Book Reviews, May 1953, May 1953

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The Motor Year Book, 1953. Compiled by Laurence Pomeroy, M.S.A.E., and R. I. de Burgh Walkerley (Temple Press, Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, E.C.1.   206 pp., 7-1/2 in. by 10 in.  15s.).

This annual is ever-welcome, constituting as it does both pleasant reading and an invaluable reference to new models, world trends, road-tests, racing and competition cars and results, etc. It is beautifully illustrated, not forgetting “Brockbanks of the Year” and very nicely produced. It sells out very quickly and has been out since March 27th, so go and get it !  –W.B,

***

The Motor Cycle Year Book, 1953. Compiled by Peter Chamberlain and the staff of Motor Cycling (Temple Press, Ltd.. Bowling Green Lane, E.C. 1.  188 pp., 5-1/2 in. by 9 in., 8s. 6d.)

Companion to The Motor Year Book, this is an equally valuable work of reference in its own field. It naturally deals with all the current motorcycles, scooters and autobikes included, and gives road-test findings, but I am impressed by the space devoted to the Sport  —  straw in the wind of current motorcycle interests. I am even more impressed to read that the Speedway Cup Final at Wembley attracts a crowd of 95,000, or nearly as many persons as our British Grand Prix for instance  — yet I have never felt any desire to see such a contest since the present Editor of Auto Course used to lure me there by means of free tickets some years before the war. This book is useful for reference and should be read by motorists who are sufficiently broad-minded to wish to see how the other half of the world motors. I like the way in which the Sport is neatly subdivided into chapters on racing design, racing at home, racing abroad, the 1952 Road Racing Championships, records and record-breaking trials, six-day dittos, scrambles and moto cross, and speedway  —  W. B.

***

Formula II   by Gregor Grant (G. T. Foulis & Co., Ltd.. 7, Milford Lane, W.C.2.   128 pp,  5-1/2 in. by 8-1/2  in.  12s. 6d.).

This little history of the Formula II movement, dedicated to John Heath and George Abecassis, appears at a moment both appropriate and inappropriate   —  the former because of the prevailing interest in the unhlown 2-litres, the latter because after this year the new Formula I will tone down Formula ll efforts, which is when a full history could have been compiled.

Those who live in the present will enjoy this breezily written book. It is illustrated with photographs of most of the better-known F2 cars, and there is a rare drawing of the BMW engine designed by Ernest Loof for the 1952 Veritas.  —  W. B.

There  are a number of unfortunate discrepancies which undermine the value of this book as a work of reference. For instance, under “Gordini”  there is no reference to Behra’s third place in the last Swiss G.P.,  and the car’s front suspension is given as oil-damped helical springs on page 77,  but correctly as torsion-bar in the picture on page 90. The Osca is described as resembling a 1952 H.W.M., but really is like a 1951 version,  the Ferrari written of on page 66 was four, not five, speed, and the 1952 Alta does not have a de Dion rear-end. The roadholding of the Cooper-Bristol is repeatedly described as superb, which is open to question, the B.M.W. is said to have originated 18 years ago in one place, 16 years ago in another, Horace Richards appears as Horace Roberts and there is a good deal of repetition. But for a fascinating introduction to Formula ll with plenty or good pictures, this is the job.

***

1953 Guide du pneu Michelin  (883 pp., 4 in. by 7-1/2 in., 20s.)

This indispensable companion on the tour abroad is available in current revised form from the better bookshops, the R.A.C. and A.A., or direct from Seymour Press, Ltd., 283, Vauxhall Bridge Road. S.W.1.  You cannot afford to sail or  “Silver City” without it !

***

1953 B.A.R.C. Year Book (B.A.R.C., 55, Park Lane, W.1, 184 pp., 5-1/2 in. by 8-1/2 in., 5s.).

This is a welcome reintroduction of the former Brooklands Year Book, which came out in 1913 and 1914, then regularly from 1924 up to the outbreak of war. The new edition has a more lurid cover, costs five times the price, but is packed with useful information and articles. H. J. Morgan and Prof. A. M. Low write of early Club history, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon about how Goodwood was built. W. Boddy recalls memorable occasions at Goodwood, P. J. Calvert covers scrutineering, Major A. L. Ebblewhite the time-keeping and handicapping, Stanley Sedgwick writes about the score-board, Gregor Grant recalls the 500-c.c. races at Goodwood, and so on.  Then there is much data on Goodwood racing, including results of all the car races held there and of other B.A.R.C. races as well (but no individual lap speeds such as used to be a feature of the Brooklands Year Book), diagrams of Continental circuits and the best routes to them from England, the National and International fixture lists, summary of racing rules, calendars, details of B.A.R.C. local centre events, International racing colours and much else besides.

We put this suggestion of a revival of the B.A.R.C. Year Book to John Morgan and we wish it well. It is certainly a very good dollar’s worth.  —  W.B.

***

A.B.C. of British Motor Cycles by John Dudley (Ian Allen, Ltd., Craven House, Hampton Court, Surrey. 65 pp., 4 in. by 6 in., 2s.).

This is a very nicely-produced and illustrated directory of all the motor cycles and tricars at present on the British market, with notes on how they may be identified. There are also lists of registration numbers with the places to which they apply and details of a game anyone can play by looking out for numbers on passing vehicles. Again good value!.  —  W. B.