Book reviews, March 1982, March 1982

“Ferrari — Catalogue Raisonne. 1946-1981” Edited by Augusto Costantino, two volumes, 485 pp. 11¼” x 9½“ (Albion Scott Ltd., Bercourt House, York Road, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 0QP. £69.50)

If you can afford a Ferrari you can also afford an expensive house or mansion, a demanding wife or mistress, and if you decide you want to have this latest Italian Ferrari “catalogue” in addition, you will pay dearly, too. It comes in two volumes. In a single sleeve, and is not quite so extensive as the page numbering suggests, as it is in three languages, English, Italian and German. There are many illustrations including fine colour plates, commencing with Enzo Ferrari’s Alfa Romeo days.

This two-part “catalogue” can be said to carry on where the history of the Alfa Romeo period of Ferrari’s competition activities left off, and which are so well covered in “Scuderia Ferrari”, reviewed last month. The first volume contains an introduction to Ferrari-the-Man, after which the separate chapters deal with the Ferrari designers, coachbuilders who have put bodywork on the illustrious productions of Maranello, and the racing drivers who have sat in their cockpits, from Cliff Allison to Luigi Villoresi, concluding with a roll-of-honour to those who lost their lives in Ferraris. There is also a tabular list of those who drove under the prancing-horse banner from 1947 to 1981 and some tabulated results achieved by them, but confined to outright wins. There are also some rather lurid double-spread colour-drawings of race scenes, and the book’s text tends to be in the popular idiom, e.g., “monstrous fireballs” to describe the bigger of the pre-war Grand Prix racing cars, etc.

The second volume is the technical one, classifying 93 Ferraris, from the Tipo 125S to the Mondial S. in chronological order, the racing cars mixed with the sports/racing and road-going Ferraris, with specifications, short descriptions, many photographs, drawings, power-curves, etc., and with engine data separately tabulated. It is inevitable that much if not all of this technical information has appeared previously, in other Ferrari books of which the titles are legion, but it is useful to have it all together between four covers, so this coffee-table Ferrari offering should appeal to many of those who run these fabulous motor cars. — W.B.

“Home James — The Chauffeur in the Golden Age of Motoring” by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and Patrick Macnaughten. 177 pp. 9½” x 6¼”. (Weidenfeld & Nicholson Ltd.. 91, Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7TA. £9.50)

his is the long-promised book about chauffeurs for which Lord Montagu began collecting material a considerable time ago and to which more than 1,000 chauffeurs, employees of chauffeurs or descendants of both have contributed. The result should have been extremely satisfying. But although the book provided by Lord Montagu and his co-author will no doubt be regarded as the standard work on the subject, it is clearly aimed at a general readership and lacks the depth to interest the more knowledgeable and avid motoring enthusiasts. So that we may be so bold as to suggest that they may have preferred Motor Sport’s “Chauffeur’s Corner”-series, wherein each driver was remembered separately in some detail and the cars he drove more fully described – and this seems the place to remark that, if anyone knows of any more retired chauffeurs who drove in the 1920s and 1930s, we would be glad to hear of them, with a view to reviving the series…

“Home James” certainly covers almost every facet of chauffeuring and is sprinkled with entertaining and amusing anecdotes, some of them rather improbable. There are many revelations about chauffeurs that the historian / enthusiast will be glad to read of. But mostly the book is more a summary of what this calling was like, from the earliest days onwards. Individual chauffeurs and the cars they drove get scant mention, or certainly less than we had expected and would have appreciated. Some of the well-produced photographs do show named chauffeurs with their masters’ cars, but other pictures are mere makeweight.

