For your summer reading-list...
"Automobile Year—No. 7," 232 pp., 12¾ in. x 9½ in. (Edita S.A., Lausanne—English agents, G. T. Foulis & Co., Ltd., 1-5, Portpool Lane, Holborn, London, E.C.1. 50s.)
Described as the most beautiful, complete and exciting book in the automobile world, "Automobile Year," enlivens the advent of each new season. Now in its seventh year, this magnificently produced and illustrated annual is fully up to standard again this year.
It is not possible to refer to all the interesting articles it contains, but in addition to detailed previews of last year's motor-racing season, with the introduction by D. S. Jenkinson and the reports by "a specialist who writes in a fourth language; that used by some of the motor-racing enthusiasts of the United States."
There is a long article on the influence of exports on the conception and testing of mass-produced cars, Gordon Wilkins' masterly examination of last year's development of the World's automobiles, Lurani on Formula Junior, an article on International Rallies and reviews of the European Touring Championship and International Mountain Championship, and tabulated specifications of the World's production cars, down to Zapovozhye and Zil. Extremely interesting is a triology by lssigonis, Webster and Giacosa in which these leading small car designers explain the philosophy behind three such diverse vehicles as the B.M.C. mini-cars, the Triumph Herald and the Fiat 500 and 600. This is not "hand out" material but frank and interesting writing by these famous engineers—in our opinion Issigonis is the most convincing in his pleading for front-wheel-drive and rubber variable-rate suspension.
The parking problem is examined and there is a fascinating study of the Italian line in coachwork and an historical survey of the great Fiat organisation—although, in this respect, we do not believe the speed of 177 m.p.h. claimed for the 1912 190 x 250 mm. Tipo 576 giant racing car.
In short, "Automobile Year" is packed full of good things. Not the least attractive of the lavish and varied contents are the profuse illustrations, of which the full-page colour pictures of racing and racing drivers, of a Corvair air-cooled engine and of a Morris Mini-Minor on the platform at Paddington beside the "Cheltenham Flyer" are quite without parallel for excellence and inspiration.
"Automobile Year" represents extraordinarily good value at 50s. and should be on the book-shelves of all discerning students of the art of motoring. As a matter of curiosity we noted which motor car manufacturers use this International medium for publicising their products in advertisement layouts of quality equal to the contents of this beautiful publication—they are: Renault, Jaguar, Fiat (with a double-page colour spread), Lancia and Austin. The only midge that mars the picture is casual proof-reading in a few places in the English edition.—W. B.
"Australian Motor Sports Review—1958-1959." 104 pp., 12¼ in. x 9¾ in. (Wylie Publishing Co. Pty. Ltd., Melbourne. Australia.)
Published by the proprietors of one of Australia's oldest motoring magazines, this splendid review of motor sport "down under" is rather in the style of the Internationally famous "Automobile Review" reviewed above—large pages, plenty of pictures, some in colour. There are accounts of the 1958 and 1959 races, rallies and other competitions, an article on Australia's "driver of the year," Stan Jones, and a long and intriguing account of the development of that remarkable racing car, the Maybach Special, with Chevrolet Corvette engine now developing 274 b.h.p. at 6,000 r.p.m. Jack Brabham is dealt with as the "potential World Champion," for which no forecast could be more accurate! Trials, which are tough events in Australia, get ample coverage and the Austin Seven Formula is examined. There is an interesting tabular summary giving the history of many Australian contests—did you know that the Australian Grand Prix was first run in 1928, when it was won by a blown Austin Seven, at 56¼ m.p.h.?
Although this book is mainly of interest to "diggers," conscientious students here will be wise to add it to their book-list.—W. B.
"The 'Autocar' Road-Tests, Spring 1960." 82 pp., 11⅜ in. x 8⅜ in. (Iliffe & Sons, Ltd., Dorset House, Stamford Street, S.E.1. 6s. 6d.)
These invaluable reprints of road-test reports from England's oldest motor journal need no introduction. This latest book covers 20 modern cars, including the 3-litre Alvis TD21, the Austin Healey 3000, the popular Sprite, the Ford Taunus estate car, Jaguar XK150S, Mercedes-Benz 220SE, M.G. 1600, the much-discussed Morris Mini-Minor, both Sunbeam Rapier III and Alpine, and the Turner-Climax.
