Tony Bettenhausen & Sons
An American Racing Family Album
Gordon Kirby & Susan Bettenhausen
American independent Racemaker has of late introduced several very fine books that combine high production values with content you are unlikely to find elsewhere. This is from precisely that mould.
As the ‘album’ part of the title suggests the content is mostly photographic, although Motor Sport’s US editor Gordon Kirby
provides some solid textual structure. Of the many US racing dynasties, the story of the Bettenhausens – double US national champion Tony and his sons Gary, Merle and Tony Jr – has been told less frequently than most and is beset by far too many hard knocks. Not always an easy read, then, but this is a worthwhile record of a racing family whose influence is sometimes perhaps overlooked. SA
Published by Racemaker Press
ISBN: 978-1-935240-12-9, $59.95
Le temps des gladiateurs
A curious one, this. Written by a family doctor based in southern France and dedicated to the author’s hero Masten Gregory – something of a rare accolade in literary circles – it reflects an age when the sport was arguably more dangerous than implied by the simplistic message on the back of your admission ticket.
Essentially covering the 1920s to the early 1980s, the book’s themes include Dick Seaman, Bernd Rosemeyer, Archie Scott Brown, Jean Behra and the final world championship F1 race on the original Spa.
Although there is an acknowledgment for English translator Alan Varley, this is essentially a French book that happens to feature a selection of extended captions and sidebars in English. It’s nicely done, but you’ll need more than a passing familiarity with Robespierre’s mother tongue to get the most from it. SA
Published by Editions des Abeilles
ISBN; 978-2-9556946-0-2, €48
The Original Ford GT 101
We all know the story of the fabled Ford GT40: smarting from a failed attempt to take over Ferrari in 1963, Henry Ford II determined to create a sports car that would end the Italian’s dominance on the track and humble the hubristic Enzo. Three years later a pack of GT40s crossed the line at Le Mans in a 1-2-3 formation and the legend was born.
What is a little less well known is the chequered development of that famous car, a story that this sumptuous coffee table book aims to tell.
Things began badly: less than a year after the programme started two prototype cars were brought to the Le Mans test weekend. It soon became apparent that Ford was woefully unprepared. While Roy Salvadori complained that chassis 102 was “appalling”, the other driver Jo Schlesser in chassis number 101 found himself slithering off the track at the Mulsanne kink at about 150mph. Schlesser was unhurt but the car was destroyed. Evidently, development improved thereafter, but the shattered chassis 101 would play no further part in it.
Fifty years later the car was rebuilt by a collector and now confines its appearances to concours d’élégance.
Published by McKlein and written by Ed Heuvink, The Original Ford GT 101 tells the full incredible story of Ford’s foray into racing and documents the history of chassis 101, including a forensic retelling of its restoration. Illustrated with evocative period pictures – many previously unpublished – as well as more modern photographs of the car being restored, and including a foreword by Henry Ford III, this is manna for enthusiasts.
The book is limited to a run of 999 and costs a not insignificant £65 but, like the
Ford GT project itself, is worth the effort
and expense. JD
Published by McKlein
ISBN: 978-3-927458-82-6, €79.90
Lotus 98T Owners’ Workshop Manual
The 98T is to this day Lotus’s most potent F1 car, but it is perhaps more famous for being the last Lotus to wear the famous black and gold John Player Special livery. Driven by Ayrton Senna and Johnny Dumfries in the 1986 season, it helped Lotus reach third in the championship for constructors and to many fans is indelibly linked to a golden age.
To celebrate 30 years since the car’s final competitive race at the 1986 Australian Grand Prix, Haynes has produced its latest owners’ manual to offer fans a glimpse beneath the skin of the 98T. The manual not only delves into the intricate details of the car’s drivetrain, but also gives a useful overview of the history of Lotus as well as including information on models as far back as the 93T.
As with previous manuals on Formula 1 cars the book features an array of detailed cutaways, illustrations and period photographs with forensic descriptions of the car’s mechanics and design – there is even a scan of the patent for the 98T’s turbocharger inlet systems, illustrating the depth into which the manual goes. It also provides a diverse range of first-hand period perspectives and dedicates an entire chapter to Senna, who had the job of taming the 1000bhp machine on track. It is best, however, when exploring the Lotus team’s work on the 98T’s aerodynamics, which were way ahead of their time in period.
Those interested in the mechanics and specifics of the 98T or in Lotus F1 history (especially of the 1980s) will enjoy this.
With many contemporary photographs and interviews, the manual offers far more than just a number of mechanical illustrations. It is also an engaging snapshot of a popular period in Formula 1 history. WC
Published by Haynes
ISBN: 978-0-85733-777-1, £22.99
Bluebird CN7 – The Inside Story of Donald Campbell’s Last LSR Car
‘Inside story’ gets over-used, but here it’s literal – what lies under the flowing blue flanks of Donald Campbell’s final Land Speed Record car.
Author Donald Stevens joined the Norris brothers, responsible for so much Campbell record machinery, back in 1954 when the very successful water record hydroplane K7 was being designed and was involved from initial sketching of the fat blue cigar that would annex the record. If you enjoy machines and technical drawings, then relish this mix of paperwork from initial simple sketches through trial layouts to final drawings, accompanied by photos of the people, components, assembly and testing that produced the car, including a lovely shot of BP men practising refuelling on a dummy Bluebird – some bent tubes over painted lines.
Interesting nuggets include details of CN7’s head-up display, and the news that Raymond Mays told them you couldn’t use a wing for downforce in F1… GC
Published by Veloce
ISBN: 978-1-845849-75-7, £30