Book Reviews, September 1984, September 1984

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“Lunardi”, by Leslie Gardner. 191 pp. 8 3/4 in by 5 1/2 in. (Airlife Publishing Ltd, 7 St. John’s Hill, Shrewsbury, Salop. £9.95)

This is the story of the pioneer balloonist, Vincent Lunardi, whose story has been strangely neglected. This has now been belatedly rectified by Leslie Gardner, who discloses the remarkable-achievements of a man who was one of the first, if not the first, to fly. There is much fascinating social and aeronautical history woven into the story, the author “taking one” to the important scenes of Lunardi’s accomplishments, and the book should be very popular at a time when the origins of ballooning have recently been celebrated in France, and the growth of hot-air ballooning.

There is an attractive dust-jacket but the author has omitted to include Alcock and Brown between Bleriot and Lindbergh, as aviation’s heroes. —W.B.

* * *

The GT40 can be said to represent one of Ford’s most significant competition cars, this Broadley-based top-performance and endurance car establishing Ford’s supremacy over Ferrari at Le Mans in the 1960s, besides winning numerous other classic races, and then becoming available as a highly exciting road-car. In another Ford-orientated book from Motor Racing Publications, of 32, Devonshire Road, London, W4 ZH.D, “The Ford GT40 — An Anglo-American Competition Classic” by David Hodges, the story is unfolded in picture and text, with a list of the races won and lost, the specifications of the GT40. variants, and a reproduction of a road-test report from Motor Racing of 1965 by John Blunsden, added for good measure. The book costs £11.95 and effectively puts the whole GT40 saga in the bookcase. — W.B.

* * *

Haynes’ book “The Works Escorts” by Graham Robson with a Foreword by Roger Clark, has gone into a second edition of 9 in x 7 in x 296 pages, which brings the competition story of these Fords to a conclusion, with information about the abortive RS1700T rally car, the Ford/Fiat rally fights of 1977/8 and Ford’s 1979 Rally championship, etc. The price is £12.95. W.B.

* * *

“Drive It!” by Phillip Bingham. is sub-titled “The Complete Book of FORMULA FORD”. One might perhaps have gleaned this from the illustrations, a dozen of which are accident scenes, some very spectacular — and all credit to the photographers concerned for catching the action. Joking apart, here is full coverage of the FF scene, with pictures of the cars, drivers, constructors, and organisers, information about the racing-drivers’ schools, sponsorship, the cost of such racing, how to set tip and drive your FF car, with other chapters on the cars available, their design, and the top ten circuits where they are raced. There arc also a Business Directory and a table of the results of various FF Championships from 1968 onwards, all in a large, well-illustrated format. The publishers are the Haynes Group of Yeovil, the book’s price a modest £6.95. — W.B.

* * *

The complete book of Rallycross, titled “Drive It!” by Bill Mantovani, has been published by Haynes at £6.95 and the same publishing house has added the Brough Superior SS100, the KSS Velocette, and the BSA A7 and A10 Twins to its motorcycle “Super Profile” series, each of which costs £4.95. — W.B.

* * *

There is now a fine range of books covering the historic Brooklands Motor Course. It began with “Wheels Take Wings” before the war, developed with my “History of Brooklands Motor Course” published by Grenville in 1957 and recently revised, augmented by the rare “Fifty Years of Brooklands”, “An Illustrated History”, the motorcycle racing books, “From Brooklands to Goodwood”, Ballantine’s paperback “Brooklands”, “Wings Over Brooklands”, subsidiary accounts in other books, and so on. No room for another, you might think! Yet the subject holds intense appeal to some of us, so I welcome the little book about working at the Track front the Parry Thomas days and with T&T’s, by R. H. Beauchamp, CEng., MIMechE called “25 Years at Brooklands Track With the ‘Railton Era'”., which is a sort of extension of the articles I got him to contribute to Motor Sport some years ago. It costs £7.50, from the Regency Press, 125 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6QA. The Foreword by the late “Sammy” Davis runs to just 15 words! — W.B.

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