There’s something initially a little sad in calling this book The Golden Years, especially as its chapter headings range from ‘On top of the world’ to ‘Approaching the final finishing line’, almost as though Ferrari’s glory has been gone for the last 30 years. You have to open it to discover that it’s Enzo’s years it covers, finishing as it does with the death of the man whose name the cars bear. Since then there have been many triumphs, although the hectic leaps and plunges of the Scuderia’s success chart have been almost as exciting to follow as watching a Ferrari winning at Monza. While there were barren years and terrible tragedies between 1947 and 1988 too, golden things did happen while the man himself was in charge and they’re dramatically captured in this enlarged and revised edition of a book first published in the marque’s 70th year.
It’s a big, heavy volume, and the sheer size and number of images might make you feel that this is entirely photo-led, but there is text in between the images, consisting of succinct but readable summaries in English and Italian of the firm’s competition activities decade by decade. What makes it a pleasure to leaf through, though, are the photos themselves, mostly taken by Franco Villani. Some are terrific action shots but more involving are the trackside, paddock or factory images, casual and often intimate pictures of the men and the era: a tactics discussion with Romolo Tavoli, Carlo Chiti and Giancarlo Baghetti; Baghetti with a camera snapping Phil Hill climbing out of his car; a powerful portrait of Enzo and Tazio Nuvolari in animated discussion before the Mille Miglia. Most are in black and white but there is some fine colour too: an atmospheric shot of John Surtees on Monaco’s waterfront flagstones with an almost empty harbour behind made me sigh for simpler days. On the other hand a shocking picture of the utterly shredded remnants of Eugenio Castellotti’s car after his fatal crash reminds us why safety colours all today.
Figures central to the legend get their slots too, whether designers, managers or mechanics, so that mentions of Chiti, Ermanno Cuoghi or Franco Gozzi have their context. And if captions are sometimes a bit hard to connect to their photos, it’s an excuse to linger longer in a golden era.
Ferrari – The Golden Years (Enlarged Edition)
Published by Giorgio Nada Editore, ISBN 9788879117340
Bentley: Last of the Silent Sports Cars
Ian Strang & John Boothman
The last book purely on the overdrive Bentleys, considered the prime Derby cars, dates back 25 years so this not only updates owner records, picturing every car with its history, but also adds research unearthed since. Among the story, the authors mix colourful chapters about the world around these cars – the clothes, the clubs and the life of those who could afford them, about high- speed motoring, plus the resurrection of the lost Corniche. Very readable even if you’re not a coachwork nut like me. GC
Published by Strang & Boothman, ISBN 9781527246157
Exceptional Cars: Ferrari 857S, The Remarkable History of 0578M
Often overshadowed by Ferrari’s V12s, the 1950s four-cylinder sports-racers offered prodigious power and great results. This covers one chassis, 0578M, with a fine record – driven by Hawthorn, Phil Hill and Maglioli among others in 1955, before being raced in New Zealand and Sweden. Confusingly it also raced with different engines as a Monza and a Mondial, as well as two chassis numbers, before being factory-altered into an 875M, and this aims to clarify things. Neatly presented with generous imagery plus inserts on significant figures and a lavish 23-page gallery. GC
Published by Porter Press, ISBN 9781913089085
The Fred Opert Story
Peter R Hill
Fred Opert was involved in motor sport across the USA as driver, importer and entrant before managing European F2 outfits and, briefly, an F1 team – storm- tossed ATS. This little book depicts a character described both as “likeable” and “aggravating”, who had an eye for talent-spotting – he ran Alan Jones, Alain Prost and Keke Rosberg – and building a good team. Many first-hand tales add colour. He once collected Rosberg in a Model T Ford. GC
Veloce Publishing, ISBN 9781787115651