Book reviews, September 1985, September 1985

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“Roy Salvadori – Racing Driver” by Roy Salvadori / Anthony Pritchard. 249 pp. 9¼ in x 6½ in. (Patrick Stephens Ltd, Deningwn Estate, Wellingborough, Northants, NNB 2QD. £12.95).

How nice to have at last Roy Salvadori’s contribution to the very many racing-driver autobiographies now in print! Because Roy not only drove very interesting cars in most of the important races but he was at it for a long time – 1946 to 1974 in fact – and he was one of the more colourful and spectacular drivers of that period. Now living in Monte Carlo and concentrating on sailing, Roy has written in detail of his racing days from an unsullied memory, aided by Anthony Pritchard, and the resultant story is not only fascinating but an important contribution to motor-racing archives. Salvadori came to Silverstone again during the British GP period, to sign copies of his book.

Roy takes the reader from his start with the ex-R. J. Symonds R-type MG Midget and on through the mercurial years of racing as a Connaught works driver, for Aston Martin and with Cooper, BRM, Vanwall and so many makes of car, MG, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Frazer Nash, Ferrari, ERA­-Delage, Maserati (250F included), Lister­-Bristol, Cobra, etc, earning £25,000 a year from racing in his peak. I do not propose to extract the juicy bits from Roy’s book but those who buy it will get the inside picture of what it was like to drive those racing cars, for those teams, under some great racing managers, and to manage a team himself, of the Cooper-Maserati F1 cars, from 1965 to 1967.

The book is packed with interesting pictures, has a full list of Salvadori’s racing successes, and the Foreword is by Sir Jack Brabham. Salvadori was in particular a very good long-distance racing driver, so sports­car followers will get their money’s worth from this important addition to the motor­racing bookshelves. – W.B.

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“XR – The Performance Fords” by Jeremy Walton. 128 pp. 10 in x 7½ in (Motor Racing Publications Ltd., Unit 6, The Pillon Estate, 46, Pitlake Road, Croydon, CRO 3RY. £10.95).

The intention of this book is, to sort out the different XR Ford models and explain the purpose behind them. Who better to do this than Jeremy Walton, who has worked at Ford’s and has raced and tested all the XR series, driving each for extensive mileages on the road? He divides the book into chapters on Escort XR3, Fiesta XR2, Escort XR3i, Fiesta XR2 with CVH power and a fifth gear, the Sierra XR4i and the Sierra XR4x4. At first, useful as this is, I thought the book was more a resume of XR development methods, problems and purpose than a lively discourse by Jeremy of the XR Fords he has enjoyed. Until the last chapter, when under “X-rated action” he covers this, in condensed form, together with service costs and tyre choice, together with listed mpg figures and other data for XR Fords he has experienced. I was also impressed that he had included fresh data on the Sierra XR4x4 in a book published before this interesting new Ford was really on the market, and I note that the development work was done on Uniroyal tyres, which makes me glad the example I am trying is thus equipped. With a wealth of pictures, this is a book of value and interest to all XR patrons. – W .B.
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“Haynes – The First 25 Years” by Jeff Clew. 120 pp. 10 in x 8 in (Haynes Publishing Group, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7JJ. £9.95)

This 30,000-word book by Haynes staffman Jeff Clew celebrates the publishing Group’s 25th Anniversary. As they are concerned with service manuals, and other motoring titles under the Old Foulis reprint etc the book, although in the main of more interest to those in the business world, has much of sporting motoring about it.

For instance, John Haynes wrote his first manual after building an A7 Special while still at school in 1954, and from those humble beginnings the present publishing empire has developed. Incidentally, he sold the A7 through a two-line advertisement in Motor Sport that brought him over 150 replies, and after another ad in Motor Sport for his first booklet (about how to build an A7 Special) the entire first print-run (well, it was duplicated, actually) of 250 was sold out within ten days. The profit on the first year’s trading was £843 16s 10d, and the early Haynes books were distributed in an MG-A.

John Haynes raced, and crashed, a Lotus 7, at Goodwood and over the years has been a keen collector of historic cars, which now form the basis of his new Sparkford Motor Museum, referred to elsewhere. Jeff Clew tells in one chapter what happened when the Haynes Group “went public” in 1980 and five million shares were floated, bringing in more than £18,000,000. The public now owns 25% of the Company but some of the funds went into buying vintage and other old cars and creating the aforesaid Sparkford Motor Museum, which is now a charitable trust – so this book is perhaps more for the financial entrepreneur. But there is much of a motoring flavour in text and picture and the books and manuals published by Haynes, of which there is a new one every two days, and the 254 Directors and staff of the Group, as at May this year, are listed in the Appendices. – W.B.
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The ‘Great Marques’ series from Octopus Books (59 Grosvenor Street, London W1) has already established itself a good reputation for presentation and value. The latest volume, ‘Alfa Romeo’, can only reinforce this, because it is a really excellent and comprehensive outline of Alfa history. Author David Owen, who will be familiar to enthusiasts through other works such as his “Alfissimo!”, writes crisp, readable text, dense with information, and Ian Dawson’s numerous colour photographs are a delight, combining with contemporary black and white pictures to cover all the essential models in this 7Sth Anniversary year of the marque. The book is almost up to date, in that the new 90 is mentioned but not the 75, and includes a brief reference to Alfa’s current F1 efforts, although the much more successful career of their F3 engine on the Continent (and in recent weeks in Britain in the hands of Tim Davies), is not mentioned.

