BOOK REVIEWS, November 1961, November 1961
” Jaguar—A Biography,” by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. 273 pp. 81 in. 5 4i. in. (Cassell & Company Ltd., 35, Red Lion Square, London, IV 305.)
All the books published to date in the new .series of Montagu Motor Books—” The Motoring Montagus,” ” Lost Causes ” and William Boddy’s ” Story of Montlhery Autodrome, 1924-60 “have been of a singularly high standard, and “Jaguar,” by Lord Montagu himself with the usual painstaking, accurate and praiseworthy research of Michael Sedgwick, is no exception.
This book does not merely laud the name Jaguar to the skies, although that would not be difficult. It tells in penetrating detail the Jaguar story, from the advent of the Swallow sidecar business in 1920, through the ambitions Lyons-Walmsley Swallow coachbuilding venture, on into a thorough investigation of how S.S. and Jaguar cars developed and progressed.
Setbacks and failures are not glossed over and the scope of this valuable history will be evident from such chapter headings as ” Non-standard Standards-1932-35 “; ” Goodbye to S.S.”; ” MC-1949-5o “; ” The C-type, x951-52; “D for Discs, 1954-55,” and ” The E-type and Beyond.” A small irritant is the rendering of Fiat in capitals, which only applies to pre-1907 or something And is as unnecessary as using the accents over -the “c “s in Mercedes.
Jaguar fanatics or mere enthusiasts for this famous make will derive much pleasure from figures and extracts from road-test reports on many S.S. and Jaguar models. In this respect we are naturally delighted to find MOTOR Small quoted on a dozen pages, the comments of William Boddy, described as ” no mincer of words,” being referred to on several occasions. The great racing exploits of Jaguar are dealt with in some detail and there is a remarkable appendix of 34 pages listing major S.S. and Jaguar r Ily and race successes from 1934 to the end of the 1960 season. Other appendices list the specifications and prices of various models from 1932760, and the Swallow bodies of t927733 .on Austin Seven, Morris-Cowley, Fiat 509A, Standard Nine, Swift Ten, Wolseley Hornet and other chassis, some of the illustrations being devoted to these shapely bodies. Altogether this is a very comprehensive history of one of Britain’s really great cars, references to military and marine Jaguar exploits not forgotten., Reading it, one is left with a feeling of tremendous admiration for Sir William Lyons, I:aptain of this industrially bouyara ship, and for Lord Montagu, who conceived the idea of setting the whole story down so clearly in print and picture.
” My Twenty Years of Racing,” by Juan Manuel Fangio. 224 pp. 51 in. x:131 in. (Temple Press Ltd., Bowling green Lane, London, E.C.t. 25s.)
This autobiography of the greatest of the post-war racing drivers, the Argentinian who was five times Champion of the World and who won 78 races, including 25 major Grands Prix, is naturally very welcome, although following rather soon on the heels of Merlin’s none-too-convincing picture of Juan Manuel Fangio.
Now we get Fongio’s personal account of what it was like to be five times World Champion and this is rendered e’ven more interesting because his Manager, Marcell° Giambertone, contribute’s a Chapter-by-chapter postscript to Fangio’s personal account.
If any criticism of Faligio’s autobiography is merited it is that one would like even more detail in his accounts Of great races and momentous incidents, that the style is verging on ” popular” writing and that he touches on causes of the 1955 Le Mans disaster that are better buried in the past. And I wish hewouldn’t refer to the 3-litre G.P. Mercedes-Benz cars as ” Silver Fishes.”
But this is a welcome hook, well illustrated. I Shall now sit ,down and read it again.—W. B. ” Motor Racing Today,” by Trines Ireland. t 28 pp. 9 in. s; in. (Arthur Barker Ltd., 20, New Bond Street, London, 35. 6d.)
