"Maintaining the Breed"

by John Thornley. 187 pp, 83/4 in by 57/16 in. (Motor Racing Publications Ltd, 13 Conway Street, Fitzroy Square, London, W1. 21s)

This revised edition of “Maintaining the Breed—The Saga of M.G. Racing Cars,” by John Thornley, general manager of the MG Car Company, is one of the most interesting and informative of all the books on motor-racing. It is so because the author tells in detail how the various MG models were evolved and prepared for competition. If he omits any “secrets” the writer isn’t aware of it, and the wealth of detail is quite astonishing, so that any owner of an MG, from M-type to MGA, will feel the urge to commence tuning and “hotting-up” operations at once.

Thornley not only tells “the lot”—,and what a fascinating scientific/engineering account this is—but be has an excellent knack of making an informal and exciting book out of these sober technical endeavours, as each tale of the purpose, set-backs and successes behind each competition MG is unfolded.

This book appeared some years ago as an album-size scrapbook, but it is excellent that it now comes as a proper book, rewritten, with the addition of fresh chapters covering the evolution of Goldie Gardner’s EX 135, the conversion of this famous MG into a museum piece, the creation of George Eyston’s record-breaking EX 179 and how the MGA was introduced and entered for sports-car races, including an enthralling, unminced, on-the-spot account of the MG equipe’s visit to the 1955 Le Mans race.

The book touches on the first MGs of all, with a charming picture of “Old No. 1” wrongly captioned (but this is delightfully corrected by the author in an insert), and there are many other splendid illustrations. “Maintaining the Breed ” will be the pride of MG enthusiasts and the envy of those who prefer other makes.—WB.