Book reviews, November 1985, November 1985

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“Getting Started In Motorsport” by Stuart Turner & Tony Mason, 144 pp. 10¾ in x 8 in. (Haynes Publishing Group, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7JJ. £6.95).

Here is another, but comprehensive, book giving advice on how avid enthusiasts might be able to get themselves started in almost any branch of the Sport that appeals to them, written by those of great experience. There are many illustrations to whet the enthusiasm further and amplify the text. Indeed, at first we thought there was a bias towards vintage-car racing as run by the VSCC because of two fine pictures of Nigel Arnold-Forster in his Bequet-Delage (the caption does not say what the car is, nor that the car coming up behind is the dazzle­painted Straker-Squire that Adrian Liddell used to drive). Then we realised that these were one and the same picture and that the production department at Yeovil had boobed, leaving pages 97 to 112 out of the review copy, while doubling-up on others. So if you buy this erudite advice by Stuart Turner, who has progressed through most aspects of the game to become Director of European Motor Sport at Ford, and celebrated rally navigator Mason, check that your copy is complete. – W.B.

“Rolls-Royce – The Derby Bentleys”

This is the title of No 5 in the historical publications issued by The Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation, The Hunt House, Paulerspury, Northants, and will be irresistible to all owners of these cars and to students of Rolls Royce / B,entley history. Compiled by the knowledgeable Alec Harvey-Bailey, here is the inside story of these cars after R-R had acquired Bentley Motors in 1931-the experimental models, the development work, with comparisons with other makes of cars, competition performances, and so on, covering 73 pages. The appendices deal with intimate aspects of the introduction and evolution of the Derby Bentleys including how bearing and high­speed tyre problems were tackled, detaiJs,of an overhead-camshaft experimental 4¼-litre engine, and coachwork for these cars, with a note on George Paulin. Non­members of the Foundation can buy the book for £3.00 including UK postage, and I suggest that the 57 photographs alone make this a bargain. -W.B.

“MG Past & Present” by Rivers Fletcher has gone into a second edition. It is available from Haynes at £12.95. – W.B.

As one who has spent many a night hunched over a map in a bucking rally car “somewhere in Wales”, my ·ears pricked up with the arrival of “The Hot Seat” by Steve Fellows (Motor Racing Publications, 28 Devonshire Road, Chiswick, London W4, priced £7.95). There are very few works aimed solely at the rally navigator or co­driver, and there are so many lessons to be learned that novice and expert alike will benefit from this one. The two main branches of the sport, road- and stage­rallying, are outlined, and subsequent chapters cover basic and advanced techniques in both, described in a readable light-hearted style. Apart from the photographs, there are very useful reproductions of route- and time-cards, map markings, pace-notes and other specialist paraphernalia, together with useful tips from the author’s experience. I just wish this book had been available when I started navigating. – G.C.

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We have referred to those useful and attractive books in Motor Racing Publications’ “Collector’s Guide” series too frequently to have to describe them in detail once more. Suffice it to say now that two more have recently been issued. “The Alfasud” by David Owen, and an up-dated edition of “The Porsche 911” by Michael Cotton. The first is well-timed, as it covers all the models of a very popular Alfa Romeo type that has not long been discontinued, while the Porsche book, by an expert on the marque, covers not only the 911 but its derivatives, including the 959. Among the interesting things which this book reveals is that oil-cooled cylinders were tried for the experimental Type 821 Porsche engine of the 911 prototype (shades of Granville Bradshaw in the 1920s!) but not proceeded with1 and that Reynold chain (which is rendered as “Reynolds” chain, a common mistake) was preferred to a toothed-belt for driving the oh-camshafts. Each of these well-illustrated and documented little books is priced at £9.95 and the new address of MRP is Unit 6, 46 Pitlake Road, Croydon, CR0 3RY. – W.B.

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Another book on the Porsche 911 Turbo is the latest Brooklands Books offering, comprising 20 road-test reports from 11 different motor journals, covering these cars in 1975 to 1984 form. This soft-cover publication is available from Bookstop, Holmerise, Seven Hills Road, Cobham, Surrey for £6.50 post-free. – W.B.

There tend to be too many books about war-time aviation and when Airlife of Shrewsbury sent us “Norwegian Patrol” by Gron Edwards (176 pp, 8¾ in x 6 in) I did not view it with much enthusiasm. In fact, it is a very readable book, telling of flying the tricky Hudsons of No 233 Squadron from Leuchars during the first year of WW2, on maritime reconnaissance with the sister Squadron No 224. “Dopey” Edwards puts it down in such a manner that you feel you are flying beside him and his relationship with his crews comes over well, without recourse to supermen or heroics, although there is no mistaking the exhausting, morale-snapping and dangerous nature of these missions, in the lumbering Lockheed Hudsons, which were very much at the mercy of the Me 109s and 110s. Aviation enthusiasts should make a point of not missing this one. It is priced at £11.95. – W.B.

Airlife Publishing of Shrewsbury have come up with an entertaining book about the flying experiences of Air Vice-Marshal A. G. Dudgeon, covering the years 1934-1941, written lightheartedly, about the days when he got a scholarship to Cranwell at the age of 17V2 and was taught to fly on Avco Tutors, surviving an early prang and getting lost on his cross-country, to Blenheim operations in N. Africa, and much else besides, including the pranks with cars indulged in by young aircrews. The book costs £11.95 and is another for our more air­minded readers. – W.B.

Cars in books

From “Swans Reflecting Elephants – My Early Years” by Edward James (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1982, edited by George Melly) we learn that the great British eccentric, who lived at the time of this book at West Dean in Sussex, where HM King George V attended shooting parties, had a Rolls-Royce when he was in America before the war, which figured in his pranks, and that when he went to Rome he got an open Alfa Romeo which he drove at speed, waved on by the carabinieri. In fact, James was an Honorary Attache to the British Embassy in Rome, and at that time kept his own Rolls-Royce and chauffeur. It was used to take his bride, the Austrian singer Tilly Losch, to the church on Fifth Avenue for his wedding, but before that he was let down by a secondhand Rolls-Royce, his first car of this make, which had only done 1,200 miles but broke down outside Reading when he was taking Clementine Churchill to hear her son Randolph make his maiden speech at the Oxford Union. The old and stupid chauffeur being unable to make the Rolls go, they had to continue the journey in a taxi at a cost of £20, arriving just as the speech was ending. Edward James, who had a present of one million pounds on his 21st birthday, had aeroplanes which he flew himself, looping the loop on occasion, but their make isn’t divulged. – W.B.

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