Book Reviews, October 1975, October 1975

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“History of Lamborghini” by Rob de la Rive Box and Richard Crump. 169 pp. 9 3/4 in. 7 in. (Transport Bookman Ltd., Lyon Park, Branford, Middlesex. £7.00. Postage 35p extra.)

With the appearance of this book, a joint effort by Richard Crump of the VSCC and his Motor Trade friend Rob de la Rive Box, another gap in the tiles of one-make history is filled in. Ferruccio Lamborghini did not turn to automobile production until 1947 and it wasn’t until 1963 that he began planning production of the Lamborghini GT cars, as rivals to the best that Italy could then offer in this field. So it may be thought that this history of a so-recent make is rather premature. However, Lamborghini owners will no doubt welcome coverage of all the Lamborghini models to date, and a potted description of how it all came about.

This the book offers. There are 19 1/2 pages about the beginnings of Lamborghini supported by numerous pictures and another 133 of these art pages are devoted to tabulated specifications and good illustrations of all the Lamborghini models — 350GTV, 400GT, Marzel, P538, Monza, Miura, Espada, Islero, Jarama, Jota, Urraco, Countach, and variants of these. As the authors remark, the Countach may be the last of the supercars the World will see and it is pleasing to have this compact record of how it began and where it has got to, at Sant Agata. I would have liked broken-down production figures, a list of owners, and a little more inside information for the price of the book, although if you can afford to buy and run a Lambo, what is seven quid for its story? There are some Press quotes, from British and American motor papers; about the only one from Motor Sport seems to be D.S.J.’s comment that the Espada at the 1968 London Motor Show should have been given a prize for ugliness, although we have kept a pretty careful eye on Lamborghini along the years. The only performance figures quoted concern estimated top speed, so far as the tables are concerned and in other ways the book is a bit superficial. Nice to have it, nevertheless. Incidentally, for the record, as they say, I do not think Ferruccio found a 500 c.c. four-cylinder Fiat to tune in 1947 but I can believe that he increased its engine capacity by 181 c.c. — W.B.

“How To Watch Motor Racing” by Stirling Moss. 152 pp. 8 3/4 in. x 5 1/2 in. (Gentry Books Ltd., 85, Gloucester Road, London, S.W.7. £3.25.)

This is a subject which D.S.J. has written about in these pages and now Stirling Moss has devoted a complete book to it. Stirling deals with not only how to get the maximum of enjoyment from watching motor racing but what it is all about — blending history with why competition cars are built the way they are and the techniques of driving them, even to elaborations of those early diagrams that sought to show how to corner quickly. He then goes on to discuss watching practice starts of races, how to effectively keep a lap-chart, and how to understand and appreciate the techniques used by drivers as a race progresses. He gives tips about using a stopwatch at races, describes some typical hardfought contests and the book concludes with a spectator’s guide to the GP circuits, Moss starting with Monaco as the one he says is ideal from both the onlooker’s and the driver’s angle. The book touches on other aspects of the Sport besides GP racing and, being written by an expert, is something for reading during the winter in preparation for another season’s spectating next year.

The dust jacket has a fine picture of the author, even if, as someone remarked, he seems to have gone in for a blue-rinse. I liked the picture of Nuvolari in an Auto-Union and primitive vizor at Berne in 1937 but was horrified that Stirling does not appear to be certain that it is a Crouch that his father was driving at Brooklands in the 1920s. — W.B.

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One of the best general books about motorcycles yet published is ”Classic Motorcycles” by Vic Willoughby. It is packed with excellent pictures of bicycles old and new, mostly in fast action, backed by sectioned drawings of engines, etc., and supporting text by this very knowledgeable writer. Willoughby tells how he got his BMCRC Gold Star at Brooklands on a petrol-burning 1939 Velocette Mk. VIII, the only petrol 350 to do this and most of his text is about racing. There are 25 colour plates and all the great makes are dealt with, from ABC (and even Ner-a-Car) to Yamaha vee-four. I am not writing more, because I want to get to really enjoying this book, which is just the job for introducing car folk to two-wheeler history, even up-to-date history. It is excellent value at 43.95, especially as many of the 240 photographs are rare contemporary shots. I love the one of the “Right Crowd” watching Fernihough being push-started at Brooklands on the blown Brough Superior but younger enthusiasts will warm more to the many pictures of Husqvarna, Benelli, Ducati, MZ, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and the like. The publishers. are The Hamlyn Group’, Astronaut House, Hounslow Road, Feltham, Middlesex.

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More titles have recently been added to the Olyslager Auto Library. They include a pleasing survey of “Motorcycles to 1945” with reproductions of contemporary advertisements, and lots of rare and interesting pictures, even drawings by motorcycle artists, while as the Editor is Bert Vanderveen there is much absorbing data appertaining to both World Wars, with a table for the numbers of each make of machine in possession of the British Armed Forces in 1918, together with a breakdown of makes of sidecars. Fascinating, as well as informative. Other titles in this series are “Cross-Country Vehicles from 1945”, also edited by Vanderveen, and “British Cars of the Late Fifties (1955-1959)”. The publishers are Frederick Warne, 40, Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3HE and each volume costs £2.95.