Daimler Century

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Daimler Century, by Lord Montagu and David BurgessWise. Patrick Stevens, £19.99.

Daimler is our first manufacturer to score a century, and this heavy volume ties in with the company’s current celebratory limited-edition car, the Century. But as you might expect by the two respected names on the title page, the emphasis tends to lie on the earlier years, with some intense new research to illuminate those pioneer days when Frederick Simms was as much a guiding light for Daimler in Cannstadt as for his struggling Motor Syndicate at home. There are interesting pictures and contemporary reports of the various motor launches, trams and fire-engines which used the new benzin motors, as well as reproductions of significant letters — including a congratulatory one Simms sent to himself on completing a deal with the dubious entrepreneur Harry Lawson.

Military and commercial vehicles get their share of coverage, as does the royal connection. and technical gen on sleeve-valve, Double-Six and the V8 engines abounds. Colour plates are restricted to a centre section (the more outrageous Docker cars would have benefited from colour) but there are plenty of mono plates to reinforce this authoritative text. G C

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