At £5.95 this book can be strongly recommended to all lovers of Italian motor cars.-G.C.

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A big soft-cover book of reproductions from the motoring Press of Jowett material has been compiled by G. I. Garside, covering the period 1921 to 1949, so that it constitutes a very broad canvas, taking in the earlier post-war twin-cylinder Jowetts, the flat-four 10 hp Jowetts from 1935, the Jowett and Bradford commercial vehicles, and the post-war Javelins and sports Jupiters. Many of the famous contemporary Jowett advertisements are also reproduced, including the one commencing “The only thing that can beat a woman at her own game is the echo (how many lady customers did that lose?) and another about “Yorkshire Modesty” which praises brass bands, choirs, Yorkshire hams, cricket-teams, the Minster, the monastic ruin at Fountains Abbey, before getting in a puff for Jowett cars… And I like yet another ad which reads: “In The Doldrums – to our extreme disappointment we are compelled to announce that so far at the Show we have not signed any contracts running into millions of pounds. Other firms seem able to do it, but we can’t. Can it be that our Sales Manager is always off our Stand when these anxious buyers are floating around? Never mind. We’re working night and day and our ‘Kestrels’ are winning golden opinions wherever they go.” – one always wondered about those million-pound fleet orders that were announced on the opening day of the Show! These able Jowett ads were penned by Gladney Haig.

This collection of Press articles about Jowett includes T. R. Nicholson’s account of the three African journeys, ex-Publicity Manager John Baldwin’s long story of his years with the Company, Jowett production methods in 1935 as described in The Automobile Engineer, many road-test reports, including those of the vans from The Commercial Motor, a very complete and interesting story of Jowett by Maurice Smith, who worked there from 1921 to 1952, reproduced from the late lamented Lord Montagu’s Veteran & Vintage Magazine, and the complicated story I wrote for Motor Sport in 1953 about the Technical Development of the Javelin and Jupiter Flat-Four engines – I can still recall the strain and headache of sorting all that out. Not every Jowett press story has got into this 112-page 11 3/8 x 8 ¼ in book; I came on one in The Autocar of 1935 called “In the Hambledon Hills with a 7 hp Sports Tourer”, for example. But Jowett fans who obtain a copy are in for lots of reading. The book is available from Mr G. I. Garside, 19 Well Grove, Brighouse, West Yorkshire, for £8.95 post-free; but it surprises me how generous are publishers over such reproductions, when they sell such books themselves. – W.B.
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The latest from Brooklands Books is their “Mercedes-Benz 230/250/280SL, 1963-1971” book of road-test reports and other articles reproduced from various magazines. It includes Motor Sport’s account of the 1965 230SL and costs £5.95 or £6.50 post­free from the publishers at Brooklands Book Distribution Ltd, Holmerise, Seven Hills Road, Cobham, Surrey. – W.B.
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Those who remember Louis T. Stanley and his influence on a proper medical service at motor race meetings will be interested to know that “Big Loo” as he was sometimes affectionately called has written another book, “Behind The Scenes”, recalling most of the leading racing drivers of his day and painting his recollections with his usual pungent pen. In this, his 63rd book, Louis Stanley quotes pithy and volatile anecdotes about great drivers, their women, and other famous personalities, illustrated with excellent photographs, and if this is to your liking you will enjoy this book very much. There is a great deal of death in it, but the BRM story as well… It is published by Queen Anne Press, Maxwell House, 74 Worship Street, London, EC2A 2EN, all 288 pages and 16 chapters of it, at £10.95. The Preface is by Prince Paul von Metternich, the Foreword by Walter Haynes. – W.B.
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The fourth publication in the Historical Series issued by the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust has now been published and uncommonly interesting it is. By Mike Evans, it is titled “In The Beginning” and covers the Manchester origins of the Rolls-Royce Company. It does this with unique material, presented as a formidable collection of early photographs and illustrations, with supporting text. Not only is there data about the beginnings of the Rolls-Royce Company but about Royce himself, from childhood onwards, and his pre-motor productions. Pictures of Sir Henry Royce’s grandfather and parents and the houses where he was born and subsequently lived are included in this historical tour de force and fascinating detail there is aplenty, from Royce’s childhood and early career up to the time of his historic meeting with the Hon C. S. Rolls, and subsequently. For instance, did you know that at the time of this meeting that was to have such a profound influence on Royce’s future he was busy preparing a car for participation in the Automobile Club’s “Sideslip Trials” in which he had entered a Royce fitted with Parsons Non-Skid Chains for this week-long 850-mile event? There is a great deal more of this kind in this fascinating book – how the first Royce was tested, with data from its log-book, the tools and manufacturing methods in use at the Manchester factory, and much earlier information, with illustrations, of Royce’s electric motors, cranes, etc.

Even the bonnet dimensions of the two-cylinder 10 hp Royce and similar obscura can be deduced from this very readable 169-page soft-cover publication. It is available for £5.00 post free from Richard Haigh, Chief Librarian, Rolls-Royce Ltd, PO Box 11, Derby, DE2 8BJ, cheques payable to the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, or you can join the Trust as an Associate for £2 per annum and get a reduction on its valuable and entertaining books, in this case of one pound. – W.B.