From the Bookshelf - Motoring Book of the Year 2019

Another very successful week has wended its way with the many and various events put on by the Club over London Motor Week. And for the Motoring Book of the Year Awards, two worthy winners, for the main and specialist categories, emerged from scopey shortlists that incorporated a wide range of genres and styles.

The conditions for entry to either category remained the same from last year: any book eligible for the main award had to cost less than £75; while the specialist category was reserved for books, whatever the price, that might be described piquantly as a ‘labour of love’ demonstrating unparalleled research into a particular area of motoring or motorsport. All books had to have been published between 1st July 2018 and 30th June 2019 to qualify for this year’s award and are available to view in the Club Library.

For the Main Award, ‘The Car became The Star’ – you might say.

Does any other major film evoke the nostalgia of those ‘mechanical characters’ in the same way as the starring roles played by the Blue, Red and White Minis in the film, The Italian Job? – I doubt it!

Matthew Field is the acknowledged world authority on this particular film and has written widely on other film genres such as the James Bond series. Building substantially on a 2001 publication, this much enlarged work is the fitting literary counterpart to the visually memorable cinematographic experience.

As well as the Mini, you also have Aston Martin, Fiat, Jaguar, Lamborghini and Land Rover playing their respective and appropriate part too, move over please (Sir) Michael Caine and in producer Michael Deeley’s words today: the ‘perfect Brexit movie, whatever your view’!

Renowned motoring journalist, writer and commentator, Simon Taylor’s book fully exemplifies the Specialist criterion of dedication to the cause. Taking a none-too-well-known 1940/50s racing team HWM [Hersham and Walton Motors], the brain-child of John Heath and George Abecassis, the research is exhaustive and bountiful.

And it needed to be written now as more notable personalities in its story are passing away: any reader is surely struck by the many and varied poignant stories recounted – together they amply demonstrate the ‘human touch’ of motorsport.

Evro Publishing has the book beautifully laid out with separate volumes devoted to HWM’s ‘history’ & ‘the cars, the tracks, the drivers’. And the quality and breadth of illustration is undoubted. Hard to fault really – and the MBYA judges thought so too.

The six titles shortlisted for the 2019 Motoring Book of the Year Award were:
The Rootes Story: The Making of a Global Automotive Empire by Geoff Carverhill, published by Crowood Press
The Cars You Always Promised Yourself: The Inside Story of the Design … Ford Coupés … by Steve Saxty, published by Porter Press International
The Self-Preservation Society: 50 Years of The Italian Job by Matthew Field, published by Porter Press International
Land Rover Design: – 70 Years of Success by Nick Hull, published by Veloce
The Blunt End of the Grid by Dave Roberts, published by the Book Guild
Touring Car Racing: The History of the British Touring Car Championship, 1958–2018 by Matt James, published by Evro

The six titles shortlisted for 2019 Specialist Motoring Book of the Year Award were:
Donington Park: The Pioneers by John Bailie, published by Silverfox Creative
John, George and the HWMs: The First Racing Team to Fly the Flag for Britain by Simon Taylor, published by Evro
Ballot by Daniel Cabart and Gautam Sen, published by Dalton Watson
Twice Around the Clock: The Yanks at Le Mans, by Tim Considine, published by Toll Hall Sexton Books
The RGS Atalantas: Dick Shattock’s pioneering sports racing cars, including Jags by Alan Shattock, published by Matador
Back on Track: Racing in the 1940s by Alessandro Silva, published by Fondazione Negri


Motoring Book of the Year Winner – The Self-Preservation Society: 50 years of The Italian Job
Specialist Book of the Year Winner – John, George and the HWMs: the first racing team to fly the flag for Britain

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