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#1 Alan Baker

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 16:47

There's another thread complaining about errors made by today's magazine writers, but what about whoppers attributable to supposedly serious authors? One of the longest standing pieces of misinformation concerns the Avus circuit in Berlin. In his otherwise excellent 1966 book on the German Grand Prix, Cyril Posthumus states that "the boundary between the Russian and Allied zones of Berlin ran straight through the track, cutting it in half." For years I accepted this as fact, until I visited Berlin and reference to a street map clearly showed that the Avus, in the southwestern suburbs, was nowhere near the Russian zone, which had become East Berlin. In fact, the entire pre-war circuit was within the boundaries of West Berlin and I suspect that the post-war shortening was simply to reduce the pointless blast up and down the autobahn and to make it easier to marshal. Can anyone confirm this? The Avus myth is still being perpetuated today. In his recent book on Graham Hill, John Tipler in describing the '59 German GP claims that the Avus track was "bisected by the Berlin Wall", which of course did not exist in 1959! I don't know if Tipler got his information from Posthumus' book or whether Posthumus was the first to publish this nonsense, but let's get it clear now, The Avus was nowhere near East Berlin!

Tipler has got his facts wrong in another passage in the Hill book in which he claims that BRM used 2.5 litre Climax engines temporarily in 1960. This is obviously based on the passage on page 165 of Tony Rudd's autobiography It Was Fun referring to buying Climax engines and building three cars for them. It should be obvious to anybody who knows his stuff that the passage in question refers to the programme for 1961, although bad editing seems to have placed it in an inappropriate context, hence Tiplers error. There's little excuse for the many other errors in the book however. My favourite is Tipler's description of the exhausts going through the rear chassis pontoons of the 1964 BRM P261 as "a notable design feature". It was of course a last minute lash up after the centre exhaust engines intended for the cars failed to appear! Then there's Tipler's insistence on referring to the Ford GT's that raced at Le Mans and Rheims in '64 as "Lola-Fords"! Unfathomable! Worst of all though is the Hill career record at the back of the book. Although credited to a certain Dianne Davis, it appears to be a straight lift from the 1992 Hazelton Publishing book on Hill by Simon Arron, the racing record in which was compiled by Steve Small. Like Small's list, the Tipler one begins in 1956, two years after Hill began racing, and includes the same mistakes, e.g. the "Brabham BT16-BMW" that Hill supposedly drove in two F2 races in 1965. This was presumably a typo in the original list and should have read "Brabham BT16-BRM", but it is faithfully reproduced in the Tipler book's list!

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#2 Leif Snellman

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 17:12

We have discussed Avus earlier
http://www.atlasf1.c...&threadid=11777
Comment #23 forwards.

#3 Joe Fan

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 17:14

I agree with that the Lola-Ford reference to Ford GT40's (or Ford GT's as they were called back then) is a bit glaring and should have been caught instantly. As for the others, these are simple errors that you will find in any writing piece of great length. Every writer, or person for that matter, is subject to making a Freudian slip and unfortunately, some of these get by some of the best proofreaders. From my own experience in writing Masten Gregory's biography, I had Tony Brooks driving a BRM in one race (I wrote that bit in the wee hours of the morning) that four proofreaders did not catch. As far as facts being placed in wrong years, I have caught a couple of embarrassing ones in my manuscript as did my proofreaders, that were a simple case of going back to add a fact or thought into the text, only to place it in the wrong damn year.

Sometimes errors are a result of errors being made and carried over from previous writers. I have found some of these myself and it is always best to double and triple check "facts" with as many sources as possible but sometimes this is not always possible.

Overall, I was once a bit critical of these type of mistakes, as I thought I wasn't capable of making them (a typo or misspelled word yes but not a factual error!). However, I have since been humbled. See how easy you have it Burt Levy? ;)

#4 Ashley Lenton

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 17:54

DSJ insisted on refering to the GT40s as "Lola-Fords" throughout much of 1964. Although Tipler's reference to same is obviously wrong, maybe this makes it marginally more fathomable?

#5 917

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 18:03

The only book by Mr. Tipler I ever read was that about TVR and I thought it was well written, but some later "Classic Cars" had an article about these cars and in a sidebar about the TVR books the writer told us that he found in the copy of the magazine's library "many pencil corrections by our acerbic reviewer".

#6 Barry Boor

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 20:46

I would think that an very annoying situation for an author would be when someone else makes a glaring error in their book.

Like in the first colour section of Ed McDonough's 'Sharknose' book where a picture showing from the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix and accredited to John Blunsden/Motor Racing, is printed back to front.

For those who have not seen it, it is a shot taken from the outside of the Mirabeau corner, looking over the wall down onto the piece of track that turns right at the bottom of the hill after the Station, goes under the bridge and right again onto the sea front. The thing is, in this picture, both those corners are LEFT handers! :blush:

I suspect that Mr. McDonough was unaware of this until the book was printed. His reaction? :mad:

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 22:23

When it comes to the reversal of pictures, the oft quoted Official 50-race History of the Australian Grand Prix has a prize one...

