Book Reviews, September 1947, September 1947

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36

“Blue and Yellow,” by Prince Chula of Siam, G.C.V.O. (Foulis, 8s. 6d.)

This is another book about “Bira’s” motor racing by his entrant, Prince Chula. It covers the 1939 and 1946 seasons, and those who have Prince Chula’s three earlier books, covering the 1935-1938 seasons, will want to add this one to their collection. It is well produced, contains some hitherto unpublished photographs, and runs to 176 pages. We got somewhat tired of finding in a motor-racing book accounts of “Bira’s” and Prince Chula’s domestic affairs, and the references to “Tich,” “Little Uggie” and “Herc,” the domestic dogs, became rather irksome. But as a history of two seasons’ International motor-racing through the eyes of an entrant, this is a most acceptable book. The reader will get many new angles on famous topics — such as the real reason why there was a rumour that the 11/2-litre Mercédès-Benz would come over for the 1939 Nuffield Trophy race, Chula’s version of the baulking story at Ulster last year, why “Bira” could not hope to beat Mays at the 1946 Brighton Speed Trials, and the full story of “Bira’s” drive at Le Mans, in an Alfa-Romeo saloon, in 1939. We learn that Prince Chula’s latest car is an Armstrong-Siddeley “Lancaster,” and receive some very interesting figures for his race-expenditure; from 1935 to 1939 Prince Chula spent just over £26,460 on his cars and expenses; while in 1945 he spent £2,080, incurring a net loss of over £1,844 after deducting starting and prize money. Those figures should be quoted to all schoolboys whose sole ambition is to own and drive their own racing cars. It is facts and figures such as these that make books like “Blue and Yellow” so necessary to the enthusiast, in addition to his back-numbers of the motor journals. Having read “Blue and Yellow,” we look forward to Prince Chula’s account of “Bira’s” 1947 races.

“Continental Touring.” (Automobile Touring Publications, Ltd., 15s.)

This useful work, compiled by such experienced foreign travellers as H. J. Morgan, Secretary of the J.C.C., G. C. Carlisle, Branch Secretary of the J.C.C., and E. D. Grierson, a barrister-member of the J.C.C., contains 32 recommended routes through France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg, together with absolutely up-to-date information on hotels and restaurants compiled with the co-operation of the Directors of the Club des Sans Club of Paris. Running to 210 pages, this book contains useful maps and a towns-index, and its notes on worthwhile sights en route are most interesting — albeit with an emphasis on war when it comes to history and, alas, no mention of motoring ” sights ” such as the memorials to Seaman and other drivers or of circuits other than Le Mans. For the new or experienced tourist, this is an addition to the cubby-hole that will simplify Continental travel most effectively. — W. B.

“Klemantaski’s Photo Album.” (Motor Racing Publications, Ltd., 7s. 6d.)

This is an album-size book, reminiscent of those free gift-books which people like Ferodo and the oil companies delighted to give away before the war, consisting of the pick of Louis Klemantaski’s fine motor-racing photographs, 35 in all. At least 19 are a re-hash of those pictures which appeared in Speed as “The Photograph of the Month” or in the Motor, before the war. Thus present-day racing is not portrayed. Naturally, these are fine photographs to have, and they are reasonably well reproduced, with a colour cover-picture from the Motor, but we would have welcomed some of Klemantaski’s post-war work. His Introduction gives a brief description of his photographic methods and each photograph is superficially captioned — for example, a date is not always given, while the V12 Delage, now owned by Clutton but seen in Sumner’s hands, is termed “the great old 10 1/2-litre.” The book runs to 45 pages, is spirally bound and carries a certain amount of advertising matter. It concludes with a table of engine capacities, suspension details and power and speed figures for the cars in the photographs, but here the 105 m.p.h. given for Leslie Johnson’s 328 B.M.W. would seem to be pessimistic, and the 450 b.h.p. and 175 m.p.h. quoted for “Bira’s” 2.9-litre Maserati distinctly optimistic. Laurence Pomeroy in the Motor, has estimated the maximum speed of the Maserati as 138 m.p.h., while its output would be about 200 b.h.p. Klemantaski’s shots of Staniland’s P3 Alfa-Romeo, the 3-litre Auto-Union, and the E-type E.R.A. are outstanding; some of his other pictures unquestionably possess great artistic merit and, for this very reason, obscure the constructional features of the cars. We must confess to being somewhat disappointed in No. 1 of this Motor Racing Scrapbook series, although, at a lower price, it would have been good value. — M. C.