Les Grandes Routiers

France’s Classic Grand Tourers

by William Stobbs. 183pp. GT Foulis and Co, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7JJ.£24.95.

This is a coffee table sort of book that contains some fine colour studies of some of the great French cars through the years, confined in fact to Hispano-Suiza, Bugatti, Delage, Delahaye and Talbot-Lago. It gains from the work of photographer David Sparrow, with the proviso that many of his best pictures are bisected to fit them into the book, an argument in favour of the landscape style. This is not a technical book apart from some specification tables. Running through it is a rather superficial but readable comment on France and the French, again through the years, by Francophile Stobbs. When he gets to the cars he tells us little that is new apart from a few perhaps fresh asides about the great men behind the cars. His inclusion of a morbid journalistic type story of a girl burned to death in a Bugatti seems an unnecessary introduction to Grand Prix Bugattis and tends to set the style of the book.

There is fun in identifying the current cars used for many of the splendid colour pictures, and they are fine, in detail as well as in the complete cars and beautiful houses that form part of their backgrounds. WB

If we writers are honest and accept the assertion that a picture is worth a thousand words we cannot fail to recommend Fifties Motor Racing as seen through the lens of enthusiast Alan R Smith, as published by GT Foulis & Co for £9.95. I do most certainly recommend this collection of photographs of GP racing here and abroad, in the 1950s. The reproduction of first class prints is excellent, the pictures themselves great reminders of the cars and personalities of these days. Alan Smith tells of how he became interested in motor racing after a Brooklands visit in the mid 1930s, after having taken his box camera to Croydon Aerodrome. In fact, the book’s first chapter is titled “Box Camera View of Brooklands and Donington” and I was personally disappointed to find only two “shots” taken at the Weybridge Track.

But the rest is splendidly evocative, and there are 191 black and white pictures, so here you have 191,000 “words”, for the cost of less than 1p per picture. Only a few are bisected over two of the 144 11″ x 8″ pages; I like the ones of a coil for use on Salvadori’s Cooper being removed from a unsuspecting spectator’s A7 Chummy and the stream of cars on the Stowe road approaching Silverstone for a 1950’s race meeting. The Foreword is by Roy Salvadori. WB

The attention of anyone wanting a full account of what the 1957-1963 Colin Chapman Lotus Elite was all about, with a list of chassis numbers against owners, historic racing commitments, and a Foreword by John Wagstaff, is drawn to PSL’s The Lotus Elite by Dennis E Ortenburger, priced at £17.50. WB

Our apologies to Motor Racing Publications for inadvertently saying, in our review of another book, that their Camel Complete History of Motor Racing, which I had already reviewed, was published by another publisher. This very complete coverage of GP racing is, of course, published by MRP of Unit 6, The Pitlake Estate, 46 Pitlake, Croydon, CRO 3YR and is highly recommended. WB

The Anatomy and Development of the Formula One Racing Car from 1975 by Sal Incandela, a work of 334 pages, has gone into a third edition, priced at £16.95 from Haynes/Foulis of Yeovil. WB

B&M Automotive Products, a leading manufacturer of street supercharger systems in the USA, has announced the immediate availability of an all-new publication titled B&M Supercharger Technical Manual, not a re-write or revised version of B&M’s previous publication B&M Supercharger Systems but a completely new book.

It is in full colour and within its 60 pages there are 38 illustrations and photos, 21 charts including a number of dyno tests and text covering a wide range of subjects related to street supercharging. The tests and the text primarily cover small block Chevy, big block Chevy and the small block Ford engines and there is an extensive section on how to build a street blower engine which relates to nearly any type of engine.

The book has a retail price of $5.95 and is available from B&M Automotive Products, Customer Service Department, 9152 Independence Avenue, Chatsworth, California 91311, USA. WPK