Book Reviews, November 1987, November 1987

Hurricane Combat

It is notable that war books are still being written more than 40 years after WW2 ended. It has been said that better history can be recorded if sufficient time elapses for perspective to develop, and that comes over in this most interesting account of what it was like to fight in Hawker Hurricanes during that war. The author obviously rated these fighters very highly, preferring them to the Supermarine Spitfire.

His book is not only about aeroplanes and the wartime RAF. He is a motoring enthusiast and recounts the cars he enjoyed — including 1932 Wolseley Hornet, PA MG, 2-litre Lagonda and a Bentley found and bought for a song by a fellow officer during the War. Mackenzie raced MG-A and Sprite at Snetterton and Goodwood.

He flew from the ages of 17 to 60, going up first in Ireland in a Cobham Circus Acre 504 and learning on Avro Cadets at Newtownards. The book relates his experiences of being shot-down, of ditching, and of many German POW camps, and concludes with flying in Egypt.

The author recalls the many post-war cars he had (after running the 1931 Lagonda for over 100,000 miles) including Watling-Greenwood ‘s RWG which had won the MOTOR SPORT Brooklands Memorial Trophy, and crashing an MG-A in the Leinster Trophy Race. Some of the flying takes place from Colerne, where the VSCC now has speed trials. I enjoyed this book! WB

The Haynes Publishing Group of Sparkford Yeovil, continues to be a prolific publisher of motoring and aviation titles. Its subsidiary company GT Foulis has come out with The Racing Porsches — R to RSR by John Starkey (127 pp, 93/4in x 63/4in, £10.95), in which the Porsche-owning manager of comedians such as Jasper Carrott describes what it is like to drive the rear-engined models, with help from other enthusiastic Porsche owners, drivers of the calibre of Paul Frere, and competition pictures from MOTOR SPORT photographers LAT. The foreword is written by John Sadler of Autofarm Ltd. WB

We used to receive erudite “one-make” aviation titles from Putnam (who are again, we believe, publishing them), and Haynes too are now in on the aeronautical scene.

Very much so, in fact, with their great publication The American Fighter by Enzo Angelucci with Peter Bowers, which in detailed text, tables, 800 photographs and 1300 schematic drawings covers this complex subject from 1917 to the present. First published in 1985, this weighty Italian-produced tome runs to 480 pages measuring 111/4in x 81/2in, and will be welcomed by those who are students of the subject. The new edition costs £29.95. WB

Unlikely though it sounds, steering wheels are the pivot around which an interesting little volume revolves. Nardi — A Story of Cars and Steering Wheels by Franco Varisco is a 76-page work outlining the life of Enrico Nardi, whose name we now associate with the high quality steering wheels bearing his name, but whose career as driver and engineer started with Lancia, from where he was lured by Ferrari, before starting to build and tune his own cars. The 1955 twin-torpedo “Bisiluro” Le Mans car is probably the best known of these, but this book is full of pictures of his unusual cars.

The text, in both English and Italian, is filled with quotations from his contemporaries like Munaron and Gino Valenzano, both of whom achieved many a victory in Nardi-built or tuned cars. An interesting oddity, costing £11.50 including postage, and available from the importers of Nardi, Personal steering wheels, Setrab (UK) Ltd, Unit 9, Cambria Close, Charfleets Industrial Estate, Canvey Island, Essex SS8 0PQ. GC

Along with the return of the Prancing Horse to an effective showing in Formula 1, we should welcome two new titles from G T Foulis & Co of Yeovil — an English translation of Gioachino Colombo’s Origins of the Ferrari Legend (104pp, 93/4in x 81/2in) about the famous designer’s memories of the earliest cars, and Jess G Pourret’s bigger tome on Ferrari 250GT Competition Cars (397pp , 10in x 81/4in), first published in Paris in 1977. Both are packed with delectable pictures, some in colour in the latter volume, and are priced £24.95 and £29.95 respectively. WB

Another good-value hook from Foulis of Yeovil, if you like Dennis buses and trucks of all ages, is the book of this title by Nick Baldwin. A fascinating pictorial coverage of these vehicles, it sells for £8.95. WB