“Move Over!” by Russell Brockbank. 64 pp. 9-7/8 in. x 7-1/3 in. (Temple Press Books, Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.1. 10s. 6d.)
This is the fifth of the inimitable Brockbank’s books of motoring cartoons, of which his first and third (“Round the Bend” and “Over the Line”) have gone into second impressions and his second (“Up The Straight”) into five impressions. The cartoons, with one exception, come from The Motor and Punch, but those who enjoy the weekly doses of technicalities and humour which these two journals provide are unlikely to grudge half-a-quid to have some of Brockbank’s best cartoons together in one volume.—W. B.
“Reconnaissance & Bomber Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War” compiled by W. M. Lamberton, Edited by E. F. Cheesman, Produced by D. A. Russell, M.I.Mech.E. 231 pp. 11-1/5 in. x 8-1/3 in. (Harleyford Publications Ltd., Letchworth, Herts. 50s.)
This is a companion volume, beautifully printed on art-paper and copiously illustrated, to the other great Harleyford aviation titles such as “Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War,” “Air Aces of the 1914-1918 War,” “von Richthofen,” etc., the full list of which is available in the publisher’s new free 20-page catalogue.
Aviation historians will find this latest volume a treasure indeed, inexpensive at the price at which Harleyford contrive to publish it. The main section of this unique work describes 72 major reconnaissance and bomber aeroplanes, each one of which is illustrated with five photographs and a 1/72 scale 3-view line drawing, the latter comprising three fuselage and one wing-section. As if this is not enough, no less than 21 of these drawings (a model-maker’s dream!) are of double or treble page size.
The end of each National section has half-page write-ups of less-important aeroplanes, covering in all 40 additional machines, each with a couple of photographs. An 18-page table of dimensions, weights and performance data concludes a work that has individual chapters explaining the functions of the aeroplanes dealt with, such as photographs, artillery-observation, etc.; bomb-sights, guns, gun-mountings and similar details from that far-away age of the 1914-1918 war are covered, in text and with many photographs. Much of the information, based on intensive research, is new, including that obtained from the U.S.S.R. There is even a camouflage and markings section, by Bruce Robertson. The drawings are by J. D. Carrick and F. A. Yeoman. The frontispiece and dust-jacket cover are in colour.
Some subject—some book! Aviation enthusiasts are not ashamed of their avid love of ancient history. When will the motoring world be enhanced by such painstaking publications?
“The Motorist’s Bedside Book” Edited by Anthony Harding. 264 pp. 8-7/8 in. x 6 in. (B. T. Batsford Ltd., 4, Fitzhardinge Street, London, W.1. 30s.)
This is a companion to Batsford’s “Weekend Book” and consists of essays of their own choosing by 28 well-known authorities, about a great variety of motoring and motor racing subjects. There are serious chapters, humorous chapters, scandalous chapters, even informative chapters.
The whole thing is got up in sumptuous style, illustrated with cartoons and fine photographs and its pages of text leavened with quips and quotes.
Some of the contributions seem hardly suitable for a bedside book — they will keep you awake all night! Others are delightfully libellous, like Michael Frostick’s “One-up and all that jazz!”, and which new car could D. B. Tubbs have had in mind when, in a sizzling piece on Ad-men, he wrote : “Put enough blue sky around it and a girl water ski-ing behind and they forget the dreary old three-speed gearbox and the back-axle with donkeycart springs?” There is nostalgia aplenty—William Boddy on the drivers from the golden age of motor racing, with fascinating items on where and how they lived, Cyril Posthumus on the brothers Maserati, S. C. H. Davis with random reminiscences and Konsbrock recalling things Avious Voisin did and why. Anthony Bird traces the social decline of motoring (the Austin 12/4 Register will quail at his several references to the Heavy Twelve; the Austin 12 as introduced in 1921 was classed as a light car). Cecil Clutton is sensible about the present stage of the old-car movement, Gregor Grant remembers racing-car “lost causes,” Michael Sedgwick tells of pitfalls awaiting future generations of motoring historians (as if there are not enough already) and Wilson McComb writes realistically of what it feels like to do a spot of Club racing at Silverstone.
