Isn’t it a pleasure when an author comes up with something out of the ordinary? This is what Simon Owen (who sadly died before this book was published) has done with Racing Colours. Like many good ideas, it’s basically a simple one — what Owen has done in 192 small pages is to reproduce with great care and accurate colours a detail of 78 competition cars. For a couple of older cars like the 1908 PanhardLevassor, it’s the radiator. But for most of them, it’s a part of the bonnet or a close look at some side panels. The final pages were produced via Apple Mac, but only after Owen had carefully thought out and measured his subjects. The colourful variety is great: a selection of Ferrari GTO bonnets in various liveries, side panels and bonnets of a couple of GT40S, Denny Hulme’s Yardley Mclaren, a Rob Walker Lotus 18, Chaparral, Howmet turbine, the Martini colours on a Lancia rally car, and the dancing lady symbolic of Ligier’s Gitanes sponsorship. Not all the cars pictured were great successes, and there are quite a few private-entrant racers like George Follmer’s Lotus 23 with beautiful gold competition numbers. Others are very successful factory cars such as Clark’s Lotus 49 or the Le Mans–winning Peugeot 908. All have been pictured in a way that somehow draws you into the detail. Opposite each illustration is a quotation from a book or magazine article that’s relevant in some way to the car or driver concerned — another clever touch, as are the final dozen pages that show the meticulous care and measurement which went into every illustration. A different and enjoyable take on the subject!
$50 AVAILABLE FROM OCTANE BOOKS By Simon Owen ISBN 978 1 8458 4652 7
Available from Octane Books Review copy supplied by the publisher Review Mark Holman