However, some chauffeurs employed by famous people are named, including those who served the Montagus. The Introduction is by Barbara Cartland, who got us off on the wrong foot by saying that she organised the first ladies’ race at Brooklands. won by Princess Averil Imeretinsky in a supercharged MG Midget”, and that Glen Kidston was killed while piloting the aeroplane from which the multi-millionaire Alfred Lowenstein fell to his death over the Channel, which is nonsense…

That this book is aimed at the popular market can be gauged by its chapter headings, such as “Chuff Chuff”, “Start up, James”, and so on, but credit must be given to the authors for remembering to include every facet of chauffeuring, even to chauffeurs in books, plays and films. It is surprising, however, that when dealing with chauffeurs in books the classic examples in C. N. and A.M. Williamson’s “The Lightning Conductor” are omitted – chauffeurs abound in this splendid farce which, had it been filmed, would surely have been at least as memorable as “Genevieve”. And what of Dr. Watson acting as Sherlock Holmes’ chauffeur in the Model-T Ford in the great Detective’s last case? There is a good deal about Royal chauffeuring, much of it about Stamper and the Royal Daimlers before the first World War, but also concerning the Prince of Wales’ driver at the time of the abdication, with the Buick but this is all rather overshadowed by the more detailed writing in Brian Smith’s book on the “Royal Daimlers.”

There am some worthwhile lines about the Rolls-Royce Chauffeurs’ School and the fact that the Daimler School did not open until much later, in 1929, and was a mere four-days’ course. Another pleasing part of the book is the dust-jacket, with a fine study of an Edwardian chauffeur on its back cover and a reproduction of an impressive Armstrong Siddeley advertisement for the front cover.

As I have said, there are many anecdotes in this book, such as the one, twice repeated, of the Dutchess who asked her chauffeur’s name. “James, Your Grace”, was the reply. “Christian name or surname?” “Christian name, Your Grace” “I always call my servants by their surnames. What is your’s?” “Darling, Your Grace”. “Home James”. Some of the stories seem a trifle contrived, like those about urine pots and jars, or the one about one of the leading Czech racing-drivers, Prince George Christian Lobkowick, and his chauffeur Vaclav Pecka (who remind me of Rodney Walkerley’s fictitious motor-racing characters, such as “Odol Paraffini,” and Nevil Lloyd’s invention of “Count Nittwitz, that dud Czech” and “Sonia Anyetzofa”) who engaged in a race home in two Bugattis, one of which, a Type 43, was a present for the Princess, which they had collected from Prague. The high speed caused the Type 43 to wilt and the entire night had to be spent in reviving it – we must leave to Hugh Conway what they would have had to do to the over-driven engine, in the Royal garage…

For the general reader “Home James” is an all-embracing book on its subject, even to comments on chauffeurs’ livery, their wages, the tricks they got up to, not all of them honest, how they washed cars and the conditions under which they worked, etc. It is just that I do not think it will appeal particularly to Motor Sport readers. Sometimes one comes upon a motoring book intended for general reading that comes off – notably as with “A Passion For Cars” by Anthony Giggs (David & Charles, 1974), which should be read by members of Clubs associated with Rolls-Royces, Daimlers, and even Goggomobils, etc., if they can get hold of a copy. I am not certain that the same can be said of “Home James”. — W.B.

“Land Rover – The Unbeatable 4 x 4” by K. & J. Slavin and G. Mackie. 256 pp. 9¾” x 6¾”. (Gentry Books Ltd., 15, Pont Street, London, SW1X 9EH. £10.95).

Graham Robson has already given us a very all-embracing book about the inimitable Land Rover, but those who love this 4 x 4 dearly — and there are many active Clubs for them — will presumably not be averse to reading another. This new book is by the Stamina, who export Land-Rovers all over the World, having used them for African and other expeditions, and who have formed Quest-80s Limited, and by George Mackie of Rover’s, who also built the fourteen Marauder sports-cars based on Rover components. So it has authority. lees also very full in its coverage of all versions of the vehicle, up to the Range-Rover, with the bulk of it about the work of the Land-Rover Special Projects Department, where Mackie worked until his retirement last year.

The book contains also a great many good pictures, including colour-plates. — W.B.

“The Post-War Rover: P4 and P5” by James L. Taylor. 136 pp. 8″ x 5½”. (P4 Spares, 60, Woodville Road, London, NW11 9TN. £4.50+75p packing and postage).

