Book Reviews, October 1987, October 1987

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Formula Ford — A 20-Year World Success Story

Whether in 1600cc, 2000cc or Sports 2000 guise, Formula Ford has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 1967. This slim softback publication, which slips neatly onto the periodicals shelves of the larger newsagents, sets out its stall to prove that premise. And it succeeds.

Advertisements throughout make it clear that it is intended as a promotional vehicle for the formula and for those companies which support it. But it is also a jolly good read which will tell you all you ever wanted to known about FF — including the basics which your newspaper does not appreciate and which the specialist press takes for granted.

A turgid straight history of the concept has sensibly been avoided. Instead, its development from a twinkle in Brands Hatch supremo John Webb’s eye to the massively supported annual Festivals and World Cups is unravelled in a series of short articles by expert journalists — including our own JW. Each covers a different aspect of a formula which adopted standard Ford Cortina GT production engines in order to provide low-cost, bottom-rung, competitive motor racing.

Who will enjoy this book? The devotee certainly, but also the casual enthusiast who has yet to experience FF at first hand. Presentation is reasonable for the price, and the photographs (many in colour) are full of action. If this offering is preaching to the unconverted, they may not remain so for long. GT

It is a daunting title, but as cars gain more land more microchips, there is much to be learned from Automotive Electronic Systems by Trevor Mellard, a 156-page paperback costing £9.95 and published by Heinemann. LCD displays, fuel injection, adjustable dampers, and much more are described, and while it probably will not help you to fix anything, it is satisfying to have it all simply explained. GC

An excellent painting featuring pre-war aeroplanes, a 3-litre Bentley, a Morris 10/4, a GPO van and many personalities from the world of aviation and motoring is contained in A Flying Start To The Day, an account of the life of captain E E Fresson OBE, and Highland Airways, which he founded. Another colour plate shows the Monospar which took mails to Orkney.

These are both worth framing, and the entire 60-page book, including modern pictures of important post-war locations, will delight enthusiasts for pre-war cars and adventurous flying. The Miller paintings measure 123/4in x 16in. They are available separately for £2.95 each, the book for £3.95 from the Inverness Museum, Castle Wynd, Inverness. WB

Drawings and paintings, however well done, seem to lack the accuracy of photographs where history is concerned — although the camera can be made to lie, as we well know, in the faking of prints. Be that as it may, we have to commend very highly John Blake’s Flight—The Five Ages of Aviation, as seen through paintings by the Guild of Aviation Artists.

This book contains in its 151 very large (121/4in x 91/4in) pages some of the finest such paintings I have seen, each one fully captioned. Indeed, there is subsidiary text describing the many illustrations (from balloons to fighters and transport aeroplanes, ranging from 1870 to the present) and biographies of the 55 artists whose work has been used, including Nockolds, Cuneo and Shepherd. The foreword is by HRH the Duke of York, and Foulis is the publisher.

Coffee-table maybe, but only for the very best coffee-tables! For these 78 fine pictures, the price of £29.95 is not expensive. WB.,