Book reviews, October 1989, October 1989

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Motor Sport In The 1920s by AB Demaus. 178 pp /10″ x 7″ (Allan Sutton Publishing, Unit 2, 2 Sheperd Road, Gloucester, GL2 6E1 £16.95.

Since his retirement from teaching Brian Demaus has collected many old photographic negatives, from which he has been able to produce fascinating picture books appertaining to past transport scenes. In this latest one he depicts typical sporting motoring at Brooklands, speed hill-climbs, speed trials, sand racing, Shelsley Walsh, the TT, road trials and motorcycle contests. Apart from brief introductions to each section, the captions tell the stories, and the browsing is of the most nostalgic kind. There is often as much fun in studying what is in the picture backgrounds as the vehicles themselves, such as the wartime cannon as backdrop to a Rhode in a 1922 trial and the MCC trials competitors passing a solid-tyred furniture van loading outside a country cottage.

The atmosphere of the contents will be appreciated when I tell you that the endpapers illustrate a Rover 8 climbing Blue Hills Mine during the 1924 Land’s End Trial and a D’Yrsan three-wheeler sandwiched between two Clynos in the 1925 MCC London-Edinburgh. One criticism- the author says that at the 1924 Herne Bay speed-trials Zborowski drove the Mercedes in which he was killed only three months later at Monza; but I suggest it was not the works 2-litre but his 12.7 litre aero-engined Mercedes hybrid that the Count was using at the Kentish seaside resort.

Not an important book but a pleasing one. WB

Shire Publications Ltd. of Princes Risborough have come up with Motor Cars of the 1930s by Ian Dussek, a theme which Robson did in more complete form some years ago. However this little paperback, is wonderful value at £1.75, especially as the photographic reproductions are of a high standard. WB

The Kimberley Grand Prix Data Book by David Hayhoe is a massive statistical book containing every statistic one might need to know on F1 facts and figures from 1950 to 1988 with the 1989 team line-up including drivers, sponsors, suppliers, personnel, addresses, telephone numbers etc bringing it right up to date. There are statistics galore on drivers, cars, circuits and races to keep the enthusiast amused for hours as well as provide a useful source of information for authors and journalists for £12.95.

Yet another book with a Brooklands reference is FANY — The Story Of The Women’s Transport Service by Hugh Popham (Leo Cooper/Seeker & Warburg, 1984.) There are two pictures of the Austin “Pobble” which Miss Muriel Thompson drove in the first Ladies’ Race in 1908 and in a match-race against Miss Ellis’ Arrol-Johnston — one on the banking and another after it had been turned into an ambulance.

Readers whose interests run to commercial-vehicle history as well as cars are well provided for by Haynes/Foulis, who from time to time comes up with large-format pictorial “scrapbooks” about different makes of truck, van and service vehicle. Its latest offerings are The Illustrated History Of Guy Trucks And Buses by Anthony E Guy and The Illustrated History Of Thornycroft Trucks And Buses by the well-known specialist Nick Baldwin. The former includes details of the Guy V8, the first British V8 car to go into production, and its ingenious valve layout and chassis lubrication system (no oil-can in the tool kit); the author is the nephew of the company’s founder Sydney Guy, and you cannot be much more authoritative than that! Rare private cars come into both stories, and I find them irresistible at £12.95 each. WB

Anyone interested in Wolverhampton made bicycles will find plenty of data and pictures in Jim Boulton’s scrapbook on the subject, available from him at 11a Ounsdale Road, Wombourne, Wolverhampton WV5 9JE, for £4.50 including postage.

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