"The Ulster Vintage Car Book of The Ards TT"

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“The Ulster Vintage Car Book of The Ards TT” by John S. Moore and Members of the Ulster VCC. 96 pp. 71″ x 81″. (Blackstaff Press Ltd., 2550, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3JF. £2.95.)

This soft-cover book about the Ulster TT sportscar races is very good indeed, so it is a pity it was not ready in time for the TT Celebrations in Ulster. It is packed with good pictures of all these races front 1928 to 1936, some of them seen before but many never previously published. Each race is described and has a full list of entries, with remarks about how each car fared. This alone makes the book essential to those who keep detailed records of motor-racing or who like to know all that can be gleaned on the subject. But better than that, the writers have included fresh information, interesting small facts, about races that have already had so much written about them. It would be unfair to me to quote these welcome items of inside information, but I can assure you they make this book something different from being just a nice pictorial record of some of the most fascinating races ever held.

Bugatti followers are going to like the spread of four pictures of Type 435 in the 1928 race and even here, one caption told me something I had not known before. Other pictures capture to the life the great personalities of those Ards TTs – Earl Howe talking to the Duchess of Abercorn, “Goldie” Gardner (even though the picture has been cut down, so that you cannot see his waterproof trousers (ready for the 1929 downpour) mentioned in the caption, Malcolm Campbell, Birkin, Norman Black and the rest, and there is even a shot of the Lee Guinnesses closing the course in a 6 1/2 litre or 8-litre?) open Bentley, before the 1929 TT. Some of the spectators’ cars in the car-parks are interesting, Austins and Morrises prominent in the 1928 pictures, there is a sad photograph of the crashed Riley that caused the race to leave Ireland after 1936, and the back-cover shot of Harvey’s FWD Alvis trying to overtake Hall’s Arrol-Aster at Comber, in the wet 1929 race. exactly sets the scene.

I rate this book very highly it should be in every enthusiasts’ collection and in every Irish library. – W.B.

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Those who seek to probe the interiors of Grand Prix racing cars, from the 1958 Alfa Romeo to 1973 Ft cars, will find some clear art-work in Sven Zettergren’s “Formula 1”, offered at £3.50 by World’s Work Ltd.. The Windmill Press, Kingswood, Tadworth, Surrey. A pity it dots not dissect the 1977-78 cars, however.

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Rare data about engine-dimensions, chassis-dimensions, weights, and model-designations, etc of American cars from 1920 to 1929 will be found in “The Specification Book for US Cars 1920-1929”, a 326-page softcover publication from Motorbooks International, P.O. Box 2, 729. Prospect Avenue, Osceola, Wisconsin, 54020, USA. It sells there for 9.95 dollars.

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Richard Hudson-Evans’ “Handbook of Motorcycle Sport” gives you a useful introduction to different aspects of the two-wheeler game, in this 144-page Batsford publication, which contains 53 monochrome photographs and sells for £5.50.

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The Design Council has issued a book called “Design History-Fad or Function?” which contains a chapter on the relationship between American and British car design in the 1950s and 1960s,a paper originally presented at the 3rd Annual Conference on 20th Century Design History, held last year. This should interest those engaged in car styling. Copies cost £6.00, postage 40p and the book is available from The Design Centre Bookshop, 2a, Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4SU

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A limited-edition, English-translation luxury issue of Luigi Fusi’s great “bible” about all Alfa Romeos since 1910, an 874-page book with 828 photographs and 293 drawings, replacing that now out-of-print, is available for £24, or at a considerable reduction to VSCC members, due to David Black’s influence. Apply to Harrison & Jones (Holdings Ltd., Bee Mill, Shaw Road, Royton, Oldham, Lancs. But be quick!

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The involvement of Bill Muncey with unlimited-class hydroplane racing is the subject of Tony Hogg’s “Thunderboating With Bill Muncey”, a large soft-cover 104-page book containing some very good pictures, over 120. of them, of this exciting sport, and a colour cover. It is available only from Tony Hogg Publications, 177-F, Riverside Avenue, Newport Beach, CA 92663, USA. The price is 9.95 dollars. W.B.

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