Book reviews, March 1979, March 1979
“Automobile Year 1978/79” Edited by Douglas Armstrong. 249 pp. 12½” x 9½” (Patrick Stephens Ltd., Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB3 8EL. £17.50).
This famous annual, now in its 26th year, is produced by that high-class publisher, Edita of Lusanne, and the English version is available, as above. A truly de luxe approach to recording in word and picture the competition and other motoring events of last year, this edition contains 365 photographs and 82 excellent colour illustrations. The records of 1978 are embellished by articles on other topics, such as a review of the Motor Industry by that specialist Edouard Seidler, a look at how cars may shape in the future by Prof. Hans Scherenberg, late Technical Director of Mercedes-Benz, Philippe de Bardy’s review of mobile homes, and a survey of the latest new cars by Jacques Farenac leavened by a look at old-time motoring accessories and equipment. In addition, if you have been having enough reading about Gerald Wingrove’s car modelling here is a novel touch – Cyril Posthumus, once such a modeller himself, writing about how he sees these miniature automobiles – and Cyril definitely approves. There is also a piece about those ridiculous vehicles constructed to attain 1,000-2,000 or thereabouts m.p.g.
On the racing side we have Pfunder’s profound survey of FIA and CSI races, Dymock telling us about last year’s Grands Prix, Paul Frère on the technicalities of racing’s radial tyres, and a biography of Mario Andretti. And there is an appreciation of Ronnie Peterson. Other competition events such as Le Mans and the World Championship for Makes, the World Rally Championship, European Formula Two, Pike’s Peak, F3, the European Touring Car Championship, and rallycross – they are all there, with the expected tables of 1978 results. The happenings in the Grands Prix are tabulated in much detail. “Automobile Year” is a high-class production and the advertising it carries is up to the standard set. This time it comes from Mercedes-Benz, Renault (pointing to their racing activities), Lancia, Fiat, Goodyear, Lucas, Peugeot, Cibie, Autolite, Michelin (again, pointing to their racing participation) and Mahle, to name only the motoring ones. – W. B.
“A Pride Of Bentleys” by John Adams and Ray Roberts. 224 pp. 12″ x 9½”(New English Library Ltd., Barnard’s Inn, Holborn, London, EC1N 2JR. £19.95). There seem to have been an awful lot of books about Bentleys, one way and another, and still they come. This one is an immense coffee-table tome (no space for the coffee cups), containing some very fine colour photographs indeed, of all the Bentley range, from 3-litre to T2 Crewe model, not forgetting the 4-litre. There are also some pages from the old and recent catalogues and that sort of thing. The book takes after that recent Bugatti pictorial coverage, in that the cars depicted are currently owned and mostly portrayed in modern surroundings. The pictures, largely by Colourviews Ltd. who hold the copyright and have supplied the descriptions of the cars illustrated, are really rather fine, in very bright colour, so it is a pity that some of the big ones are bisected by the folded page. A few competition shots (modern) are included and no doubt every Bentley-boy’s coffee-table will groan with this one. Others may well groan when they get to the price…. – W. B.
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One for the boffins – Mechanical Engineering Publications Ltd., PO Box 24, Northgate Ave., Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP32 6BW have published “Fundamentals of Automotive Engine Balance” by W. Thomson BSc., CEng., MIMech.E, priced at £4.95. It covers engines from twins to V12s, including in-line three- and five-cylinder configurations with diagrams. Another book for the boffins is “Facts On Road Traffic Accidents And Safety Of Automobiles”, being the research into 15,000 car crashes with passenger injury (how depressing) by German Motor Traffic Insurers and published by them in Munich in 1978.
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Geographia Ltd., 63, Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1PE, have brought out a new “Easy-to-Read” Atlas of Great Britain, costing £3.50. Maps, to a scale of 5-miles-to-the-inch, and the Index are very clear but some villages and minor roads have been omitted to accomplish this.
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The 750 MC has again issued its annual Yearbook, containing reports on last season’s Reliant 750 Formula, Formula 1300 and Formula Four and the relevant Championships, the activities of the Austin 7 and Specials Registers, its trials, rallies and other activities, and details of what it has planned for this year, together with all manner of useful information for those who belong to this leading Club in the low-cost motoring sport stakes. This 750 Yearbook isn’t priced and I do not know whether it can be obtained by non-members or even whether any copies are still available. But it might be worthwhile if you want a copy to join the Club, or write to it, or something, mentioning Motor Sport; the General Secretary is David Bradley, 16, Woodstock Road, Witney, Oxon. – W. B.
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Continuing its series of Autocar Special books on one-make themes, consisting of very nicely reproduced articles from that journal, IPC Business Press Ltd., 40, Bowling Green Lane, London, EC1R 0NE, has issued the ninth of these books, edited by Peter Garnier. The subject is Bentley, from 1919 to 1931, an absolutely enthralling portfolio of road-test reports, colour-pictures, drawings, chassis-descriptions, inter-views and photographs, covering all the W. O. Bentley cars from 3-litre to 8-litre, and the short-lived 4-litre. This book represents a rare treat for Bentley enthusiasts, at the modest price of £3.00, the book containing some advertising. It covers the Bentley racing days and a table gives the present whereabouts of the cars illustrated. A pity that the picture of a 6½-litre engine, on page 23, has been printed upside down. – W. B.