£60 for a 320 page book about a single car?
That doesn’t sound like a great prospect does it?
Even if the car involved is the fabled Porsche 917-023, the winner of the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours.
However, when you take into account the fact that whilst the book is billed as the ‘autobiography’ of a single car it is, in reality, an extensive story set in the context of the prevailing racing climate, featuring extensive comment from an enormous range of personalities involved in the car’s history, including all of the surviving drivers of the car in period: Messrs Herrmann, Attwood, Elford, Ahrens, Larrousse and van Lennep plus legendary mechanic Helmut ‘Käfer’ Frauenschuh too.
All of the drivers are profiled, together with the late Denny Hulme with again some wonderful period photography to tell their stories.
Add in the fact that the story of every one of the seven races in period for the car is covered with fine narrative and beautiful period photography (much of which has never before been published), plus contemporary studio photography of the grand warhorse, and add in the spice of the perfectly researched skullduggery and confusion of the car’s later life and you’d do well to find a book more absorbing about a key period in endurance racing history.
Add in too the fact that Ian Wagstaff, a man well known to DSC readers, has produced this book with such an engaging style that this is genuinely a great read,.
Fundamentally not a book to admire purely for the quality of the images, here the words are the principal attraction (though the pics are pretty darn good too!)
It appeals to the sponge-like thirst for accessible motorsport history that I possess, and my love too of contemporary story telling. I am ever in awe of those that can remember with pinpoint accuracy the events of 40+ years ago when I still can’t recall where I put the car keys yesterday evening!
There is no shortage of books to tempt endurance racing enthusiasts to loosen the purse strings. The good and bad news is that here’s another one.
Very highly recommended.
Porsche 917. The Autobiography of 917-023, by Ian Wagstaff
Page extent: 320pp
Illustrations: over 300 photographs, including colour