Details 1965-1969, Legendary sports cars up close
There has been a rich seam of McKlein releases of late. Rarely a fortnight passes without one, but the company can publish as often as it likes as far as I’m concerned.
Its books share a number of hallmark features. The photographic quality is exquisite, hardly a surprise given the firm’s provenance, but even though you’re expecting it the standard still takes your breath away.
This contains fewer landscapes than usual, because – as the title suggests – the accent is on technical nuances.
It covers only a short period, but what a period, from the Ferrari 250LM (and the Prancing Horse’s most recent outright Le Mans success) to the emergence of Porsche’s 917.
Bilingual text (German and English) supports the images, as ever. The pick? Mine is a spread showing the inner workings of Ferrari’s Le Mans workshop in 1966, with a phalanx of stripped-down P3s being primed for action. All you really need to know, though, is that there isn’t a single dud among the book’s 400 pages. SA
ISBN: 978-3-927458-76-5, £79.99
Auto Racing Comes of Age
On the surface this looks like not very much book for a significant chunk of money – a return flight from London to Oslo would set you back about £10 less – but there’s an awful lot packed within.
Nicely written and absolutely rammed with minutiae from a significant time in our sport’s evolution (including snippets of information about Hughie Hughes, the overlooked British racer who features in this issue), it is divided into thematic chapters that focus on marques, personalities, technology and individual circuits. If you need to cram up on Sheepshead Bay racetrack, look no further.
It isn’t the work of a moment to illustrate a work such as this, given that digital SLR cameras were still about a century away from becoming everyday items, but the accompanying photos are for the most part remarkably crisp and absolutely dripping with atmosphere. Look at the shot of Petro Bordino tackling the Lyon Esses in 1924 and I guarantee that you’ll wish you’d been there.
Costly, then, but also worthwhile. SA
Published by McFarland ISBN: 978-0-7864-6670-2, £55.50
Mid-Atlantic American Sports Car Races 1953-1962
The author of this heavyweight niche work within a niche subject was born in Hertfordshire and works in Stourbridge. Surprising? Certainly. But perhaps no more than the proliferation of European sports racer exotica that were to be found competing in unlikely corners of the US during the 1950s and early ’60s.
O’Neill’s research digs out results and a wide array of photographs from obscure airfield circuits, mainly in the states of Maryland and Virginia. Cumberland Municipal Airport in West Virginia and Marlboro Motor Raceway offer some of the best backdrops, the latter also featuring a recurring character in the form of flamboyant race starter and finisher ‘Tex’ Hopkins. Better known as the eccentric flag man at Watkins Glen Grands Prix, Tex was always hard to miss in his lavender suit, with cigar clamped firmly in his jaw. His explanation of how he’d keep drivers guessing on the grid before leaping to drop the flag beats a sequence of extinguishing red lights every time. DS
Published by Dalton Watson ISBN: 978-1-85443-263-6, £95
Sports Car Racing in the South, Texas to Florida 1961-1962
More from the deepest corners of American sports car racing as Willem Oosthoek completes his trilogy on a golden era at the airfield tracks of the southern states.
The peppering of images from the lens of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Bob Jackson once again lifts this work beyond the status of expensive scrapbook, although there are other treats among the evocative pictures of youthful Roger Penske, Jim Hall and their ilk. The shot of sometime GP racer and constructor Brian Naylor deploying the chute on Art Arfons’ turbine streamliner at Daytona’s tri-oval captures one’s attention. A spooked Arfons had uncharacteristically ducked out of an attempt to hit 180mph in a car built for the salt-flats of Bonneville, and invited Naylor to have a go. How charitable. The Englishman reached 134mph, only for a split water hose to leave him with first- and second-degree burns on his hands and back. Brave. DS
Published by Dalton Watson ISBN: 978-1-85443-272-8, £95