Book Reviews, May 1954, May 1954
“The Motor Year Book,” compiled by Laurence Pomeroy, M.S.A.E.. F.R.S.A., and R. L. de Burgh Walkerley. (Temple Press, Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, E.C.1, 226 pages, 7 1/2 in. by 10 1/4 in., 15s.)
This annual work of reference is eagerly awaited and forms a very useful item in the motoring enthusiasts’ library. The 1954 edition contains descriptions and technical data relating to 24 new British cars, nearly all illustrated with full-page photographs, new Continental and American cars are reviewed and technical changes in them analysed, while on the sporting side the latest racing cars are described and illustrated, their performances discussed relative to one another, while the races of 1953 are covered very fully, with tabulated results, short descriptions and a complete analysis of lap records. Rallies and other events have not been overlooked, drivers’ records for 1953 are included and notes on British circuits are provided.
Road-tests of 1953 are analysed, perhaps not quite so fully as in previous years, and their figures tabulated (a small error here is reference to a Jowett “Javeline”) and the technical matter in the book is enlivened by a selection of cartoons by the inimitable Brockbank. Very useful for reference purposes is the table of specifications of the world’s cars. The obituary section, alas, this time contains nine names — those of Nuvolari (illness), Baird, Boniface, Cole, Currie, Neilson, Tornaeo, Bonetto and Stagnoli, grim reminder of the hazards of present-day motor-racing. The full-page photographic frontispiece is devoted to World Champion Alberto Ascari. — W. B.
“The Motor Manual.” 35th Edition. (Temple Press, Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, E.C.1. 228 pages, 5 in. by 7 1/2 in., 6s.)
This comprehensive, handbook of the modern motor car is invaluable to newcomers to the game who seek an easy explanation of technical mysteries. The book is comprehensively illustrated with photographs and drawings and besides eleven chapters devoted to various parts of the car there are additional chapters on accessories, caravanning, the law as it concerns the motorist, and technical definitions and data.
First published in 1903, this volume has sold 11 million copies. — W. B.
“Motor-Cycling Year Book, 1954.” Edited by the late Peter Chamberlain. (Temple Press, Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, .E.C.1. 196 pages, 5 1/2 in. by 9 in., 8s. 6d.)
For motorists who wish to become an foil with motor-cycling matters this annual reference work is just the job. It covers new machines and developments, the sport in all its many aspects, includes descriptions of the latest racing motor-cycles, fascinatingly illustrated, a review of the 1953 season, a section devoted to personalities of 1953, obituary notices, specification tables, race results. etc.
The full-page photographic frontispiece is devoted to the late Les Graham. — W. B.
“Northumberland,” by Thomas Sharp. A Shell Guide. (Faber & Faber, Ltd., 24, Russell Square, W.C.1. 52 pages, 7 in. by 9 in., 3 maps, 12s. 6d.)
This is another beautifully illustrated Shell guide, devoted to Northumberland, with three coloured, 1/4 in. to the mile maps of this unspoiled county. There is more specialised information in this book than the size suggests and it is beautifully produced. Even so, the price seems high, especially with the Oil Barons backing it. — W. B.
In contrast to the book reviewed above, the National Benzole Company issues free its very attractive “Our National Heritage.” This illustrates, with excellent photographs, 36 well-known beauty spots in the British Isles, with a quick visual map-reference to each. A brief explanation of each photograph is included and this spirally-bound publication, of 37 8 in. by 10 in. pages, is obtainable free from the Publicity Department, National Benzole Co.. Ltd., Wellington House, Buckingham Gate, London, S.W.1. It contains very little advertisement matter and in an age when the aim of every local council seems to be that of cutting down more trees, laying a greater length of unsightly kerb-stone and building more council houses than its neighbours, this book comes as a pleasant relief. — W. B.
“B.A.R.C. Year Book, 1954.” (British Automobile Racing Club, 55, Park Lane, W.1. 64 pages, 5 1/2 in. by 8 1/2 in., 5s.)
This Year Book, now making its second appearance, is a refreshing publication, copiously illustrated and exuding the efficiency and enthusiasm of the B.A.R.C, While it naturally deals mainly with Goodwood, Crystal Palace, and Aintree and the social and competitive activities of the B.A.R.C. and its centres, this Year Book differs from the old Brooklands A.R.C. Year Book, for whereas that publication (of the years 1913, 1914 and 1924-1940 inclusive) dealt only with happenings at Weybridge, the modern B.A.R.C. Year Book provides plans of Continental circuits, details of how to get from England to these distant venues and of the principal races held there, notes on driving in France — in fact, just the sort of information for which we of Motor Sport are frequently asked. One small error has crept in, the length of Montlhèry track being given as 3.8 miles, whereas in deference to Old Brooklands I would point out that it is 1.6 miles.
In addition, the 1953 racing season at Goodwood is reported in word and picture and much useful information about motor-racing such as the rules at Goodwood. R.A.C. regulations governing trials and rallies, tyre regulations, competition licence data, racing driver’s insurance, etc., is included.
The International and National fixture lists for 1954 as they were at the beginning of the season are there for quick reference, complete tabulated Goodwood race results for 1953 are given, there is a list of all drivers who competed at this circuit and the Crystal Palace last year and head-and-shoulder photographs of the leading British drivers, 47 in all, besides pictures of those who serve on the B.A.R.C. committees.
There are also complete articles by H. J. Morgan, Secretary of the B.A.R.C., J. Gordon Offord, W. Boddy, C. D. Wilson and Frank H. Bale, O.B.E.
In the confusing flood of motoring publications, each one clamouring for prior recognition, this 5s. Year Book most certainly must not be overlooked. — W. B.
“Formula III Year Book 1953-1954.” (Pearl, Cooper, Ltd., 2/3, Norfolk Street, W.C.2. 144 pp. 5 1/2 in. by 8 1/2 in. 6s.)
This annual year book about 500-c.c. racing makes its appearance this time as a two-year reference work. It contains much of interest and value, some fine photographs, 1952/3 race results, the 1954 racing calendar, a directory of suppliers of Formula III materials, articles on building a 500-c.c. racing car and contributions by such authorities as Prof. Eberan von Eberhorst, Reg Bicknell, W. Boddy, Don Parker, John Hugenholtz, etc.
C. C. Wakefield and Co., Ltd., have issued their annual photographic booklet “Achievements,” which is devoted to successful users of Castrol oil in motoring (both sports and racing), motor-cycling and flying events all over the world. Last year this famous souvenir of the year’s Sport was not up to the usual standard of production, but “Achievements 1953” returns to former glory. A postcard was included in last month’s Motor Sport on which to order your free copy but if you have not yet done so, just send a normal postcard, giving your name and address, to C. C. Wakefield and Co., Ltd., Grosvenor Street, W.1.
Lilliput for April contained an article on Russian cars, including illustrations of Russian record-breakers, for which speeds are quoted for those in 350-c.c., 500-c.c. and 1,500-c.c. classes.