Reviews, October 1992

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Air-Road-Sea Addlestone by JH Rowe, DM&JL Barker, Addlestone. £4.95.

Those who seek the history of coachbuilding companies should note the availability of this little soft-cover book of 64 pages, which looks at the Bleriot, Weymann and Plessey works in that country town near Brooklands, from 1916 to 1988. While it does not tell the whole story either of Weymann bodywork or of the Bleriot Whippet and Eric Longden cars made in that factory, many interesting facts come to light.

Included are good pictures of the aeroplanes made there, of a racing Bleriot Whippet at Brooklands in 1922 and the racing Eric Longden “Chunky-Chunky” at the Southsea speed trials. There are also some pages reproduced from a Bleriot Whippet catalogue. More importantly, there are plans of the factory in various stages of construction, of the Lang propeller factory in 1916, Louis Bleriot at Brooklands with his car and aeroplanes and so on. Bus and radar enthusiasts are also catered for.

This glimpse of Addlestone’s past is available from DM&JL Barker, 47 Sayes Court, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 1NA. W B

I rather envy those who run the older MGs, because every year they have the excellent Triple-M Yearbook to enjoy, with a feast of very interesting MG articles between its covers. The latest edition is now issued. It contains articles on J4s in general and J4003 in particular, some nostalgic pictures from Malcolm Green’s photo-albums, a hark back to records established by pre-war MGs with pictures that are new to me, Nigel Musselwhite on the evolution of his PB Midget ‘Phoebe’ and much more besides. It also includes fine colour plates I liked the line-up of M-types in Connecticut and data on the SU Petrolift and oil filters for MMM MGs. All very worthwhile, with pictures both historic and contemporary. The Triple-M Register naturally hopes you will order it, and also a reproduction of a 1934 P-type MG Midget catalogue with competition shots and good chassis and engine pictures, from them. The person to contact is Malcolm Green, the Register’s librarian, Knowle House, Hooke Road, Horsley, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT24 5DY.

The MG Triple-M Register also promotes the most instructive K3 Magnette Dossier (£16.95), which clearly represents some painstaking research work which has resulted in a fine illustrated documentation of the K3 MGs, from K3751 and K3752 and from K3001 to K3031 etc. To list the successive owners, changes in car specifications and competitions successes must have involved hours of dedication. The names of those who raced K3s, from Nuvolari and Birkin onwards, make it worthy of close study. W B

Eye of the Cobra, by Christopher Sherlock. Heinemann, £14.99.

Many of the recent crop of motor racing novels centre around drug dealers being fairly beastly for 390 pages or so, and then being marmalised in the last 10 pages. This hackneyed theme is regurgitated once again in this new hardback from Christopher Sherlock, which is not to say that I didn’t enjoy reading it. Indeed, it took only a couple of evenings to digest all 400 pages, such was its capacity to absorb. It has a couple of unusual twists, too.

It also has a few failings, however, notably that several episodes are plain unfeasible, as is the hero’s ability to turn his hand to just about anything, and be the very best at it as soon as he does so. Motor racing has yet to find its own Dick Francis, but if you enjoy frantic adventure peppered with torture, sex and a couple of improbable deaths per page, this’ll be up your street. S A

Yesterday’s Motoring, by Graham Cowie. Heritage Press, 35 Oriwa Street, Waikanae, New Zealand.

This is a sort of long “cars we have owned” about the vintage and later cars of a medical family, with accounts of the author’s competition sorties, even some pages about Brooklands, where the family spectated in 1937/38, as they did at Crystal Palace and elsewhere before going to NZ.

Lots of pictures of vintage cars, with a bit of a treat for Fiat followers.

Superficial, but enjoyable. W B