Performance data are conveniently tabulated and we see that the fastest car covered in this spring selection is the Jaguar XK150S, which did 136 m.p.h. in o/d top gear. The most economical car was the Morris Mini-Minor, at up to 53 m.p.g., while most accelerative of the 20 cars tested was the Jaguar, which covered a s.s. ¼-mile in 16.2 sec.
In respect of the hours of pleasure and instruction that study of these reprints can give, this book is extremely modestly priced at 6s. 6d.—W. B.
The Science Museum has issued part two of a very comprehensive catalogue of the motor cars in its collection, by C. F. Caunter. This describes in detail all the exhibits, including models and accessories and will be of considerable interest to old-car enthusiasts. The price is 10s. 6d., from the Stationery Office.
* * *
"Egon Ronay recommends" is the title of a fascinating guide to worthwhile eating places in and around London, from the Albemarle Club to Wheeler's. This is an outspoken, well-written account which every motorist visiting London or its environs should have in the cubby-hole. It is published by Egon Ronay, Ltd., Queens House, Leicester Square, London, W.C.2, at 4s. 6d. Even if you habitually eat a badly-cooked joint and two veg., Egon Ronay will beguile you with thoughts of what could be.
* * *
Foldex Ltd. have recently introduced some excellent editions of their well-known maps covering Spain and Portugal, to a scale of 9½ miles to the inch. These are de-luxe maps with many special features, including notes on road construction, classifications and numbering, gradients, pass-heights, distances between towns, frontier closing times, car ferries, airports, petrol stations, etc. The price is 5s. per section, 25s. 6d. for the full set of six sections. Foldex Ltd. have also issued a Miniplan of Paris in five colours, legend in French, English and German, a street index, inclusive of a detailed list of attractions and amusements and much useful data. Of vest-pocket size, the Paris Miniplan costs 3s. 6d., or 4s. 6d. with additional guide information.
* * *
The B.P. Touring Service, which includes a plastic roller-type navigational aid (remember D.S.J. and S.M. in the 1955 Mille Miglia?), a 336-page International Guide in full colour, the B.P. Planning Map of Europe, free £1,000 accident life insurance, a 12-language conversion guide, metric converter, screen badge. guide to Italy and the Olympic games and Olympic caravan map, is available for 10s. from any B.P. Service Station. The service includes an en route kit with a large-scale map of the country in which the motorist is travelling and a plentiful supply of national brochures, etc. B.P. claim that 600,000 travellers in Europe have benefited since the B.P. scheme started in 1958. Last year the most popular touring centre out of 58,208 motorists using the service was Italy (14,680), followed by France (12,910) and Switzerland (9,180).
* * *
Castrol offer free their book "Achievements 1959" and a free lubrication chart for your car. A pre-paid postcard appeared in last month's issue on which to order these publications but if this was overlooked apply now, to C. C. Wakefield Ltd., Castrol House, Marylebone Road, London, N.W.1, mentioning Motor Sport. "Achievements 1959 " is lavishly illustrated and reminds us that the millions of motorists who insist on Castrol oil are in good company—such drivers as Sprinzel, Sears, Uren, Tommy Wisdom, Boshier-Jones, Jim Clark, Emy Rosqvist, the Lady Rally Champion, and many others too numerous to list, in cars, on motor cycles, on the water and in the air rely on Castrol, which was used for last year's successful record attacks by Fiat-Abarth, Austin Healey Sprite, the M.G. Ex 181 and Knight's Cooper-Climax, etc., while B.E.A. specify Castrol "98" for their Viscounts and Comets.
* * *
Autobooks, of 104, Islingword Road, Brighton, Sussex, have issued a comprehensive catalogue of motoring books, with details of contents, page size, price, etc., which will be of the greatest possible help to those wishing to order old and new titles.
* * *
Boots the Chemists have issued, through Foldex Ltd., an unique map of England giving, besides the usual information in commendable detail, particulars of the beaches round these shores—just the map for keen swimmers and those who prefer to parade their beauty in the sun!