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Homepage. This page: Real Racers, a book illustrated with images of Formula 1 in the 1950s and 1960s.

Real Racers.

Motorbooks (MBI Publishing Company).

Stuart Codling.
ISBN 978-0-7603-3891-9
Published 2011 (Hardback, 208 pages).
Book cover

UK RRP 27.50

Buy this Book:
Anyone with an interest in historic motorsport will undoubtably, at some point, have come across the photography of Louis Klemantaski, possibly without realising it at the time. All the images presented within Real Racers were sourced from the Klemantaski Collection, an archive of 500,000+ images, incorporating work by the leading photographers - including Klemantaski himself of course - in days gone by.
Books on motor racing aren't exactly thin on the ground, but this beautifully illustrated book, sub-titled "Formula 1 Racing in the 1950s and 1960s", stands out from most thanks to the quality of the images, and their reproduction, within this title's pages. The chapters are arranged loosely by the order of events at a typical Grand Prix meeting, starting with Arrival day, Practice, and the Start of the race itself, followed by analysis of some of the key players' driving styles and approaches to the sport. The Prologue introduces many of the names that helped to build up interest in motor sport in the 1950s and into the 1960s. Familiar names such as Moss, Brabham, McLaren and Hill are given appropriate coverage, as are names perhaps less familiar to the casual observer - for example Baghetti, Castellotti and Ireland. It makes for sobering reading, to realise just how many drivers in that period lost their lives in the pursuit of sporting success.
Comments from drivers featured in the book, either documented recently, or in the case of drivers no longer with us via recorded transcripts, accompany the rich variety of images to be found within these pages, helping to capture the mood and environment in which these masters of the track plied their trade.
The majority of the photographs are, unsurprisingly, black and white, and non the worse for it, but every now and then colour images from the 1950s stand out, a rare treat for anyone who can happily while away the hours staring at old photographs, in an attempt to appreciate those times, and draw comparison with historic race meetings that take place today, and that try to re-capture the olden days.
My favourite images are those that were taken behind the scenes, perhaps in the run up to a race, or afterwards, when the dust had settled and the tired, oil-soaked, mechanics were left with the task of loading up their precious cargo into converted buses and horseboxes, before heading off to another venue and another race. The colour photo of Raymond Mays, two BRMs, their Austin Loadstar-based transporter and various roadgoing cars, parked in a grassy paddock at Reims, is just one stand-out image in this fascinating book.
Even at the RRP of 27.50 this, I think, is a cracking buy, and a look around on the internet (for example Amazon, see above) brings up copies of this book for considerably less. Recommended reading.
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