As mentioned earlier, Paul Skilleter is working on publishing a new book about George Abacassis, written by George's son David. It's scheduled for publication later this year - currently available details are as follows:
To be published September 2010A Passion for Speed
George Abecassis was one of the last of the amateur drivers whose experience and dedication to the sport made him a semi-professional, and whose successes and efforts both before and after the War made him a household name. His accomplished and courageous driving of his own cars, such as Altas and Bugattis, and in the Aston Martin, HWM and Austin Healey teams, made him an important figure in British racing in its own right. It included major successes both before the War (e.g. the Imperial Trophy and Crystal Palace Cup) and after it (e.g. Class wins at Le Mans and the Mille Miglia). But his contribution to motor racing history as joint-owner of HWM was also important. HWM gave a start to the professional careers of Stirling Moss and Peter Collins, and helped others, including Lance Macklin, develop: in so doing they advanced the move away from amateurism towards the professionalism which now characterises the sport. The story of how George and his business partner, John Heath, began to restore British pride and prestige in continental eyes in the early 1950s is told in detail, as is George's contribution to the wider world of British motor racing competition and safety through his long memberships of the governing committees of the BRDC and BARC.
This book is a visual feast of motor racing images from his career, which ran from 1933 to 1956, and included many of the great races of his day, one of which – the Mille Miglia – is given its own chapter for the four years he entered it. It is lavishly illustrated with 550 photographs from the collections of the finest photographers of the day (Louis Klemantaski, Guy Griffiths and Geoffrey Goddard to name but three), from his personal albums and POW diaries, and from the albums of his family and friends. They help bring to life the story of one man set in the wider context of social, political and motor racing developments at home and abroad at the time. George’s long career in a time of dramatic change is a tale of struggle involving co-operation, friendship and rivalry with all the leading figures in British motor racing at the time, including Geoffrey Taylor, Earl Howe, Tony Rolt, Bira, Reg Parnell, John Heath, Duncan Hamilton, Stirling Moss, Lance Macklin, David Brown and many more. All these figures are drawn carefully, with the detailed story of John Heath’s life and death being covered for the first time in motor racing literature.
As his racing career spanned the War, the hitherto unknown story of George’s distinguished RAF service is also told with an insight enhanced by the author’s own experience in the RAFVR. George was in Bomber Command, and flew with the secret 161 Squadron, dropping spies and supplies behind enemy lines, for which he won the DFC. He was dramatically shot down and incarcerated in POW camp, a tale told largely in the words of George himself and the other crew members who survived.
The book has been meticulously researched by the experienced author and includes the first full race list, both of George himself (217 races) and of John Heath and the HWM Works team (413 races), together with detailed appendices on the two dozen cars built at Walton and the nearly 30 different cars George raced. It benefits from interviews with the surviving family, friends and associates of George. It explores and expounds George's life, remarkable gifts, sense of humour and colourful personality in a way which only a close family member could do, and even takes the reader to be with him as he breathed his last in 1991. Wherever possible, George speaks for himself through extensive quotes from his many published articles and interviews and from the anecdotes recalled by his many friends and his family. The result is that by the end of the book, the careful reader will feel that he has really got to know this remarkable man.
A Passion for Speed will be available in both standard and leather-bound limited editions; prices will be announced later but the limited edition may now be reserved in advance via the Contact form on the web site.
Paul also has a limited duration Spring Sale
on with prices reduced on cover down to 50% on some titles! Amongst the offers are the Norman Dewis, Mike Hawthorn, Ecurie Ecosse and Lister-Jaguar books.
The German version of Volume 2 of Urs Schmid's XK120 book will be available around mid-May - I have an English translation of the intro that I'll post here shortly but it is available on his Web Site
if anyone is in a hurry to see it. See previous posts for page examples and further details.
Edited by tonyb, 06 June 2010 - 10:12.