This is rather an unusual .book. At first sight it appears that limes Ireland is describing something of what modern motor r4cing is all about in a sports-series, as other celebrities have written for Arthur Barker Ltd. about cricket, football, tennis and ,,how jumping. In the middle of the book, for nine pages, limes does just that, for some reason comparing present-day racing cars svith Clutton’s 1908 G.P. Baia. The rest of his book is pure autobiography and although Ireland
has been in the game rather a short time to justify a life story, this one is racily written, full of fun, modest, and recalls his youthful enthusiasm, as the son of a. Veterinary Surgeon in Scotland, when reading Birkin’s ” Full Throttle ” sparked it off, at first with a t928 Rudge motorcycle. It is all there—schooldays. corporal punishment. apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce, girls, visits to Bo’ness and Silverstone, the Artily, parachute jumps (one of them illustrated), early successes with a vintage 41-litre Bentley, ” Brooklands ” Riley Nine and Lotus. Eleven, to his present job as Team Lotus driver. It makes an enjoyable story. limes Ireland shines as a writer and when he retires he should be able to write a really fine autobiography.
We journalists and Writers are an unlucky breed. Those who earn a living in other ways never ,give a thought to taking the crusts from our mouths by becoming authors—look how many professional racing drivers turn author or write a column— whereas we have driven in only one motor race, unpaid, and that wasn’t repeated. And the motoring journalist drives more miles than a lorry or ‘bus -driver, again unpaid—it’s all part of the writing grind! Joking apart, some racing drivers should confine themselves to driving and not attempt to write. Ireland can do both, but he might have Spared us two pictures of his hairy chest in a hospital bed and the dreary last chapter taken from a taperecording, also in hospital, of ” I. I.,” ‘ C. C.,” ” R. R.” and ” C. N.” giving their breathless views on leading questions concerning motor-racing.—W. 13. “Drivers Wild,” by Red Daniells. 69 pp. 71 in. 4 11 in. (The Scorpion Press, Ii, Rofant Road, NorthwOod, Middlesex. 75. 6d.)
This little book of cartoons And accompanying text Oita us all in our place when we claim that we alone represent the perfect motoristolci hand, new hand, ‘bus driver, taxi driver, lorry driver, vintage enthusiast, scooterist, auntie. spinster, coffee-bat cowboy, motor trader. All these types And many more come within the flail of Red Daniells’ humour and the cartoons depict real vehicles.
Usually I scorn such lighthearted motoring books but, Chancing upon an item in the Sunday Express dealing with the lady driver who kept the choke out to prevent her umbrella from falling over and who concluded the fictitious interview with ” AccidentS ? Good heavens, yes. Dozens of them, but then people are such fools,” 1 realised the worth of this man Daniells and was Sorry I had missed earlier editions of the paper through being away at the motor races. Now you can get them all in this book. Don’t miss them.—W. B. “The Lotus Story,” by Ian H. Smith, has been reissued as an up-to-date 576-page crown quarto edition with additions by Michael Henderson and over 150 pictures. (Motor Racing Publications, Ltd., 62, Doughty Street, London, W.C.1. 25s.) It is a sign of the times that the Daily Mirror, which now controls both The Autocar and The Motor, has published a motorracing book. This is a soft cover, 93-page, 01 in.>: 61,, in. publication by Peter Lewis with the unfortunate title of “Dicing With Death. ‘ It describes 12 famous races in popular but not too lurid style, a task Lewis cannot have found very difficult, for he had merely to rewrite contemporary reports. Indeed, One wonders whether a mere spectator is entitled to express so graphically the sensations of a driver and navigator,as Lewis does for Moss and jerikinson in describing the 1955 Mille Miglia. However, if this book makes more people sympathetic to Motor racing, sending them to the circuits or making them root for more of it on their T.V. screens, this will be deemed a job well done. Thumbing through these accounts of stirring drives the mere journalist, who. might otherwise argue that given the money and opportunity he could emulate the great racing drivers whereas they could not set down accurately (accurately ?) accounts of cars and races as he has to do, is suitably humbled. The book is published by The Daily Mirror Newspapers Ltd., Holborn areas, London, E.C.5, at
at 3s. 6d. CARS IN BOOKS
Nothing much this time; but there is mention of a vintage Lagonda in ” Our Square,” by Verily Anderson, and in that entertaining and well-written book ” Don’t Type in Bed,” by Peggy Warner (Angus & Robertson, 1958), there is passing reference to various American cars, such as Chrysler and Oldsmobile used by the author’s war-correspondent husband in the World’s trouble-spots and the 1937 Chrysler she found at an auction in Tokyo, ex-German Embassy, which her friends referred to as “that old crock you bought.”—W. B.