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From the PublisherClassic and Sports Car (UK), Fall 2006
“Impressive work … Packed with pictures and a superb selection of contemporary cutaways, it’s an enjoyable and insightful review … A superb achievement for Whitelock’s first book.”
Victory Lane, October 2006
“It is a superb result, well illustrated and written with chapters on the overall scene … making it a valuable resource and entertaining read. It was a dramatic period well captured by this book.”
Startline Magazine (UK), October 2006
“This book is the author's first and is well-written with in depth statistics and accompanying photographs. A third of the book is devoted to fascinating race reports which include sets of results. The highlight of the book is the detailed account of each marque of racing car and its developments during the period of its competition history. This section uses original photographs and cut-away drawings to keep the reader interested and offers a comprehensive detailed account of these beautiful racing cars. The book is well worth checking out if you have an interest in this period of Formula One racing.”
Motorsport Magazine (UK), October 2006
“Mark Whitelock rightly believes 11/2-litre F1 is due for reappraisal, and his painstakingly researched book provides a well-rounded survey. There are chapters detailing each year's racing, sections on leading drivers and circuits, and expertly written technical coverage of all the chassis and engines. Abundant photographs, cut-away diagrams and stats add to this book's usefulness.”
Editor of Cars For The Connoisseur magazine, March 2007( UK)
Shortly before he died last September Raymond Baxter arranged for me to be sent a review copy of the above, to which he has written the Foreword, and it was only over Christmas that I found time to peruse it. This is the study of a Grand Prix formula that no British constructor wanted, but which, ironically, became one that they would almost totally dominate. The 11/2-litre GP era is often largely overlooked due the perception that the cars were underpowered and hence unspectacular in relation to their forebears and successors. However, this was a period which saw significant technological developments such as monocoque chassis construction and huge advances in tire technology - despite Dunlop enjoying a virtual monopoly of racing tires. Whitelock paints the complete picture of this era featuring the twenty-one marques and the one-hundred and-one drivers that took part in one, or more, of the forty-six GPs run between 1961 and 1965 'on circuits whose characteristics differed profoundly, with cars still painted in their national colors, when spectator protection was as sparse as the money, and the paddock and its bar were open to the public.' The result of many years of diligent research this is a mine of information and should give pleasure to every true motor racing enthusiast.
South London Press, January 2007 (UK)
This is the story of a Grand Prix formula that no British constructor wanted, but which, ironically, became one that they would almost totally dominate, writes John Hyam.
The result of many years of diligent research, this unique book paints the complete picture of the 1½-litre Grand Prix racing years, featuring the 21 marques and the 101 drivers who took part in the 46 GPs run between 1961 and 1965 at venues including Crystal Palace. The 1½-litre GP era is often largely overlooked due to a common, if unfounded, perception that the cars were underpowered and hence unspectacular in relation to their forebears and successors. Such a perception ignores the tremendously significant and far-reaching technical developments that took place during the formula's currency: developments such as monocoque chassis construction now used in F1.
This influential period of Grand Prix racing saw the career of Stirling Moss come to a premature end among the tangled wreckage of his car and, in his absence, the rise to prominence of a new breed of British drivers in Jim Clark, Graham Hill and John Surtees.
Sadly, many of these marques and the majority of the drivers made little, or no, impact, yet their contributions, just like those of the prime movers, deserve to be remembered and recorded for posterity.
Review by Peter Joy for British Racing Mechanics Club, December 2006 (UK)
This 204-page hardback features 344 great black & white and color action shots and is Tony Gardiner’s very personal review of the glory days of the RAC Rally. These images, which have not previously been published, have an energy which brings the rally back to life and reminds us how far removed modern rallying is from the much simpler pre-WRC era. While it is neither a lavishly produced photo-essay nor an exhaustively researched history, if you have any interest at all in rallying’s golden age, an era when it was actually worth spending time in a Welsh forest being pebble-dashed by a passing ‘bubble-arched’ Escort, it is an absolute must. The book allows you to relive the events if you were there at the time, or offers the next best thing if you weren’t. For nearly 20 years, from 1964 to 1983 motorsport enthusiast and amateur photographer Gardiner, a professional illustrator, always took a week of his annual leave to watch ‘The RAC’, and reckons he covered more than 28,000 miles chasing rally stages around the country. He recorded hundreds of moments of action, each now frozen in time for posterity. Yet his photo equipment was basic in the extreme: a Russian made Zenith 35mm camera, without the benefit of any of the gizmos that were considered de rigeur by professionals even back in the 1970s. Most of the pictures in this book are the result of Tony’s dedication, although some photos have had to be sourced elsewhere to ensure a comprehensive account of the rally from the early ‘60s through to the mid-‘80s. That it’s dedicated to the late, great, Roger Clark shows where the author’s heart lies, and many of the best pictures are from the forests in the ‘60s and ‘70s, before the rally metamorphosed into the stadium-centred showcase it is today. His images are not always totally sharp, but that only adds to the atmosphere, and they are a fascinating reminder of what a diverse selection of often-unlikely machinery took part on ‘the RAC’ over the years. Alongside the inevitable snaps of Minis, Escorts and Opel Kadetts are unexpected delights such as a Rover 3500 automatic on the ‘68 event, a Fiat 850 Coupe on the ‘69 and a very sideways Alfa 1750 Berlina on the ‘71. Other less-familiar RAC entries making an appearance include a Shelby Mustang 350GT, Wartburg Knight, Volvo 142, Mercedes 450SLC and Porsche 914/6, to name just a few.
A good proportion of Gardiner’s photos were shot in color, which brings to life the muted colors of the bleak autumnal landscapes – and the spectators’ anoraks. If you’ve ever shivered beside a forest track for hours on end in some godforsaken quarter of the British Isles, all for the privilege of a split-second glimpse of a fast moving rally car, you’ll be instantly transported back in time. And if you haven’t, the pictures of moustachioed males in bobble hats, fisherman’s socks and Wellington boots will make you very thankful. Attractively laid out, with clear captions and concise descriptions of each year’s event, the book’s – and the author’s – lack of pretensions seem perfectly in tune with this most down-to-earth of rally subjects. However, the book’s proof reader must have cursed Stuart Turner’s ground breaking decision to employ Scandinavian drivers. At first I found the spelling mistakes a little surprising. In the end I took it as a personal challenge to guess how many pages I could turn before encountering the next one… The cover price of $79.95 may seem a little eye-watering, but this book represents a chance to view a collection of photographs that will not otherwise be seen. Whether ‘rally types’ have coffee tables is a moot point but if you love this era of competition, then this is a must-have. For people of ‘a certain age’ the memories stirred are priceless.