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From the PublisherVSCC Bulletin, Spring 2008
The magazine for the Vintage Sports Car Club, UK
All too frequently overshadowed by the racing and sports models, the touring cars that this book covers include some types of great merit, as well as well as making passing reference to the abortive Types 28 and 33 (despite the omission of the latter from the book's title). As with the other Bugatti models featured in this Veloce series, a wealth of photographs is reproduced that will appeal especially to the reader who is fascinated by the coachwork of the period. The photographs are grouped under appropriate subject headings, and each has an introductory text by one or other of the authors, or, in the case of the technical appraisal of the T44 chassis, by Hugh Price. It has to be said that some of these essays are superficial, and most are brief. Barrie Price describes the T30, the first 8-cylinder model to achieve series production in standard condition to be 'abominably rough, and fragile if driven fast', yet some 600 examples are reported to have been made. So, both numerically and by virtue of its engine, the T30 was a major milestone in Bugatti evolution, yet it receives scant mention: Types 44 and 49 occupy the major part of the book. It is the photographs that create the atmosphere and appeal of this book. Most are period ones, dating both from when the cars were new, and from the 1940s and 1950s, by which time some examples had been the subject of 'modernization', usually with results hideous to modern eyes. Where known, the precise date of these images would have been of value: captions (only) appear in French as well as English. Most usefully, chassis numbers generally are quoted in the captions. Some photographs taken recently are included, and the styling of replacement bodywork can be good. And, yes, the Editor's Harrington-bodied T44 coupe is there! Fiacre-styled bodies, apparently all built by the factory, have a chapter to themselves, these are as charming as they are idiosyncratic, but they must have been claustrophobic – and a repeated sentence in the introduction here escaped the proof readers. Today, just about exclusively seen as a touring chassis, the T44 did have significant success in competition, a pleasant surprise to this reviewer. Coachbuilders, drivers and period vents are individually indexed. Warmly recommended and good value as a picture book.
Race Engine Technology, September 2008
Back in 1995 I had reason to devise a series of magazine articles for another publication about how to build your own racing car, writes Ian Bamsey. I figured the best way to do that would be to follow a project from conception to track and I asked around to find a budding amateur builder of proven competency. To my surprise, it didn't take me long to track down a suitable candidate. I first met Tony Pashley at Gurston Down in South West England. Gurston Down is a snaking asphalt farm track, unusually for a UK hillclimb course dipping downhill before climbing up again. Tony was based not so far away at Bridgewater in Somerset, handy for where I was based and when I met him was campaigning his first self-built racing car, which he called the Marengo. It was a 600cc motorcycle-engined single seater and it turned in a very respectable performance on the Gurston Down asphalt that day. I learned that it had gone well on a number of UK hillclimb courses and, happily for me, that Tony was already itching to make a second car, based on what he had so far learned. So it was that the 'Pashley Project' was born. I recall not long afterwards, visiting a magazine trade exhibition in London. The very first stand I went to was one offering specialist magazine packaging services and the person I spoke to ask the name of the magazine I was publishing. I replied that he wouldn't have heard of it since it was a specialist motorsport technical title but when pressed for the name, he replied: 'Yes, I know it - I am planning on making a car just like that Pashley Project for the road!' The Pashley Project kept on running and running for as soon as he had finished his second car, Tony wanted to make a third (this time monocoque rather than spaceframe). It had quickly become apparent that Tony was not only extremely competent at building racing cars from a home garage, he was also brilliant at writing the installment articles himself, plus he could do the photos, too. In fact, prepared to let the rest of the world learn by his mistakes as well as his successes and an excellent communicator, Tony was in the ideal position to write a book entitled 'How to Build Motorcycle-engined Racing Cars'. Now he has done just that. Part of the Veloce Publishing 'Speedpro' series, 'How to Build Motorcycle-engined Racing Cars' delivers just what it says on the cover by way of very sound, hard-worn practical advice. I am glad Tony joined forces with Veloce Publishing since it is run by Rod Grainger, who back in the eighties, working for the Haynes Publishing Group was my publisher for a number of technical motorsport books. Those books that I wrote back in the eighties then culminated in the 'International Race Engine Directory', published by Haynes in 1989. That book was the precursor of Racer Engineering and, in effect a dozen years on of this publication, 'International Race Engine Directory' is long out of print but since 2003 has lived on through 'Race Engine Technology'. From the point of view of 'Race Engine Technology', it is worth noting that Tony's book covers selection and preparation of the engine and transmission as well as design and development of the chassis. Moreover, since I met Tony at Gurston Down in the summer of 1995 there has been an increasing movement towards the use of motorcycle engines in all manner of small displacement racing cars and some road cars, too. The motorcycle engine/gearbox package is hard to beat in terms of weight and size for a given level of performance. All those involved in race engine design and development would do well to familiarize themselves with its potential through this excellent book, which is absolutely crammed full of knowledgeable.
New Zealand Classic Car, February 2008
This is the latest in a series from Veloce, each covering various Bugatti models in some detail. For many enthusiasts more familiar with the lithe and successful competition versions, many of the cars in this volume will be less well known. However, Bugatti Types 28, 30, 38 and 38A, 44 and 49 – all covered within this book – were commercial successes in Bugatti terms and carried a wide range of coachwork, as well as appearing in some competitive events.
The book starts with some rather randomly ordered short chapter subjects such as development and technical appraisal of the Type 44. It is, though, essentially a photographic book, focussing on showing various types of bodywork fitted from Fiacres (which tried to capture the elegance of horse-drawn carriages) to saloons and tourers.
The photographs are all in black and white and are of mixed quality. Although the book's text is in English, photograph captions are in English and French, and the translations don't always quite match. This is really one for the Bugattisti, I think, as it's quite pricey for what is a fairly slim, volume.
The Flying Lady, May 2008
Aside from Bugatti's foray into the ultra-luxury segment, with the Royale of which only six copies were built, it was the mid-size touring cars described in this book that put the company on solid footing.
This is the fourth Bugatti book for Veloce by marque expert Price (who was also a founder of the RR & B Specialist's Association). It is different from the other ones in that it explores its subject from many more angles which makes it more relevant to relate to for enthusiasts of other marques. For instance, a discussion of Bugatti design policy, new-car pricing, and how one ordered a car in the 1930s are of immediate interest to RR/B readers. A good number of the period photos are new to the record; the photo captions are in English and French. Examples of the work of most of the European coachbuilders are shown. There are many illustrations of chassis details, and, again something of interest to the RR crowd, a discussion of the vibration damper-crankshaft torsional vibration being the Achilles heel of the straight-eight. Bugatti's solution, although not used on these models, was almost identical to Rolls-Royce's. Sparse index.
Auto Aficionado, March 2008
For most enthusiasts, it's the racecars that Bugatti built (the Types 35, 50, 51, etc), the efforts that had cubic air bolted on to the motor or the special-bodied models, such as the beautiful and timeless Atlantique coupé, that capture the imagination. Often overlooked is that Ettore and Co. built a number of successful and desirable touring cars. This tidy volume offers up a good overview of the SOHC production models. Chapters that are especially noteworthy deal with the ordering procedures, a capsule review of parts books and owner's manuals, and a fascinating comparison of new car prices against the competition of the time.
Such was Bugatti's reputation that it didn't stop a great many from pressing their touring model in numerous competition events, and there is a chapter addressing this fact. As far as the author's reputation, it is hard to argue with Barrie Price who is the past president of a half dozen specialist clubs and has owned or driven every model of Bugatti ever built.