Lang Cooper 97
Peter Brock’s Group 7 USRRC sports car
Ed Heuvink’s McKlein-published books have many things in common, but the most important – for a book costing close to £100 – is stunning production values. You’re getting what you pay for, that’s for sure.
Following his books on Scuderia Filipinetti, the F3L and Ford GT chassis 101 among others is the tale of the Lang Cooper. Not a name that springs to mind first when thinking of early 1960s sports cars, but this is a story of tragedy, triumph and falling out. Derived from the Cooper Monaco, like other cars at the time, the Lang Cooper was one of the many ‘specials’ that added further colour to the USRRC’s early days before Can-Am stole the show.
But this book is a wider recollection of the time, understandable given the short lifespan of the car, filled with wonderful photos from an intriguing period. It was a time when America’s finest imports and exports were chasing home heroes. Among them was Dave MacDonald, a likely star of the future, whose career was cruelly cut short in a fiery accident in the 1964 Indy 500.
The prose can feel rudimentary at times, recounting race outings chronologically and simply. But what is around it, the thick paper, heavy cover and presentation sleeve, elevates the book to a higher plane and creates an artful package. JP
Published by McKlein
ISBN: 978-3-947-156-01-6, £79.99
Alfa Romeo & Formula 1
From the first World Championship to the long-awaited return
The initial response to this landing on our review shelf was ‘blatant cash-in’, because a Sauber bedecked in a few stickers is hardly an Alfa Romeo original in the Gioacchino Colombo mould. But this is from Nada, a publisher with access to high-quality archive material, so the content is better than you might imagine.
It is statistically quirky that Italy spawned three of the first four world champion drivers, but hasn’t produced one since, while Alfa Romeo was a major force in the F1’s early days… but hasn’t won a Grand Prix as a manufacturer since Spain 1951. It had some success with Brabham as an engine supplier in the 1970s, but endeavours since were relative flops.
This contains some powerful mono images from Alfa Romeo’s glory years, but for the most part this concentrates on the 1970s and ’80s, with a short chapter on the Sauber initiative by way of a conclusion. Unpromising as that might sound, bear in mind that Osella photographs were rarely published in period – leastways in the UK – so this drips with a certain charm. SA
Published by Giorgio Nada
ISBN: 978-88-7911-717-3, €38
Road and track cars
Ginetta is today one of the highest-volume manufacturers of racing cars (and spare parts!), but this is largely dedicated to the marque’s first phase, in the pre-Lawrence Tomlinson era.
All models up to the G34 are covered, including its oft-forgotten Formula Ford racers, and there is passing reference to this magazine’s once close relationship with the marque: former Motor Sportpatriarch Wesley Tee’s son Ian raced Ginettas, including a BRM-engined G16A that his father entered in the 1969 BOAC 500Km at Brands Hatch – Ginetta’s maiden appearance in the World Sports Car Championship. The book’s design is a little lacklustre, but the content is comprehensive – hardly surprising, as the author was registrar of the Ginetta Owners’ Club for almost 40 years. SA
Published by Crowood
ISBN: 978-1-78500-415-5, £25
Owners’ workshop manual
Ah, the 1980s, when F1 cars were uncluttered, pretty and McLaren and Honda actually worked well together.
While the more recent relationship between them was rather fruitless, the pair enjoyed the height of their powers 30 years ago, when they produced the McLaren-Honda MP4/4 – F1’s most successful car. Handled by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1988, it scored 15 wins from 16 races, 15 pole positions and achieved 10 one-two finishes.
In partnership with McLaren, author Steve Rendle has been given access to the team’s archives to produce the latest spin-off Haynes Owners’ Manual, and it’s both expansive and insightful.
Early chapters cover the back story of McLaren before also summarising the ’88 season. The most interesting parts are the design and anatomy sections, which are rich in detail with original sketches and photos of the car in build, laced with commentary from designer Steve Nichols and other high-ranking team members.
Original documents such as testing notes have been reproduced and give a unique insight into the operation of the car at the time. Technical breakdowns of components and the Honda engine can be heavy weather, and have likely been included to appease the hardcore fans, but what else would you expect from Haynes? RL
Published by Haynes
ISBN: 978-1-78521-137-9, £25
Motor Racer, Motor Mouth
David Hobbs with Andrew Marriott
Hobbo is the definitive account of David Hobbs’s career and even the most ardent fan will learn a thing or two from this colourful work.
There are chapters that verge into a timeline, giving a play-by-play account of Hobbs’ various – sometimes calamitous – forays into motor sport, and certain stories lack that much-needed injection of colour.
However, the illustrations, many of them from the David Hobbs collection, bring life to the myriad anecdotes, and come to the rescue in some respects. The very nature of Hobbs’s career, which seems to cover every form of four-wheeled racing under the sun, makes Hobbo an autobiography that will appeal to fans of Formula 1, sports car racing and Trans-Am. SK
Published by Evro
ISBN: 978-1-910505-31-1, £50