The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who’s Who, by Steve Small. Guinness Publishing, 114.99.
There are probably a number of you out there who don’t recall the precise reason why Ernst Loof retired his Veritas Meteor from the 1953 German GP (his only World Championship start).
Equally, lo Vonlanthen’s brief H career has probably been deleted from most memory banks.
However . . .
Everything you ever wanted to know about every driver who has started a World Championship Grand Prix, or indeed who has merely tried to do so, is included in this magnum opus, a product of many years’ diligent research by author Steve Small.
And it’s more than a humdrum facts n’figures book, too. There are thumbnail sketches of virtually all of the drivers chronicled, from the established legends (Clark, Rindt. Stewart, Fangio and so on) to the positively obscure (Loa Vonlanthen, Francesco Godia-Sales, George Eaton they’re all in here). More remarkably. Small has managed to unearth portraits of the vast majority. The inclusion of such extra information means that The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who’s Who has a dual role: it is both an entertainment medium and a reference book of incalculable worth. There have been other
statistics compendia over the years, but none quite as thorough as this that we can recall.
Small offers precise information even about specific chassis and engine types at every event, and there are invariably snippets of relevant information with each individual entry.
What started off as a mere germ of an idea has turned into a monster of almost 400,000 words (despite which it is relatively compact and neatly packaged).
The author doesn’t think he has omitted anybody. If he has, he’d actually be quite pleased to hear about them. It is planned that the book will be updated every two years or so henceforth, if the initial response justifies such a thing. It should. Any book which includes Karl Oppitzhauser just has to be classified as ‘comprehensive’. S A
We have 10 copies ofThe Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who’s Who to give away. See page 459 for details of our easy-to-enter competition.
Landscape with Figures, by Tony Rolt. Alan Sutton, £14.99. Readers who enjoyed the late LTC Rolt’s autobiographies Landscape with Canals and Landscape with Machines are advised that his wife Sonia has had published the third book in the series. It reviews some of Rolt’s earlier associations, such as running a narrow-gauge railway and his canal work, and describes his writing both of these and his other books. Rolt explains why he changed publishers so frequently and is terse about the relationship between publisher and author — although as he was able to keep a wife, privately
educate two sons, assist an impoverished mother, maintain an ancient house and run a couple of 12/50 Alvises, he didn’t do too badly. He is equally sour about agents, and lecture and TV fees, and, though not related to motoring, his demand for Public Lending Right for those whose books go out from lending libraries
remains in the text, although this was introduced shortly after the book was written. This aspect will appeal very much to those who are vintage-minded.
There is also a long chapter about Rolt being employed by the VSCC to run major rallies for them and the VCC, in 1954, 1955 and 1963 — in which his love of steam cars is very evident . . . The author has been a strong advocate of old standards and ways of life, but while his comparisons between the building of the MI and the Severn Bridge (the toll on the latter now heavy if you are entering Wales but free on leaving it!) with earlier civil engineering feats are fascinating, 1 found his handling of love and religion hard to take. W B
The Works Triumphs, by Graham Robson. GT Foulis & Company, 119.99. This very comprehensive coverage of 50 years of Triumph cars in the competition field includes the activities of the works Standards, and who better to unravel it all than the knowledgeable Graham Robson, who was Triumph’s Competitions Manager from 1962 to 1965 and co-drove these
effective rally cars in the I959s and 1960s? It is all there — starting with young Donald Healey’s epic drive in the 1929 Monte-Carlo Rally, and continuing with the new works team of Triumph TR2s in 1954, and the events with Heralds, Vitesses, Spitfires, 2000s, 2.5 SPis and
Dolomites, not only in rallies but in marathons, safaris and at Le Mans. It is crammed with information and 300 pictures, eight pages of which are in colour. The performances of British Leyland’s Dolomite Sprints in racing and the TR7s in rallies are also described. Excellent, reference-wise and for good reading. My only regret is that the racing Super Sevens of Vic Horsman and his mechanic Quinn are omit ted. W B • Shire Publications of Cromwell House, Princes Risborough, has included Jon Pressnell’s little 32-page book The Mini in its onemake series. It sells for £2.25 and if this sounds like superficial coverage, not so! All the Shire books have astonishingly good contents and pictures, for their modest price, and the titles run from the veteran, vintage (by WB), and later periods, to many one-make histories, over 25 in all and subjects like taxis, specials and LSR cars (by DUI). All are
excellent buys. • Brooklands Books has recently added publications on the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow (1965-1980), MG Midget (1961-1979), Lotus Sports Racers (1953-1965), Citroen DS & ID (1955-1975) and Citroen 2CV (1949-1989), in its Gold Portfolio series, and the BMW M-Series as a Performance Portfolio. They include reproductions of contemporary road test reports from various leading magazines, including MOTOR SPORT, which give a most useful and fascinating slant to history. The specialised booksellers know them, or apply to the publishers at PO Box 146, Cobham, Surrey, KTI1 ILG -a free catalogue is availa ble. W B