Bumper Book Reviews
Highly enthused by book sales increases, Iain Robertson has been busy reading more of the latest titles for fans of motoring, business and travel interests, all of which he declares, once again, as ‘essential reading’ in their respective fields.
Formula 1 Car by Car 1970-1979
By Peter Higham
ISBN: 978 1 910505 22 9
Author Peter Higham has been exceedingly busy in recent months compiling a bumper series of decade-by-decade history books on Formula One, through its teams and racing cars. The first of the excellent series dealt with the Sixties, while this, the second edition, deals with the 1970s. Naturally, as an era of immense change, when major sponsors were attracted to the sport and its reputation as a premier sporting event earned it valuable TV time, private, as well as the major teams continued to compete around the world. Needless to say, the racing was dominated by Ferrari, Tyrell, McLaren and Lotus and many critics would argue that the period was in the vanguard of producing some of the most memorable events. This decade was also the most rewarding to Ford, with its Cosworth-designed DFV engine, although Ferrari also claimed three of the finest World Championship winning performances. As you look through the collection of over 720 photographs that pepper its 304pp, you also appreciate the tremendous advances made in aerodynamic designs, pinpointed by the ground-effects cars towards the end of the decade. As with the first edition, the quality of the writing is exemplary, Peter being a known writer, regular columnist and project manager in the field of motor racing and its reportage. It helps that he used to be a director of LAT Photographic, as he has been able to lean heavily on its wide-ranging archive of imagery, the bulk of which imparts the spectacle, often dangerous, always exciting, of Formula One in all of its powerfully colourful glory. The 1970s was a decade that started with tragedy, several of the most popular drivers crashing and succumbing to their injuries, at a time when safety in the sport was only just starting to have any relevance, mostly because of the enhanced media interest. As with the first volume, this is an excellent read that provides a comprehensive reference of a most evocative decade in F1 racing.
Ford GT40 MkII
By Mark Cole
ISBN: 978 1 907085 64 2
Porter Press International
Firstly, I should apologise for getting these books slightly out of publishing order! As the third in the excellent Exceptional Cars series published by Porter Press, it covers one of the most charismatic racing sportscars in the world; the Ford GT40. Given its model name, because it was a mere 40-inches tall, this is a car that has resulted in Ford-produced evocation models, as well as having inspired several replica manufacturers and even had an influence over the most recent Ford GT launch. However, dealing specifically with Chassis No: 1016, a car that gifted Ford its clean sweep of the top three results in the 1966 Le Mans race, it became a hallowed exhibit at Harrah’s famous Motor Museum, in Reno, California. In reality, its racing career was very short but Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson were its third place crew at the famed race. They followed the cars of Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon and Ken Miles/Denny Hulme across the line, all highly regarded and fondly remembered team-mates. However, 1016 did continue to race, albeit briefly, but not always in its Gold and Pink paint scheme. The book details its delivery from Ford Advanced Vehicles at Slough, to Shelby American in unpainted and untrimmed form, missing its front structure and possessing no front-end bodywork. Shelby’s work would turn it into a MarkII version, which also defined the use of the term ‘short nose’ for subsequent examples. Intriguingly, the book also reveals the use of an automatic gearbox in 1016’s early development programme. It was problematic but earned its place in racing history. The author, Mark Cole, has over 35 years of Le Mans history in his CV, working as both a journalist and commentator, while he also served as the press attaché for the FIA World Sports Car Championship. His knowledge about 1016 is unparalleled. This vehicle biographical series is building into something very special and meets the typical Porter Press high standards for reproduction, editorial and photographic quality. It is a fascinating read and another fine addition to Porter’s collection.
