As longtime readers of this blog already know, I often throw in a review of a book about auto racing. While the modern game is a bit tame, I think the history of the sport represents a romantic, hard-nosed and dangerous pastime worth reading about. Our most recent post dealt with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but I also like reading about the heroes of earlier ages.
Of course, at some point one needs to talk about Formula one, right? Well, we need to do more than just this…
So I picked up a copy of Peter Higham’s book Formula 1: Car by Car: 1960-69. Now, this book does exactly what one would expect, namely discusses every single car that raced in the hugely innovative decade of the sixties, a decade that began with the last vestiges of the front engined cars of the sixties still on the track and ended with (as you can see on the bottom right photo of the cover above) with cars that had begun to sprout 1970s style wings.
All right. It does what it says on the cover. So what?
So, the sheer amount of research, looking for the information, the description and, especially, decent photos of every car that made it onto the grid of every race is not an easy task. In fact, I’d call it Herculean.
Of course, front runners are easy. We all know everything about every chassis that Jim Clark ever drove, tested or even glanced at, but what about the LDSs and Sciroccos of the world? Can anyone keep track of the different engined people shoved into Lotus 18 chassis? Apparently Higham can, and you can follow along with this book.
Of course, labors of love of this sort can often be boring reads. If you are at all interested in race cars, this one bucks that trend. The accompanying text is not only full of information, but also of interesting anecdote and period feel.
So for any car buffs out there looking for a definitive guide to what raced when, this series (there are books on other decades) is a great place to get the data.
Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine author. For completists looking to get his previously-published stories all in one place, a good starting point is Virtuoso and Other Stories.