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Motor Racing - The Pursuit of Victory 1930 - 1962.

Veloce Publishing Ltd.

Anthony Carter.
ISBN 978 1 845842 79 6
Published 2011. (Hardback, 176 pages).
Review date Feb 2012.
Book on motor racing

UK RRP 30.

Buy this Book:
If, like me, you enjoy poring over photographs of motor racing in a byegone era, soaking up the details that often only stand out after several viewings, then this book is worth a look. Within its 176 pages are both colour and black & white photographs featuring the cars, personalities and the venues that starred in the pre-war and post-war eras, images we're told that have not been published before.
The text of the book is woven around key collections of racing images taken by individuals involved in the sport between 1930 and 1962.
Following a brief introduction to the earliest years of Grand Prix racing, the story begins with the photographs of Reggie Tongue, a handy driver of the 1930s, and first owner of ERA R11B, delivered to him in May 1936. Photographs, provided courtesy of David Morris, recount his adventurous sorties to circuits in the UK and across Europe, initially with the ERA, and later a Maserati 4CL, while the activities of top-line teams and drivers are also described, proving a good overall commentary of the racing scene, so dominated by the Silver Arrows, as the 1930s drew to a close. Images captured during the races and in the various paddocks frequented by Tongue, capture the era very nicely indeed.
Races featured include the 1935 French Grand Prix at Montlhery, the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, the Coppa Acerbo in Italy, and the Swiss G.P. at Berne. Auto Unions, Mercedes, Alfa Romeos, shown at rest and in action, often in informal settings and accompanied by brief descriptions, are a real treat for any enthusiast of pre-war racing cars and their drivers. The 1936 season receives similar coverage with images taken at Donington Park, Albi, and Berne, with 1937 catered for by photographs taken at, and in the lead up to, Albi, Coppa Acerbo once again, and Berne. The 1939 J.C.C. race at Brooklands, Reggie's first outing with the 4CL Maserati, is one of the last pre-war races to be included in the book, before the outbreak of WW2.
Chapter three, titled "A Glorious Failure", jumps forward to the early 1950s and concentrates on the ups and downs of the BRM team, founded by Raymond Mays, intent on taking the fight to the traditional continental racing car producers with an all-British conqueror, in the shape (and noise) of the V16 BRM, a magnificent machine to behold, if not to drive or maintain by all accounts. A hugely complex car to build and work on, it never accomplished the top-flight glory that everyone involved was desperate to achieve, but did pave the way for more successful designs, later in the decade.
While the mainstream car makes were continuing with their front-engined cars, others ploughed their own furrow. Chapter four introduces the Cooper Car Company, headed by John Cooper. He saw a future for nimble, rear-engined racing cars, and started out building 500cc-powered cars for grass-roots, single-seater drivers. The evolution of the Cooper cars is described in both text and photographs, many of the latter from Bob Dance's collection. The chapter goes on to describe the activities of the established teams, such as Maserati and Ferrari, as the 1950s un-folded, with references to British stalwarts Lotus, BRM and Cooper featuring often. With the majority of the text out of the way, the following pages are packed with images - many again from David Morris - of single-seat and sportscar races. Sometimes the flow of the book feels a little disjointed, but this is only a minor gripe.
The 1950's began with the dominating performances of the front-engined, continental Grand Prix cars, and ended with the new rear-engined revolution in full swing. Chapter five begins with an overview of Lotus, Colin Chapman its founder, and its star driver, Jim Clark as he made his way up through the ranks until he made it into Formula One. Bob Dance, a Lotus employee from the early days, provides his own experiences of life at Lotus, followed by a collection of images that he acquired during his time with the team. The archive starts with shots of the Trophy Meeting at Silverstone in 1954, and continues until the same meeting at the track in 1959. Included are some fantastic colour shots, of both cars in action, and parked informally in the paddocks, joined by all manner of wonderful old transporters and service vans.
Although outside of the period quoted in the book's title (1930-1962), Chapter six describes Bob Dance's time with Lotus as the 1960's unfolded, including his time spent with the Lotus Cortinas, and the DFV-powered Lotus 49s.
All in all, this is a very interesting book. I think as a book it could have flowed a little more naturally, but the quality of the photographs and their reproduction - especially the colour images - make this a worthy addition to any enthusiast's bookshelf.
RJ
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