In the back there are small photos of the authors, together with a brief note about each of them. It seems that the type was shot with the then-usual bits of red paper or tape to allow the photos to come through in their appropriate spots, then the screened negatives of the photos were arranged on a sheet of film so that they fitted in the spots allocated.

Then the plates were made as a 'double burn'... ie, the text was exposed onto the plate, then the pictures afterwards. But somebody had inverted the picture sheet in all this mucking around and, with two of the people on each line, they had their names, descriptions and photos reversed.

I mentioned this to Stewart Wilson at the time, he said, "You think you've got it bad! Look at the picture next to my name!"

Graham Howard's...

#8 Doug Nye

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 22:39

Originally posted by Joe Fan
From my own experience in writing Masten Gregory's biography, I had Tony Brooks driving a BRM in one race (I wrote that bit in the wee hours of the morning) that four proofreaders did not catch....


But the fifth one did :drunk:

At least 'Joe Fan' is plunging in at the deep end and giving it a go.

For anyone who gets hot under the collar about daft inaccuracies I would merely say don't knock a book quite so ferociously if you have not, cannot or will not try such work yourselves.

I have no time for writers who dash out a job and don't care - I have more time for those who do but lack the basic knowledge to realise their facts are awry. I have a lot of time for those who try their darndest and still suffer the delusions and idiocies brought on by 18 hour days, late nights, buzzing brains and obsessive focus on one subject...and still get bitten in the bum.

I've been there. It hurts.... But only if 99.5% rectitude is not good enough for you.

DCN

#9 Joe Fan

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 00:01

Originally posted by Doug Nye


But the fifth one did :drunk:

DCN


Actually I purposely put that one in there just to see if you were on your toes. ;) ;)

#10 eldougo

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 10:23

:wave: :rotfl:


I mentioned this to Stewart Wilson at the time, he said, "You think you've got it bad! Look at the picture next to my name!"

Graham Howard's...
_______________________________________-

Ijust had a look Ray (des white) BELL.-------------------------------- page 505. :wave:
just about the hole page is wrong. : : S--- happens.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 10:31

Apart from his age, I'm sure Des' picture only enhanced my image...

#12 ray b

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 04:07

Originally posted by Ashley Lenton
DSJ insisted on refering to the GT40s as "Lola-Fords" throughout much of 1964. Although Tipler's reference to same is obviously wrong, maybe this makes it marginally more fathomable?


well E B mr lola did alot of the early work on the GT-40s
whitch were based on his true lola fords of a year or so earlyer
what lola # were the coupes anyway??
but ford paid the bills and got the naming rights
but lola was in the mix so not realy a total error is it????

#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 14:33

In memoriam - THE CAPITAL LETTER...? :confused:

DCN

#14 Frank S

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 18:00

Not to say there isn't a certain elegance and beauty to ray bs posts, but Art For Art's sake is the corpse, innit? Doing it right because it's right is a waste of energy, Right?

Frank S

#15 fines

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 20:47

I think "doing it right in order to let other people understand what you mean" would be more appropriate...

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 21:29

Exactly...

But how come the initials are capitalised if the letters at the beginnings of sentences miss out?

Frank, of course, stands up for his statement, doesn't he? By not including an apostrophe after the 'b'? Now what could 'bs' mean if the apostrophe is left out?

By the way, Ray, the Lola Ford coupe, known usually as the 'Lola GT' was the Mk 6 if recent posts on the subject are right.

#17 ensign14

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 22:14

Originally posted by Alan Baker
There's another thread complaining about errors made by today's magazine writers, but what about whoppers attributable to supposedly serious authors?

Tripoli...

#18 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 22:29

Originally posted by ensign14
Tripoli...


1939 EC ....

#19 ray b

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Posted 26 February 2003 - 13:07

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Exactly...

But how come the initials are capitalised if the letters at the beginnings of sentences miss out?

Frank, of course, stands up for his statement, doesn't he? By not including an apostrophe after the 'b'? Now what could 'bs' mean if the apostrophe is left out?

By the way, Ray, the Lola Ford coupe, known usually as the 'Lola GT' was the Mk 6 if recent posts on the subject are right.


MINIMALIST STYLE is mostly to save time
no I am not a good writer
catterack was cut out a week ago and
I may be wrose then ever as I recover
but then inprove as I can see again

back to cars yes LOLA GT but are not marks LOLA's
secondary # like lotus's A B C in 49B
as I remember a LOLA 70mark3

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 February 2003 - 20:49

You have my empathy for your cataract problem, Ray...

However, I'm sure the early Lolas were referred to as 'marks'... Mk4 F1 car, for instance. The '70' was in fact the 'T70'... a thing of beauty.

#21 Marcor

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Posted 26 February 2003 - 22:46

Tripoli, EC 1939...

also Mercedes W163 and Alfa Romeo P3...