I used to think that it might be fun to have a motor-business specialising in the older P4 and P5 “auntie” Rovers, when these were reasonably-priced substitutes for new executive cars, but that as outwardly all P4s are so similar, would be desirable to publish a booklet for potential customers, explaining the differences under the bonnets and body-shells. This is use what this very all-embracing soft-cover book is, only much more so. It will be found not only useful reading for Rover owners but should increase their pride in these older cars from Solihull. Dr. Taylor has gone-to-town with a vengeance on the subject, Thus, his book is absolutely packed with data about all the P4 and P5 Rovers, from the 1949 Rover 75 “Cyclops” model to the vee-eight 3½-litre P5. More than that, all sons of data, specifications, performance figures, prices, chassis numbers and commission numbers, etc figure in this useful work, and the development story of each model is told in detail, the text hacked up by many excellent, clear pictures, for the book is on an-paper.

This is followed by an Owners’ Guide, about how to recognise the different models — 60, 75, 80, 90, 95, 100, 105R, 105S and 110 P4s and the Mks I to III and Series A and B P5s — their performance, colours, how to choose a good one, modifications and conversions, even the miniatures of them that could enhance the sideboard… The book does not stop there! It includes rare types, such as the “Cyclops” drop-heads and the Farina-bodied P4s, and has Appendices on the gas-turbine Rovers, the 3-litre convertibles and estate-cars, even on the 3-litre Rover rally-cars of 1962-64, all illustrated. Five pages are devoted to George Mackie’s Marauder sports-cars. You can’t ask much more for less than a “fiver”!

If it were not that even good cars quickly rust, this book could well induce all of us to motor about in these older Rovers. My only regret is that Dr. Taylor seems to have by-passed Motor Sport in his Rover researching, and we did do so much enthusing over these Aunts and Great-aunts when they were in production… W.B.

“Fast Lane Summer — North American Road Racing” by Leon Mandel, 96 pp. 7½” x 8¼” (Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. Ltd., Milly Miller’s Lane, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG11 2PY. £12.70, paper cover, £7.60).

This is an account of a season (1980) spent with the Gavin Brown CanAm team, as seen by a technical motoring-writer, following the career of Sullivan in a Lola-Chevrolet. It was first published in California and reads that way. But it should make good holiday-reading, perhaps between bouts of European F1 racing, and it has many very good Baron Wolman colour illustrations. The Foreword is by Mario Andretti. W.B.

“FIA Year Book of Automobile Sport 1982 Edition” 896 pp., 5¼” x 4¼”. (Patrick Stephens Ltd., Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB3 8EL. £11.95)

With the new 1982 edition, the “FIA Year Book of Automobile Sport” celebrates its 15th birthday. It has been completely restyled and reset, including a new cover design, and has more pages – 896 in all. All the regular features are included in this, the official handbook of World competition motoring, published in association with the FIA. The book features pictures of leading drivers and the 1981 FIA Championship winners; illustrated technical details of the year’s most successful competition cars, the 1982 homologation list, the full texts of the International Sporting Code (including Appendices H, J, K, L and M), current circuit safety criteria, and the full 1982 FIA Championship Regulations, Also included are details and maps of the World’s major racing circuits and hill-climb courses, the indispensable “blue directory” of names and addresses, the 1982 International Sporting Calendar (in easy-to-follow two-colour style), names and addresses of clubs organising FIA events, and 1981 FIA Championship results-tables. — W.B.

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The sixth “Motoring History Book of the South Australian Sporting Car Club” has appeared, consisting of a collection of photographs of 1898-1918, edited, as were the preceding books in the series, by George Brooks, which is a guarantee of authenticity. At one time we in this country were inclined to be insular, not bothering much about what had happened in other parts of the World. But that has changed, and with the increasing scarcity of historic photograph, this is just as well, while Australians should find this 56-page (10¾” x 8½”) picture book quite enthralling, as the, try to Identity backgrounds against which the cars were photographed, etc. We see George Brooks, presumably the editor’s father, with his curved-dash Oldsmobile, fitted with solid rear tyres, Mlle. Serpollet demonstrating a Gladiator motor-tricycle in Adelaide in 1898, a 1903 meet of the South Australian Automobile & MCC, a 1908 60 h.p. Napier with the chauffeur who came from England to help the new owner, several Nagent-Hobsons, including one that was driven from to Melbourne in 1912, a great many Model-T Fords naturally, incidents that happened to a Prince Henry Vauxhall exuberantly driven by Mr. Wurst, a rare Cuttings tourer, a Lancia and a Rolls-Royce owned by the Angus family circa 1910, the Ford used by the famous Francois Birtles M 1915, and many other interesting things, in a total of 55 pictures, some from obviously very old prints.

