Author: Edited by Craig Horner
Publisher: Society of Automotive Historians in Britain
The Michael Sedgwick Memorial Trust has supported the eighteenth edition of ‘Aspects of Motoring History’ (usually referred to as ‘Aspects’), published by the Society of Automotive Historians in Britain (‘SAHB’). This ‘Aspects’ is the twelfth edition of this annual publication to be supported by the MSMT. It is free to full-members of the SAHB and a limited number of copies are available directly from the SAHB at https://www.thesahb.com/aspects/.
‘Aspects’ as its name suggests, comprises a selection of articles written by SAHB members (and others) on a variety of aspects of motoring history which do not in themselves merit a book but are worthy of recording and of interest to motoring historians everywhere. Issue 18, edited by Dr Craig Horner, features:
- Creeping up on the Shadow – Malcolm Bobbitt relates the development of the Silver Shadow – the first monocoque-chassised Rolls-Royce. Malcolm offers insights into the dead-ends explored and the decisions that shaped the final product. Firmly rooted in Rolls-Royce tradition, the Silver Shadow was the ultimate expression of the need for the company to increase production as envisaged in the “rationalised range” immediately postwar.
- Cars and Rhodes: my grandfather’s first love affair – John Archer chronicles his family’s history with motoring in earlier times. His grandfather owned 33 cars between 1904 and 1941, recording in detail every aspect from significant journeys undertaken to costs per mile, driving impressions and technical details. In addition, his great grandfather also owned cars from 1906 and details of these were also recorded and are now of historic interest.
- The Rootes Group Swallow / Swift project, 1961-5 – Tony Stevens recounts his role in this apparently abortive project that preceded the well-known ‘Arrow’ cars. The project was never progressed by Rootes beyond a few completed engines tested in contemporary Hillman Minx and experimental engines, run in tandem for racing. Many years later, as Tony explains, he discovered that the engine design had indeed made it to production elsewhere, unbeknownst to its designers.
- Dorothy Levitt: femininity and womanhood in Edwardian Britain – Angela R. Thompson sets out the background to this protégé of S.F. Edge. Many historians believe that they know the story of this remarkable pioneer motor-racing woman, but diligent research from original records reveals that her background has been widely obscured by the publicity generated by Edge in his ruthless promotion of his interests.
- A history of the British kit-car industry – Steve Hole, is an author, contributor and former editor of many publications on this niche of motoring in the UK. He chronicles the changing nature of this particular corner of car construction from its origins in the specials movement of the 1950s and the introduction of GRP for body-construction, through to more professional offerings as the industry matured.
- South Africa’s auto industry: evolving from assembly to manufacture of British cars – Louis Fourie examines the impact of the local content rules on marketing and construction practices for British cars and their competitors. In particular assembly plants were constructed but often served multiple marques or switched between them. The practices also produced some hybrids never seen in the native country of the cars concerned – Peugeot-engined Hillman Minx for example. Louis follows the twists and terms as the industry developed.
- The Weight Patent Automobile Brake Company of Bristol: a weight of History – David Grimstead uncovers a pioneer inventor and his associates based in the west of England who patented and fitted hydraulic four-wheel brakes a decade before the generally accepted originator and patentee of the practice. The rationale behind the subsequent obscurity and commercial failure, despite prominent advocates in the press, is examined in detail.
As in previous issues the subjects are varied but of historical interest and worthy of recording and make interesting reading whatever your personal taste in motoring history.