Given that I reviewed a new book on Stirling Moss the other day it’s appropriate I should turn to “Legendary race cars” next as he supplied the forward for it.
As the title gives away the book picks out 25 of the greatest racing cars in the opinion of author Basem Wasef, who’s written a similar book on motor bikes.
As you’d expect F1 and other Grand Prix cars features heavily among their number and you can probably guess a few of them: the McLaren-Honda MP4/4, Lotuses 49 and 79, Maserati 250F and the Ferrari 156. Without wishing to get too nit-picky, the absence of the first rear-engined car to win the world championship – the Cooper-Climax T51 – feels like an oversight.
There is also, somewhat oddly, a chapter given over to “Michael Schumacher’s Ferraris”. He may have worked miracles with the fast-as-it-was-pretty 1996 F310, but that hardly justifies calling it a great car. I’d suggest the F2002 and F2004 definitely belong in this kind of company, but I’m not sure all the others do.
However on the whole the choice of cars reflects an impressive knowledge of the breadth of motor racing, with machines from all manner of other disciplines including rallying, drag racing, Indy cars, NASCAR, sports cars and more. Many of the chapters include specially-shot close-ups of the cars, but this isn’t consistent throughout the book.
I would also have liked a steadier focus on the subject at hand – the cars – rather than the people who drove them or the races they entered.
But I enjoyed the variety of the cars chosen, the succinctly-told stories behind them and the generous complement of contemporary photographs. An interesting choice for technically-minded fans with a taste for more than just F1 cars.
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