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Continuing the publishing side of its business. the AA has brought onto book, full of colour and other pictures, about “Driving Emergencies — How To Cope”, which may not tell Motor Sport readers anything they don’t already know, but which might be useful for their wives and girl-friends. It sells for £2.95, or for £3.35 by post.

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Yet another book about “How To Collect And Restore Pre-WWI Cars” has appeared, this one by Orest Lazaowich, available from Albion Scott Ltd. for £4.95. — W.B.

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Excellent value for those who indulge in continental motoring is Collins’ Road Atlas of Europe in matching format to their best-selling Road Atlas of Britain. The Europe Atlas contains 60 pages of maps, mainly at 16 miles to the inch, together with over 20 pages of city plans. The index lists 39,000 places. The maps themselves are based on work by Hallwag AG of Bern and are clear to read except in areas of dense population where attempts to show too much detail for the scale make strict concentration necessary to follow a chosen route. Collins claim this to be the first large-format European road atlas – with maps at 16 miles to one inch, a cross-country journey of some 350 miles can be undertaken without having to turn a page. Ideal for the continental salesman and armchair traveller alike at £4.95.

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The RAC’s 1982 Guide and Handbook, containing over 600 pages of valuable information for the UK traveller, is now available at £4.50. Street plans appear in the Gazetteer opposite the entry for the appropriate town, rather than being tucked away in a separate section, and the maps in the centre of the book seem rather clearer than previous editions. We hope the printers managed to get the covers the right way up on everyone else’s copy…

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Transport enthusiasts are decidedly fortunate when it comes to books relating to the history of ‘bus companies and the like, for accurate records are often made available to researching authors, which is scarcely the case when the motor-racing past is being investigated. In this respect we have referred frequently to the excellent books published by The Transport Publishing Co. of 22, Longmore Road, Simmondley, Glossop, Derbyshire, and their latest, “North Western” – Volume 2, illustrates the enormous amount of detail Eric Ogden (actually the Rev. Ogden, who is a priest of the Church of England, Assistant Accountant at Manchester University, and an honorary curate of Lydgate in the Diocese of Manchester, has been able to uncover in this 153-page (8¼” x 9½”) book, which costs £12 post free, or £10, with £1 for postage, in card-covers. Not only are there masses of very fine pictures – I liked especially the one of a Leyland T54 coach passing through Harewood in 1934, with a Singer Junior saloon picking up a lady at a deserted roadside corner and other ‘buses and what looks like a Model-A Ford saloon in the background, and that of a Bristol L-type six-wheeled single-decker emerging from a bridge under the Bridgewater canal near Durham Waterhouses, which it just about fills. The photographs have reproduced so well that people who were young when they were taken may well be able to recognise themselves, as, to give but one instance, in the fine photograph of Blackpool Bus Station taken on August Bank Holiday 1932. Those are only some of the gems, and there are a few colour-shots into the bargain.

Even the tow-vehicles used by “North Western,” and the 1925 Morris-Cowley two-seater, their Morris Ten vans, and the 8 cwt. Commers used by them are illustrated, and as ‘buses last a long time, some quite early ones figure in Volume 2 of this absorbing history, which, to make my opening point, even has details of fuel consumptions, Inspectors’ reports (some very amusing), route-numbers, even to school services, route-maps, fleet-lists, code-references, destination-layouts, old company advertisements, passenger-information, etc. – a model history of a great ‘bus company. — W.B.

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Haynes of Yeovil have brought out “Porsches For The Road” by Henry Rasmussen in a UK edition of Motorbooks International’s title in their “The Survivors Series”. There has been Porsche history aplenty and this one, containing 11 of Rasmussen’s own colour plates and 150 b.&w. prints, is in the “with-it” idiom. But for those who most have all, here is yet another Porsche offering, priced at £19.95. — W.B.