Austin Healey 3000 (The Story of ‘DD300’)
By Simon Ham
ISBN: 978 1 907085 70 3
Porter Press International
To be frank, I hold Porter Press in immensely high regard and I consider that its various titles are only of a class in which I would invest my own money. In fact, this slightly abbreviated book, first in a brand-new series of dimensionally smaller and more affordable ‘Porter Profiles’, deals specifically with the Austin Healey 3000, registered by one of its early, post-factory owners, David Dixon, as ‘DD300’. Built originally at BMC Competitions Department, at Abingdon, and registered as ‘UJB 143’, it debuted in the 1960 Sebring 12 Hours race, driven by Jack Sears and Peter Riley. Following its Le Mans entry that summer, it was sold to an enthusiastic privateer, the aforementioned David Dixon. Although he competed in the car for a few seasons, it ended up in the hands of John Chatham, who campaigned it successfully for the best part of 41 years. It was altered significantly over that period to allow it to contest different championships but was returned to its factory specification in the mid-1970s and enjoyed a tremendous career in historic racing. As one of the most recognised examples of the car, it is entering its seventh decade and still providing race victories to its current owners. Simon Ham, the author, is a keen enthusiast, who is steeped in historic racing, both as a fan and as a competitor. As with ALL Porter Press books, the editorial quality is superb, supported by first-class photography, both in period and current. In fact, although this book is of smaller format, it still carries a studio-shot series of photographs that show the car in its present state, as Porter’s larger tomes do. The same paper and print quality that makes the publisher’s other books such high quality are also carried into this new series. I shall watch its development with interest.
By Max Zanan
ISBN: 978 1 9775 4551 0
$9.99 (per Amazon)
(Author is publisher; perfectdealership.com)
Not so long ago, it was suggested that cars could not be sold online…well, they could but it was inefficient and fraught with minor issues. While the author, Max Zanan, may have harboured similar thoughts, he soon came around to regard online selling as important as many other fields of digital commerce. As a dealership and management consultant possessing a sound track record in sales, finance, insurance and dealer relations, his personal career soon expanded from top-flight selling to best practice and mentoring across the North American motoring scene. In his self-written paperback (112pp), the management guru intones that unless change is investigated and invested in, doing things ‘because that’s how they were always done’ is not a positive response. He is right. After all, look at what happened to video rental shops and High Street travel agencies. A transformation is needed in the vehicle retailing industry, most especially when you consider how ‘rental’, rather than outright purchase, is now becoming a norm in the UK. While the US-formulated content of his book may play out differently in that market, its relevance is still important here. I consider this intriguing little paperback to be something that all motor dealerships ought to read. Adapting to modern technology ought to be part of a broader management approach and ‘Perfect Dealership’ explores the whys and wherefores.
ISBN: 978 3 8297 0770 1
My favourite guide books, by a long chalk, are those produced by Marco Polo. The company settled on both a pocket-sized format and an editorial style that is not just colourful and informative but is also easy-to-read and access. The latest Japanese guide (164pp) has the usual fold-out sections, including a water and stain-resistant map as a back cover, with a transparent envelope containing a smaller scale map, complete with a detailed layout of the city of Tokyo. Packed with practical hints and tips, including ‘Dos and Don’ts’, there is a section on useful phrases, the publisher’s top 15 insider snippets, a ‘Best of…’ selection and both background information, as well as food, drink and shopping details. Broken down into north, south, east and west, the guide also details Discovery Tours, complete with road map, sports activities and even how to look after your children in Japan. Although prices can change, they are given in local currency as an approximate guide to costs. Next time you visit a country, take a Marco Polo travel guide with you. You will not regret it.
Mindful Thoughts for City Dwellers
By Lucy Anna Scott
ISBN: 978 1 78240 568 9
Leaping Hare Press
Every now and then, a charming book lands on my desk. The latest, which details the joy of urban living, is actually from a series of Mindfulness books published by Leaping Hare, which is an imprint of the much larger Quarto Group. It is fair to describe it as pocket-sized, as it would slot into the top pocket of my current shirt, so compact are its dimensions. Its 160pp are delightfully illustrated and hardbacked by a dense cardboard. Its logic for being part of the mindful set lies in the positive take it presents on living an urban life, at a time when city dwellers seem uber-keen on relocating to the countryside. It is not overly wordy but it spreads its contents across 25 concise chapters, insights on conscious living, that highlight the most positive and sometimes non-considered aspects of urban life. The author, Lucy Anna Scott, has resided in London for the best part of twenty years, although she declares that a six months stint in the countryside sent her scurrying back to the pleasures of the city. Personally, I like books that put a smile on my face and this one managed it. It is informative and enlightening.