To mention each chapter is impossible, but there is enjoyment in them all, from Bolster’s discourse on “The Frenchman and his Car” to Scott-Moncrieff’s “Purveyor of Horseless Carriages in the Balkans.” Pomeroy contributes “Troubles of my Times,” Eason-Gibson considers what makes great racing drivers tick (but in saying a G.P. driver must never lose his temper, does he overlook the value of being able to “tiger,” as described in another book?). Everything in the text is original except the items by Busch, Katherine Whitehorn and Paul Frere, which are reprints from magazines or books, though inevitably, some of the writers are more refreshingly original than others. Denis Jenkinson, putting away thoughts of “tiger,” explains what an electronically-driven racing car would be like and . . . well, buy it and see for yourself.
“London Pubs,” by Alan Reeve-Jones. 200 pp. 7½ in. x 5 in. (B. T. Batsford Ltd., 4, Fitzhardinge Street, London, W.1. 12s. 6d.)
Motorists shouldn’t drink but do. In the hope that MOTOR SPORT readers who do will be prudent enough to do so in London, where a car isn’t necessary to go from one hostelry to another, and knowing that beer-drinking ranks equally important with courting and driving with many of them, we draw attention to this amusing, yet informative, little tome, describing 106 London taverns between Hampstead and Greenwich, Wimbledon and Hackney— opening and closing times, name of brewer, what they give you to drink and eat, how to find ’em and so on, done with the greatest of good humour. And if good dust jackets sell books you have bought this one.—W. B.
Those who want their wives and girl-friends to pass the driving test but haven’t time to explain the mysteries of automobilism to them may care to give them “Car Driving in 2 weeks” by Lawrence Nathan (Elliot Right Way Books, Kingswood, Surrey 3s. 6d.) which covers every aspect of driving.
Journalists and others who want to know about motor insurance from the point of view of the insurance companies are catered for by “A Guide to Motor Insurance,” a duplicated work by the British Insurance Association. It does not explain why a driver with a long accident-free record who buys an old car or a fast car frightens the brokers so much, or why Jaguars, Sprites and rear engined cars are thought to be so dangerous, but it is a good general guide to the way the mind of the insurance tycoon works. Copies are obtainable free, from the Association, at Aldermary House„ Queen Street, London, E.C.4., on mentioning MOTOR SPORT.
Trojan Ltd. announce manuals applicable to the Trojan 200 three-wheeler. These are a 53-page Workshop Manual costing one guinea, a 16-page Owners’ Manual (3s 6d.), and a Spare Parts List (8s. 6d.), available from any Trojan dealer.
New motoring books expected shortly include Peter Hull’s Alfa Romeo history, Raymond Mays’ “B.R.M. Story,” T. A. S. 0. Mathieson’s long-awaited “Pictorial History of Racing Cars” and Lord Montagu’s Gordon Bennett Race history. Books on historic racing cars seem to be rather too popular, for, apart from Mathieson’s picture book, David Hodges has another and Posthumus one on great racing marques, while there is yet another — “Racing Cars in Colour.” There is also a book about Royal cars in the offing. Further off, we can expect a Life of the Hon. C. S. Rolls, a History of the V.S.C.C. by Cecil Clutton and T. W. Carson, and perhaps “Lost Causes” books covering those of France, Italy and Germany in separate volumes. Those inexpensive and popular pocket reference books by Batsford will be joined by one on racing cars by Denis Jenkinson and Boddy’s Sports Car Pocketbook is going into a new, revised edition. “Montlhery, A History of the Paris Autodrorne,” by William Boddy, is available in an American paperback edition (Clymer) and, in view of the new museums opening in France which contain some of the actual racing cars with which this book deals and others of the makes referred to therein, ” Montlhery ” has become a sought-after work here and in the States. The very much overdue book on Post-Vintage Thoroughbreds, from Batsford, should appear pretty soon.
