Buying a present for a classic car enthusiast isn’t always easy, but you can’t go too far wrong with a good motoring book. Hagerty has put together this list of the best Christmas present books for all budgets, and all tastes.
£10 and Under: Car-Tastrophies, by Honest John & George Fowler
Although it is not really about classic cars (all those included were built in the last 20 years), this light-hearted little book will undoubtedly spark furious discussion around the Christmas dinner table. The list of 80 ‘automotive atrocities’ includes some cars which will have few supporters- The Suzuki X90 and Peugeot 1007 will probably not stir many strong emotions- but there are some cars that are right on the edge of the brilliant/awful precipice: the Maserati 3200 GT is there, as is the Morgan Plus 8 and the Nissan Figaro. Both Honest John and George ‘Motormouth’ Fowler explain their rationale with a great deal of humour and their usual flair. Car-Tastrophies, ISBN 978-1-845849-33-7 is published by www.veloce.co.uk at £9.99.
£20 and Under: From The Cockpit, by Bruce McLaren
Originally published in 1964, Bruce McLaren’s autobiography has just been reissued by EVRO. It is a wonderful book, a first-hand account of Bruce McLaren’s entry into motorsport and the establishment of the McLaren team that has now developed into such a world-class brand. Bruce McLaren’s voice is strong in the book- from his early days battling Perthes Disease in the Wilson Home for Crippled Children to his success as the youngest ever Grand Prix winner at Sebring in 1959, you get a real feeling of his tenacity of spirit and true charm. From the Cockpit, ISBN 978-1-910505-14-4 is published by www.evropublishing.co.uk at £19.99.
£30 and Under: Exceptional Cars: Iso Bizzarrini, by Richard Heseltine
The Porter Press’s new Exceptional Cars series got off to a great start with this, the story of the last of the A3/C Grifo race cars. A3/C 0222 was one of the fastest and most beautiful GT cars of its day, winning its class at Le Mans and competing in various other international events. The book retains much of the style of Porter’s larger Great Cars series, with wonderful studio photographs, first-hand accounts and biographical details of all drivers who competed in the car. The result is a beautiful coffee table book that would make a great present. The Remarkable History of A3/C 0222, ISBN 978-1-907085-54-3 is published by www.porterpress.co.uk at £30.
£40 and Under: Stirling Moss- The Definitive Biography, Volume 1, by Philip Porter
Stirling Moss is arguably Britain’s greatest motor racing driver, and as such a great deal has been written about him. However, Philip Porter’s new work covering Moss’s life until 1955, is extraordinary in its depth of research. This book, of nearly 700 pages, is written from the unique perspective of an author who has already written four books with Moss and who spent two years preparing this first volume. The result is remarkably easy to read, full of anecdotes, humour, tragedy and character; it captures Moss perfectly. With over 60 colour photographs, the book would make a wonderful addition to any motor racing enthusiast’s bookshelf. Stirling Moss- The Definitive Biography, Volume 1, ISBN 978-1-907085-33-8 is published by www.porterpress.co.uk at £35.
£50 and Under: Daring Drivers, Deadly Tracks, by Brian Redman
This book has, quite rightly, just won the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year Award. Written by Brian Redman with Jim Mullen, it gives the first true account of Redman’s extraordinary ten-year career of sports GT and F1 driving from 1965 to 1975. This was the era of fragile cars, terrifying circuits and minimal safety precautions- a time when, as Redman states in the first sentence of the book, a third of all top-level drivers were killed on track. The book takes you on a vivid tour of those heady days: a rainy Spa in a GT40, a phenomenal crash in an F1 Cooper which almost ended in an amputated arm, driving Porsche 908s and 917s for the factory team, and later for Ferrari, Alfa and BMW. Redman, like so many of his contemporaries, raced whenever and wherever he could- from the Targa Florio to the South African 2-Litre championship, and he did so with an extraordinary amount of success. The book captures Redman’s character perfectly: recently interviewed by Hagerty, he told us that he laughed when the doctor told him his arm may not be saved. The doctor asked why he was so happy. “I’m just surprised to be alive!” was his response. This is a really great book. Daring Drivers, Deadly Tracks, ISBN 978-1-910505-10-6 is published by www.evropublishing.co.uk at £50.