by Lord Brabazon of Tara, GBE, MC, PC. 227 pp, 83/4 in by 51/2 in. (William Heinemann Ltd, 99 Great Russell Street, London, WC1. 25s)
This is the long-promised autobiography of Lord Brabazon of Tara, and it is an excellent book packed full of reminiscences and delightfully written—every word by Lord Brabazon himself, who has no use for literary “ghosts.”
Here is the story of early motor-racing, of how the author flew in balloons and early aeroplanes, gaining No 1 R Aero C Pilot Certificate, of how he pioneered aerial photography for the RFC, of his enjoyment of riding the Cresta Run (of which there is a splendid description) and sailing in the post-war years, and of adventures in the realms of business and politics.
Lord Brabazon deals with his motor-racing days without going into detail, and some good motor-racing and flying photographs are reproduced. Some new facts emerge as we meet such pioneers as SV Edge, the Hon CS Rolls, the Guinnesses, Warwick Wright, Nuzzaro and others. There is a reference to a Lorner-Porsche in the Kaiserpreis race of 1907, but this was entered officially as a Mercedes-Mixte, while a later reference to an Argos which crashed should, perhaps, have been printed as Adler. Also, grandstands and pits of those days were surely called tribunes, not the “tribunal.” There is an inside account of Resta—called throughout “De Resta” —while practising for the 1908 Grand Prix with the Austin and of why he had to serve a prison sentence.
Apart from racing there are references to ordinary motoring and it is interesting to find Lord Brabazon hinting, as we have done, that the original Austin Seven may have owed its origin to the Baby Peugeot which preceded it. Other cars the author refers to include the Rolls-Royee Phantom III he used when Minister of Aircraft Production, and his two Fiats and two Jaguars bearing the reg No FLY 1.
Readers will delight in Lord Brabazon’s outspoken attack on the apathy of successive governments over a proper road-construction programme, his tribute to racing—”Much of the advance in car design was due to racing in the early days . . .”, and his “inside” stories of action taken to avert disasters during the General Strike of 1926 and the air-raids of the last war.
A comprehensive yet easily digested book to delight all who love adventure and life.–WB.