From the Bookshelf: A Select Corner of London that Hosts a 2018 Vintage of Marques

Those wine-growers of Bordeaux who managed to ward off the mildew are now in a position to declare that 2018 is shaping up to be a very fine vintage. Librarians have to contend with the same pest occasionally, albeit indoors! The Club Library’s new motoring acquisitions this year have comprised many brand new publications with a few rather older ones too. [Mildew present? – checked, naturally] Here is an eclectic selection of the books on marques that we have added to the collections this year.

Ray Newell’s homage to the Morris Minor continues with ’70 years on the road’ (following ‘50’ & ‘60’ in previous ‘editions’). Nostalgia earns its place at Christmas time especially: my mother’s pride and joy ranks high in childhood memories. This is a Boys’ Own book, full of period detail in its diagrams, drawings and advertisements, of ‘the world’s supreme small car’. It proved a fine workhorse for many organisations, including ourselves of course in the guise of the ‘badge-engineered’ Austin Morris 1000 van, an example of which is in our Heritage Fleet at Woodcote Park.

And here are a couple of oddballs! Firstly, as part of an ambitious, almost impossible project, as the author freely admits in his introduction, of ‘cataloguing every car and commercial vehicle yet manufactured’, this laudable short monograph on Japanese vehicles nevertheless breaks new ground. Jeremy Risdon has uncovered much material barely mentioned in the western world’s canon. Production values are as basic as could ever be aspired to – but that’s not the point. Secondly, though not particularly new, is Veloce’s slim but highly researched tome on the Russian motor industry, in this case covering pre-First World War vehicles. With extensive use of former USSR archives, Maurice Kelly has woven together a fine anthology of a mysterious market-place.

As we circle the world east-ways, James Lackey’s exhaustive monograph on the Chandler and Cleveland marques – which merged at one point during their individual histories – is finely put together and a pleasure to handle. As well as covering all the company’s models, the book focuses in some detail on its main personalities too. It paints a human story of a troubled financial existence which eventually resulted in a fine marque plunging from 1920s’ prominence to relative obscurity.

All the world’s a stage then – with some players a touch more famous than others!

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Ray Newell, 2018. Morris Minor: 70 years on the road. Dorchester: Veloce.
Jeremy Risdon (ed.), 2017. Pomchi book of cars, vans & light trucks: volume 1 (2nd ed.), 1902 to 1934; volume 2, 1935 to 1939. Yate: Pomchi Press.

Maurice A. Kelly, 2009. Russian motor vehicles: the Czarist period, 1784 to 1917. Dorchester: Veloce.
James H. Lackey, 2018. The Chandler automobile: a history including the Cleveland and Chandler-Cleveland marques. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland.

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