thomas being killed in “Babs” is actually of Foresti being flung from the overturning “Dielmo”. No-one ever saw, far less photographed, “Babs” crash.
The book concludes with some non-motoring pictures of the Pendine area. If the author was present at the many record attacks and remembers more, and more accurately, than he shows in this children’s book, we would welcome more from hint. If not, not!—W.B.
“Profile No. 12” is to hand, two months late. It covers the Rolls-Royce Phantom II and the author is George Oliver. One review I read said it contains nothing new, but if this is so, I must have known all too little about this model of Rolls-Royce previously! For me, Oliver is very informative, about technical changes during the 1929 to 1935 lifespan of the Phantom II. He contrives to pack a great deal into this 50p soft-cover offering, has remembered to write from the American angle, and explains how the big six-cylinder R-R model compared with contemporary cars, how it differed from the New Phantom, how it was developed and what were its current and subsequent shortcomings. Fact is related to a number of gushing quotes from the contemporary Rolls-Royce catalogue, although it might have been fairer to RollsRoyce Ltd. to have explained at the beginning of them that these quotes were the opinion of Wilfred Gordon Aston, whom R-R had commissioned to compile the catalogue, a fact which is evident to the uninitiated only at the end. However, this is an interesting approach and it shows that Editor Harding is not controlling his authors’ style as strictly as he once threatened to do.
George Oliver packs so much in that not only is the reader very conversant with this breed of Rolls-Royce by the time he has put this profile down, but he will have been transported back to the age of great, meticulously-made luxury motor cars, an age that, alas, will never return. And also been ably reminded of just how meticulous Rolls-Royce were, even to the oil-servo for aiding the ignition advance, etc. One technical item poses a query even for the knowledgeable Oliver, namely, why the Derby engineers swung from water to exhaust heating of the induction manifold over the years, a twist which I shall expect John Oldham to sort out for us in his keenly-anticipated tome on the pre-war Rolls-Royce Ghosts and Phantoms.
The colour plates by Gordon Davies in this profile are of Victor Crabb’s 1933 Phantom II Continental with II. R. Owen cabriolet-deville coachwork built by Barker, a car once in the ownership of the Greek Ambassador to the Court of St. James. There are plenty of other pictures and the cover photograph, depicting another Barker Continental, was, I think, taken in Long Crendon.–W.B.