CARS IN BOOKS
This feature has been going on so long that surprise must be occasioned that so many cars figure by make in so many books. It is understandable, now that the topic of conversation in almost every bar, club, pub and coffee-house, at stag-parties and housewives’ coffee-parties is motoring, that modern biography should name makes of cars and current novels include accurately pictured vehicles. But this feature ranges wide and has very frequently quoted motor-car references in books published in Edwardian times and in the “gay-twenties.” Remarkable!
For instance, reading “Goodbye To All That,” by Robert Graves (Cassell, 1929), which I should have done long ago but only recently got round to, I hadn’t got further than page 37 when I came upon mention of a boy at Charterhouse School named Raymond Rodakowski. This could be an association with Brooklands, I thought. I was therefore pleased to learn, on the next page, that “Raymond’s mother was Scottish; his father an Austrian Pole, a founder of the Brooklands Racing Track.” In fact, although it may not be entirely correct to call Rodakowski a founder of Brooklands, he was a member of the first Committee and Clerk-of-the-Course in 1907 and 1908. His son Raymond was killed at Cambrai in 1917.
There are few motoring items in “Goodbye To All That” but we learn that Robert Graves was a contemporary of “Woolf Barnato, the Surrey cricketer (and millionaire racing motorist), also only an average player” at Charterhouse; indeed, they were in the same house, but “had not a word to exchange for the four years we were together.” Graves discloses that it was another Carthusian who flew the first of our new heavy bombers across the Channel to make a perfect landing—unfortunately behind the German lines—his name was Sturgess. He also tells us that Sir Walter Raleigh, author of the official history of the war in the air, used to go up as often as he needed, to gain practical flying experience, in R.A.F. machines, but died of typhoid fever caught on a flight out East. There is a reference to a racing car in Egypt, the story being that a Government clerk allowed himself to get run over by one, only to discover that it was driven by the eldest son of the Minister of Justice. The make isn’t given, and it could very well have been a sports car. Graves bought a Morris-Oxford and shipped it with him to Egypt and sold it there on his return home in 1926. Could it be still running in Heliopolis to this day?
In ” Mistress of Myself” (J. M. Dent, 1959), the author, Mrs. Robert Henrey, explains that her women friends in Normandy have a theory that it requires less strength to drive a small car than a large one, “and this explains the small Renault and the even smaller Citroen, essentially feminine cars in which the young wife goes to and from market, to and from school with her children”—which is nicer than saying that the French drive small cars because their income tax inspectors frown on large ones! Later in the book we read: “The men then talked about motor cars. This also was the inevitable rule,” which has a familiar ring to it! There is also a highly improbable story of a famous Paris actress who drove over 100 miles in bottom gear with the handbrake on, averaging 12.5 m.p.h., and ruining her brand-new car.—W. B.
Meccano Limited were very quick off the mark in bringing out Dinky Toy No. 113, an M.G.-B, simultaneously with the announcement of the real car. Moreover, it has opening doors— surely the first British car model to this scale to have them? Seats, steering wheel, gear-lever, etc., are fitted and the U.K. price is 5s. 6d. Dinky Toys also include a fine example of the most luxurious of modern American cars, the Cadillac 62, enamelled in polychromatic kingfisher blue. This is No. 147, measuring 4½ in. in length and selling for 4s. 11d. In their Dinky Supertoys series Meccano offer No. 908, an extremely imposing model of a Thornycroft Mighty Antar tractor with its detachable semi-trailer, complete with hinged ramps, carrying safety markings, cab windows, spare wheel, driver, etc. The trailer is loaded with a realistic Alsthorn transformer. Unfortunately, although the model runs on ten wheels, the double-tyres of the real vehicle have been skimped. The model is 13¼ in. long and costs 21s. Just the job for forming miniature roadblocks and hold-ups on your model roadway!
Airfix have brought out a plastic kit for building a 1/32 scale 1904 4-litre Mercedes of the type once raced at Brooklands and now owned by Stanley Sears. There are 59 parts, including driving chains, the price is 2s., and a daughter of 13 assembled this sporting Mercedes without any difficulty.—W. B.