“A Vintage Car Casebook” by Peter Hull and Nigel Arnold-Forster. 192 pp. 8 3/4 in. 5 1/2 in. (B. T. Batsford Ltd., 4, Fitzhardinge Street, London, WAH OAH. £4.50.)
This is a completely unnecessary book and therefore one which is quite irresistible. Unwarranted because it tells us practically nothing that is new, although grafting together. in a most readable and compact form, almost all that matters about 17 makes of vintage car— why only 17 and the Riley, Daimlier, Hispario-Suiza, even the Austin 7, omitted ? Because that is what the joint authors felt like handling!
It is on account of who these authors are that the book has to be read, and will be enjoyed, by most vintage-car followers: It is the continuing story, if not of Peyton Place, certainly of the history, purpose, eccentricities and fulfilment or otherwise of their outward promise, of vintage Cars from Alfa Romeo of course) to Vauxhall (ditto), that makes this book so enjoyable; that and to find out what Hull and Arnold-Forster think of them. Peter knows all about them authoritatively, Nigel because he takes them to pieces and I dare say puts them together again. So if must be recorded that I couldn’t put this one down, as the best reviewers say of the more likeable books, or, more correctly, I wouldn’t have done if there hadn’t been this Motor Sport thing to claim my attention. They— these two extroverted writers—are among those brave enough to be suitably rude about the later Rolls-Royees, have remembered Lord Hovenden and his 30/98, to whom I think it was Ted Inman Hunter drew my attention very many years ago, and have, mercifully, a strong sense of the ridiculous, while being quite serious about the serious part of vintage Motoring, even to quoting b.h.p. figures I gave with tongue in cheek for certain racing engines a long time ago. Sonic of the chapter headings incorporate badges, others do not, which is a pity, and the GN chapter would have been better before, instead of following that on the Frazer Nash.
But it is mostly fun, this one, as it must be when compiled by two true enthusiasts; one of whom went from Dulwich College to flying aeroplanes and thence to running a rag-and-bone business and the other of whom wrote his first book about Bentleys at the age of six—well, that’s what it says on the dust-jacket—and, I seem to recall, also spent part of his honeymoon under—a Trojan (car). A book I enjoyed.—W.B.