We sift through a range of new books to bring you our best five books at the moment
JAGUAR FROM THE SHOP FLOOR
So much of what we read about classic cars is composed of received wisdom and urban rumour that it’s refreshing to hear it from someone who was there at the time. It’s also a welcome change to hear the story of Jaguar from someone who was working on the assembly lines rather than in senior management.
This is very much the case with Jaguar From the Shop Floor, with author Brian Martin recounting how he first started at the fledgling Jaguar enterprise as an apprentice in 1949, cycling the 40 miles to and from work each day and employed in vehicle assembly.
In time he moved to the experimental department and experienced the birth of the XK120, returning to Jaguar after National Service to become involved in everything from Mk2 to MkX and then the XJ programme, on which he was an electrical development engineer.
As a result the book covers all the significant pre-Egan eras at Jaguar and gives a previously unseen insight into the company from the viewpoint of those actually assembling the cars. We won’t spoil it for readers, but not all of the legendary senior figures come across as tremendously likeable. Meanwhile, there are some fascinating accounts of incidents and exploits in the experimental department as well as insights into the preparation of competition cars including the Le Mans entries.
All in all, a great read and a different perspective on a subject about which you could be forgiven for thinking there was no more to be written.
Jaguar From the Shop Floor, Foleshill Road and Browns Lane – 1949 to 1978 by Brian James Martin is published by Veloce under ISBN 978-1-787112-79-7. More details at www.veloce.co.uk.
SCHLUMPF – THE INTRIGUE BEHIND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CAR COLLECTION IN THE WORLD
This is an unusual one. Authors Ard and Arnoud Op de Weegh originally published the title in their native Dutch and this English language edition has been published by Veloce. The Schlumpf Collection is indeed one of the most magnificent in the world and has always been noted for its significant collection of Bugattis – the cars being manufactured in the town of Mulhouse where the museum is located.
The Schlumpf brothers built their fortune in the textile business and it was this which allowed them to indulge their passion for collecting exotic cars but when the global textile business took a downturn in the 1970s, they became mired in controversy. Plans to close factories resulted in industrial unrest and when the lavish but largely secret private car museum was discovered there was outcry. Attempts to raise funds by disposing of the collection were later thwarted by the French government refusing to allow export of the historically significant cars and there is a school of thought which considers the Schlumpfs to have been wronged by government action. They relocated to exile in independent Switzerland and lost control of their cars while the textile business disappeared, but the authors attempt to put the record straight by presenting the Schlumpf side of the story.
If anything it goes too far the other way, very obviously biased in favour of the Schlumpfs but aside from this it’s a fascinating account of how the incredible collection was amassed, complete with information on the individual exhibits.
Even if it leaves you wondering what the truth is behind the intrigue, the title most definitely does make you want to visit the Schlumpf collection.
Schlumpf, the intrigue behind the most beautiful car collection in the world is published by Veloce under ISBN 978-1-787113-09-1.
LAND ROVERS IN BRITISH MILITARY SERVICE
Covering the models from 1970-2007, this is indeed something of a niche title but if Land Rovers are your thing then you’ll find it interesting even if you don’t think you’re particularly excited by military vehicles. The fortunes of Land Rover during this era were so closely bound with the lucrative military contracts that there is much relevance to developments which later appeared on civilian models as well as various development dead-ends.
One of these is the forward-control Llama truck which reached the prototype stage before being rejected with the ghost of BL firmly in the wings: apparently the flimsy fibreglass cab cracked when personnel stood on the roof and the army questioned the lack of a viable diesel engine…
The title covers the Range Rover and 90/110 models as well as the 127, the Defender and Discovery so there’s plenty of interest for students of Land Rover history and it’s well illustrated throughout.
Land Rovers in British Military Service, coil-sprung models from 1970-2007 is published by Veloce under ISBN978-1-787112-40-7. More details from www.veloce.co.uk.
MORRIS MINOR – 70 YEARS ON THE ROAD
For fans of the Morris Minor, Ray Newell will need little introduction, as the author of several definitive works on the subject. His latest title celebrates the Moggy’s 70th anniversary in 2018 and rather than being a dry history book is a delightfully accessible work. The text is certainly comprehensive in covering the Minor’s development and is set alongside a collection of photos, period adverts and similar to make it an easy book to dip in and out of.
There can be few Minor fans who won’t find at least one new nugget of information or a fascinating detail here and it comes recommended.
Morris Minor, 70 years on the road is published by Veloce under ISBN 978-1-787112-07-0.
TRIUMPH CARS – THE COMPLETE STORY
With a title like this, you would expect a pretty comprehensive tome and you won’t be disappointed. Graham Robson has a number of motoring books to his credit, backed up with a spell working at Standard Triumph himself, meaning that together with Triumph writer Richard Langworth this is an authoritative work.
Beginning with the very earliest days of the company, the book runs right up to the end of the marque and to its credit even includes the Acclaim as well as a fascinating chapter on Triumph derivations including Morgan, TVR, Peerless and Doretti products. With extensive specifications on each of the models and well illustrated throughout, it’s quite possibly the only book you’ll need if you want to become well informed on the history of the Standard and Triumph brands.
Triumph Cars, the complete story is published by Veloce under ISBN 978-1-787112-89-6. More details from www.veloce.co.uk.