Book Reviews, September 1952, September 1952

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“Rallies and Races,” by William Leonard (Foulis, 7, Milford Lane, W.C.2, 191 pp., 18s. 6d.)

This is the English translation by W. Walther of William Leonard’s book about the rally and race exploits of the well-known driver Maurice Gatsonides, which was published in Holland in 1950. Commencing with those legendary pre-war Monte Carlo Rallies (1936-1939), it continues with accounts of Gatsonides’ adventures in various Rome-Liege-Rome trials, Alpine Rallies, the 1947 Lisbon Rally, besides various sports-car races at Zandvoort, Leeuwarden and Le Mans.

The author’s style is “racy,” avoiding extreme technicalities. Gatsonides drove Hillman Minx, Riley Kestrel Sprite, Ford, Studebaker Champion, Opel, Humber Super Snipe, Sunbeam-Talbot, Aero-Minor, besides 1½- and 4-litre cars of his own construction. It is his adventures and experiences with these cars which Leonard describes, and anyone who competed in the same events or contemplates doing so in the future will value this account of rallies and races, well known to us, seen from the “foreigner’s” angle. The book is produced and illustrated in the high-class style for which Foulis are noted.—W. B.

“1952 Mobilgas Economy Run” (Floyd Clymer, 1268 S. Alvarado St., Los Angeles. 63 pp. 1.50 dollars.)

This is yet another of those vastly comprehensive Clymer paper-cover books telling the reader all, and probably far more than he or she can possibly wish to know, about the event from which the title is derived. There are scores of clear illustrations. With interest growing in this country in fuel-economy contests this book comes into sharp focus.

“Floyd Clymer’s Catalog of 1952 Automobiles” (80 pp. 2 dollars.)

This is a pretty breath-taking publication, both in respect of the pin-up girls whom American P.R.O.s set up round their firm’s automobiles (most attractive, those of Nash, the car that sleeps three) and the amount of detail given in respect of the automobiles themselves, of which all the U.S. makes are there (and almost all versions illustrated) including Allstate, Le Sabre, Buick XP-300, Cunningham, Muntz and King Midget.

The amount of technical data is stupendous; dimensions all ways, valve lift, size, seat angle and timing, pressure of valve springs, tappet settings, piston ring dimensions, bearing sizes, rocker ratios the whole design and servicing gambit, so that our “Buyer’s Guides” are pretty poor things in comparison.

Of course, the contents might be briefly disposed of as a “vomit volume,” that is if you have vintage leanings, in which case after a flip through the pages you will never wish to own anything built this side of 1931, from the States or elsewhere. But the lines of modern Americans can be conveniently studied in this book— one aspect becomes obvious—the American designer is troubled by where to stow the spare wheel and in at least three instances (Kaiser, Nash, Packard) it sticks up to mar the curves of the complete automobile. A very useful reference work, this.—W. B.

“Continental Sports Cars” by W. Boddy (Foulis, 7, Milford Lane, W.C.2. 2nd. edition. 136 pp. 12/6d.)

This book sets out to provide histories and details of the outstanding technical features of Continental sports cars. The new edition is right up to the minute with descriptions of the 300SL Mercedes-Benz, 4.1 Ferrari, V8 Fiat and Z102 Pegaso, etc. In addition, many famous vintage cars are covered, and the author not only goes to considerable pains to make clear the detail variations between different series, such as the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th series Lancia Lambdas for example, but in several instances includes servicing data. In all, 73 different marques are covered, ranging alphabetically from Adler to Voisin; under “Bugatti” will be found a full list of types, from Type 13 to Type 102, with notes of their distinguishing features. Another useful reference work, and inexpensive at that.

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