Reviews, March 2017

Lola T70

The Racing History & Individual Chassis Record

John Starkey

This is already well known to automotive bibliophiles, having first been published in 1993.
It has since been revised and updated on three occasions – and the most recent edition, from 2008, has now been reissued as a paperback after its progenitor became quite scarce. It is not a particularly easy read, because it has facts leaping out of almost every sentence, but then it is primarily a work of reference. In that context, ‘definitive’ is probably too weak a word. SA

Published by Veloce

ISBN: 978-1-787110-51-9, £35 

The Le Mans Model Collection 1949-2009

Mark Holman

Does anybody make carbon-composite bookcases? There might soon be a market.

This hefty trilogy drips with Porter Press’s hallmark values, with high-quality art paper and crisp reproduction, but one has to wonder about the target audience. In essence, this is little more than a very expensive catalogue of arch collector Claude Nahum’s bewildering collection of 1:43 scale Le Mans models, in this case every single car that started the 24 Hours from the race’s post-war resumption to the end of 2009. That equate to more than 3000 racing miniatures, each photographed from the same three angles, with occasional flourishes of prose to provide sketchy historical context.

It’s not clear whether this was designed primarily as a celebration of the modeller’s art – and most of them are exquisite – but it has greater potential as a comprehensive (though slightly impractical) work of reference. SA

Published by Porter Press for Claude Nahum

ISBNs: 978-1-907085-57-4/58-1/59-8,
£200 for three-book set

Formula 1 Car By Car 1960-69

Peter Higham

And talking of reference books…

This is a fine illustration of the art, assembled by a regular Motor Sport collaborator with a proven track record in the field. If you were to compile a similar volume embracing 2000-2009 it would be rather slimmer, given the absence of variety over each season’s course.

The 1960s were slightly different.

Peter Higham’s latest oeuvre covers each season marque by marque, model by model, team by team and livery by livery. Almost everybody knows how a factory Lotus looked, irrespective of year, but if you want to verify the identity of Carel Godin de Beaufort’s Porsche 718 in 1962, or David Hobb’s F2 Lola-BMW in the 1967 German GP, then look no further.

It’s a book that treats Ecurie Maarsbergen as more than a sporting footnote – and that alone makes it worthy of investigation. SA

Published by EVRO

ISBN: 978-1-910505-18-2, £50

50 Years of the Historic Sports Car Club

Paul Lawrence

The Historic Sports Car Club is one of the UK’s most understated racing institutions, going about its business quietly yet often drawing in some of the finest entries on the domestic calendar. And the racing is frequently among the finest on the planet.

Last year the HSCC created a bit of a stir ere the movement originally started, and Motor Sport contributor Paul Lawrence has now committed the club’s heritage to print. This is a nicely constructed overview that blends straightforward chronology with a series of conversations with HSCC luminaries, past and present, and a full list of champions through to the end of the 2016 season.

The only thing usually missing from HSCC meets is a big crowd, but there’s ample evidence here to show why that shouldn’t be so. SA

Published by TFM

ISBN: 978-1-910079, £30 & £6p&p

The BMW Century

Tony Lewin

BMW’s balancing act of becoming a big seller yet retaining an air of exclusivity is a canny one, and as Lewin shows in this fine work that’s been a long tradition. More than once an economy car has seen the firm through troubled times, while being genetically engineered upward to conform to the firm’s high standards, rooted in aero-engines – viz the Dixi Austin and the Isetta bubble car. But all the while BMW worked on high-grade products too, and this ethos of parallel strands has helped the firm survive and prosper. Lewin takes a similar approach, interlacing small cars, M cars, art cars, bikes etc to good effect, and if the latter years are a bit PR-heavy it’s a good history that taught me much about BMW’s roots, the Quandt factor and how Rover bombed but Mini throve.

Pleasing to discover that three key founder figures were named Rapp, Popp and Friz. If that isn’t a cereal slogan, my name’s not Kellogg. GC

Published by Motorbooks

ISBN: 978-0-7603-5017-1, £35

Peter Falk

33 Years of Porsche

Peter Falk, Wilfried Müller

Peter Falk’s 33 years of Porsche, or 33 years, three months, three weeks and three days, to be more specific, could provide subject for a book far longer than his 405-page effort. Falk’s three decades took him from road test engineer on the original 911 to the company’s most successful motor sport manager; so plenty of anecdotes to call on. Journalist Wilifired Muller adds context and the minutiae around Falk’s own interjections. It’s technical at times. 

The book’s appealing design breaks the meticulous text and recollections well to form a photo-essay-cum-autobiography. It makes full use of the Porsche photo archives and Falk’s own, with McKlein’s most spectacular race shots filling the gaps to build a genuinely intriguing collection. Our own Jenks even crops up,
deep in conversation.

Lines such as ‘Falk is too much of a gentleman to talk publicly about conflicts within the team’, and ‘even in his retirement he remains the master diplomat’ offer an idea of the book’s tone; it’s a celebration above anything else. And a deserving, rewarding, and enlightening celebration it is, too. It’s not absurdly priced, either. JP

Published by McKlein

ISBN: 978-3-927458-87-1, €69.90

Porsche, The Racing 914s

Roy Smith

One’s heart tends to sink when opening a review book package and the word ‘Porsche’ leaps out, given the oceans of ink already given to the topic, but this breaks the mould. Nobody, as far as we’re aware, has previously dedicated a full tome to competitive 914s.

Although they were a relatively rare sight on UK racetracks, they were more commonly seen in mainland Europe and widely used in the States – as emphasised by the number seen nowadays at historic race meetings in America.

Nicely produced, handsomely illustrated (with the odd 911 shot creeping in, obviously) and propped up by a comprehensive results appendix, this is a thorough overview of perhaps the most overlooked of all Porsche racers – a fact reflected by a limited-edition print run of just 1500 copies. SA

Published by Veloce

ISBN: 978-1-845848-59-0, £65