Politics don’t usually figure so large in car books, but as this concerns a motoring life in Rhodesia before it became Mugabe’s basket-case Zimbabwe it’s unsurprisingly a significant element here. Rob Wells’ family moved there when he was 10, and far from being stifled his passion for cars found plenty of indulgence. Watching Graham Whitehead racing his Grand Prix Ferrari cemented that, and his memories of racing in Rhodesia (who knew there were so many circuits there?) are very colourful — ERAs, D-type OKV3, Coopers and Connaught. Conversely it’s upsetting to read of cars that would now be classics being chopped up or butchered — an Alvis Silver Eagle towtruck, for example.
Allowed to drive at 16, Wells was already in an MG TC a year later, then Healeys, Midgets and a Mini Cooper S, which he raced in mixed events against T70, GT40 and Ferrari P4! There are no big wins here, but it’s a vivid picture of a very different and varied racing life. Sadly, after independence things in Zimbabwe declined so much that Wells had to carry an Uzi in his Midget and so returned to the UK. It’s hardly a major memoir, but Wells’ pride at saving a Cord and an Alfa Montreal serves to remind us that enthusiasm thrives even in unlikely places. GC
Published by Fern House, ISBN13 9781 902702 32 2,115.99