Phil Hill

A driving life
Phil Hill

When Phil Hill died we lost not only a champion driver but a thoughtful engineer, an erudite writer and a talented photographer. His qualities leap out from this book, a collection of articles he wrote for Road and Track over 30 years, which say as much about the man as his subjects. Each is introduced by John Lamm who went with him to shoot the pictures.

Hill writes knowledgeably about anything from an Alfa 179 to MG No1, reminding us that this Anglophile was passionate about racing history long before he raced. He is central to many of his tales: when he tells the ATS story, it’s as one of the hapless drivers. Ditto a test of a 250F at Reims, scene of his debut in a similar car. When he reminisces about friends, he means greats such as Fangio, Moss and Ascari. Hill’s is a unique take: in one track test he combines history and design analysis, recalls things Enzo said to him, and muses on whether he missed out driving for Ferrari: “Perhaps at the time I needed the rewards of being a hero driver rather than a clever mechanic”.

While some blended ‘then and now’ images look awkward, the book’s large size compliments the photos. But it’s Hill’s wry voice that lingers: on rear-engined GP cars he says Ferrari felt they would just go away – “like mumps”… GC

Published by David Bull/Haynes, ISBN 978 1 935007 07 4, £49.99