Reviews, November 2008

Shelby Cars in Detail
Cars of the Shelby American Collection
Frank Barrett and Boyd Jaynes

This glossy and eye-wateringly expensive book on the cars in the Shelby American Collection is both a useful historical insight and a quite remarkable display of photography. The story of Carroll Shelby’s move into car manufacturing is interesting to say the least. Steve Volk – president of the collection – refers to it as “a chicken farmer from Texas beating the world’s finest racing teams”.

Though Barrett’s text is well written, and the history of the most interesting cars in the collection is detailed and easily absorbed, it’s the photography that really stands out. Los Angeles-based Boyd Jaynes set up a temporary studio in the museum and, as well as general car shots, focused on minute details on the dashboards and the engines, giving a rare view of how these cars really feel close up. Whether or not this book, at just under £100, is overpriced is down to the individual. Almost every page between the half-centimetre thick covers is filled with beautiful photos and, with that in mind, the book must have cost a fair amount to produce. If you don’t already have a passion for these cars, however, this may not be the best (or cheapest) place to start. EF

Published by David Bull Publishing, ISBN 978 1 893618 94 7, £94.99

Alex Zanardi
Racing at the Speed of Life
Produced and directed by Adam Friedman

Thanks to his remarkable story, any film about Alex Zanardi is bound to be emotional and interesting viewing. If said film is accompanied by tinkly music and movie trailer-type voiceovers, you’re either going to love it or (hate is too strong a word, as this film is well made) not enjoy it so much. This hour-long DVD charts Zanardi’s rise in go-karts, to his two Indycar titles with Chip Ganassi, his horrific 2001 accident in which he lost both legs, and his remarkable recovery and subsequent racing in the WTCC. Bolstered by interviews with all the major players in his career, including Motor Sport’s US editor Gordon Kirby, this will appeal to Zanardi fans and those not so familiar with the Italian. EF

Available from, $19.95 plus shipping

Crashed and Byrned
The greatest motor racing driver you never saw
Tommy Byrne and Mark Hughes

For those of you who haven’t heard of Tommy Byrne, he was one of the wildest and quickest drivers to (briefly) grace the F1 paddock. Indeed Eddie Jordan was a firm believer in the ‘knacker from Dundalk’: “Forget Senna and Schuey, Tommy Byrne was the best of all”. After years of trying, Mark Hughes has finally got Tommy to tell his story in this witty and sometimes shocking book. Be prepared for colourful language, stories of drug smuggling, Tommy’s dramatic rise to F1 and his even more dramatic fall, the truth behind ‘the McLaren test’ and why Ron Dennis turned him down. This book is a must for anyone who has the constitution to handle it. EF

Published by Icon Books, ISBN 978 184831 002 5, £10.99

Goodwood Revival
The first ten years
By Doug Nye

Can it be 10 years? This hearty volume covers the Revival so far, plus how we got there, including a view of British racing pre-war and how Goodwood inherited the Brooklands atmosphere. There are race reports and results for each year, but you’re more likely to pore over the wonderfully illustrated chapters on the airfield’s wartime story, the great racing years, and on Freddie Richmond, who as the previous duke created the circuit. It’s somehow cheering to learn that he had a Scalextric track in his London flat. That’s among the very personal reminiscences of the current earl, his grandson, who clearly shares his petrol-based DNA. Famous drivers contribute memories too, and it’s all illustrated with some terrific pictures, programme covers and other colourful drop-ins. GC

Published by Merrell, ISBN 978 1 8589 4449 4, £39.95