The Legends of Motorsport, by Dave Friedman

The Legends of Motorsport, by Dave Friedman. MRI Publishing*. 336pp, $150 or special edition, leatherbound, boxed and personally autographed by 22 legendary drivers, $500.

'To all of the people who helped make this period of racing so special'. Thus reads photographer Dave Friedman's dedication to a work of art guaranteed to delight all true enthusiasts. The concept is devastatingly simple. Friedman has selected 414 of his classic black and white photographs of motorsport in some of the greatest eras: Formula One (1960 to 1972); Sportscars (1958 to 1973); Trans Am and Stock Cars (1962 to 1972); and Championship [Indy] Cars (1961 to 1969).

The images are brilliant, backed by moving forewords from racers Dan Gurney and John Surtees, and respected writers Eoin Young and Nigel Roebuck. "There are a lot of people I remember from those days, too many that have been a long time gone," says Dan. "This book brings a lot of them back."

The photographs vary in subject, but never in quality. There are portraits and action shots, and all of them speak volumes. Look at the photo on page 166, and you see why Gurney said of Parnelli Jones: "He used to broadcast intimidation just by walking around (heck, he's still that way)."

All of the good guys are here: Andretti, Amon, Clark, Follmer, Gurney, Hall, both champion Hills, Hobbs, Hulme, Ireland, Jones, Moss, Stewart, Surtees, Ward. The past comes startingly alive, complemented by erudite captions that add perspective and knowledge. See how drained Gurney is after winning the Green Valley Trans Am race by a hair from Jones; Roger Penske lugging his own wheels in his team's early days; Foyt sideways on the dirt in his sprintcar; ditto tragic Bobby Marshman; Peter Revson lunging for Sam Posey's throat after a Riverside Trans Am encounter.

It's a superb book, redolent of a time when the best drivers usually won, when technology was in its infancy and when sportsmanship was king. It's also beautifully produced. It's the sport the way the characters who survived remember it, the way it deserves to be remembered. It's quite possibly the best photographic book ever compiled on motorsport. A wonderful, emotive joy to drool over. $150 is nothing, just the down payment for a priceless, glorious, golden ride into yesteryear.

D J T

* 1 245 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 903, Los Angeles, CA 900 I 7, United States. telephone and fax orders for VISA only 0101 21 3 250 1345. International shipping, sea or air mail rates on request.