Oh Dear! Department

The fascination, surely, of driving an interesting car you have not previously tried, of watching a motor race, or any other competitive event for that matter, of going out with a girl, is the anticipation of seeing what will happen. I get this feeling on opening each new issue of Motor Sport for the first time — wondering what errors I may find! These slip ups are of three kinds. First my own, unspotted by the assistant editor. Secondly, mistakes unfortunately not eradicated during proof-reading. Thirdly, printing errors, with computers and tapes, on the pages themselves. Last month we had several examples. I apologise to “Woolley” Worters for rendering his surname correctly five times, but once as “Waters”, on page 179, for which I take the blame. Then we had a “1904” Austin 7 on page 174, when I had written “1934” and a “DHd” aeroplane on page 180, which should have been a DH6. What I find it hard to forgive is “Rolls-Royce Silver Sprite” on page 166, when I had correctly described the new Rolls-Royce of which I was writing as a Silver Spirit. This was doubly unfortunate because I had just said I did not know the type-name of this latest Rolls-Royce until I arrived at Crewe to go out in it. But I was then told it was to be “Silver Spirit” and wrote the name correctly. Anyone who paused to contemplate the dignity of a modern Rolls-Royce might have thought “Sprite” a rather stupid name for such a car. Then in A.H.’s article about “Fathers, Sons and Brothers” the Maybach engine in Jones’ special was a tank engine of 4.9-litres, not an aeroplane engine. Even when surrounded by ingenious and “infallible” computers it is apparently impossible to prevent these errors from creeping in. However, I take consolation from the knowledge that in 1943 James Agate, to whom I have referred in “Cars in Books”. said in his book “Ego 5” that his copy would be read by the printer, the publishers’ editorial staff, by himself, by his secretary and a friend, by his brother, yet he expected to find it teeming — “perhaps ‘teaming’ ” — with mistakes of all kinds, so that after a cursory reading of the first copies of another new book he was delighted to find only one misprint. — W.B.