Books and Models
The latest reads and miniatures
By Michel Bollée, £43.95, editions-palmier.com, ISBN 9 782360 591053 Michel Bollée’s exhaustive investigation into the creation and racing record of Aston Martin’s ‘Project’ cars may purport to be a straightforward historical document, but in reality it’s a story of obsession. As Bollée states, while the DBR1 proved Aston had the ability to dominate sports-racing, David Brown wanted to unite road car commercial success with unassailable Gt-class track pedigree. His enemy was the Ferrari 250 GTO, and as this excellent book demonstrates, beating the GTO was a fixation that was to end in tragedy.
The French/english text is clear and un£ashy, telling the story in forensic detail. Every race is recorded, typically ending in retirement after something broke. But it isn’t a book about failure, rather one of dogged determination.
Albany’s Racing Revolution 1936-1940 By Graeme Cocks, £30.30, motoringpast.com.au This 147-page softback is a window on a world that would potentially be forgotten without the diligence of author Graeme Cocks. The so-called Albany Round-the-houses race served pre-war as the Australian Grand Prix, and yet the fact that Cocks has had to assemble this account from local newspaper clippings and cadged photos from locals sums up what an undertaking this pictorial study has been.
It’s the story of a wild race, the variable surface making it closer to rallycross than F1. Through the eyes of its spectators we see it evolve from local mechanics battling each other in specials to works Bugattis and MGS fighting for supremacy on one of the few road-races to be suburban, as opposed to city-centre or Tt-style country lanes. Local anecdotes and behind-the-scenes accounts of charming amateurism add further colour to a unique story.
Mclaren Universal Pictures DVD, £19.99, universalpictures.co.uk This sumptuous biopic – part drama, part documentary, seamlessly integrated – may well change your opinion of Bruce Mclaren.
The film feels intensely personal, drawing heavily on letters Mclaren wrote to his mechanic father back in New Zealand as well as interviews with his close friends and family.
This is a must-view film for motor sport aficionados, but it’s consistently a human story about a man who overcame disability to achieve unprecedented success in both sport and engineering, making the film’s inevitable conclusion utterly gut-wrenching.