Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Looking for books by or about Prince Bira


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Jackmancer

Jackmancer
  • Member

  • 3,158 posts
  • Joined: September 09

Posted 15 August 2017 - 11:45

I've purchased Bits and Pieces on eBay and I know there's lots of others on eBay, but some books are very expensive, prices going up to 95 GBP, and I'd have to buy everything separately. I don't have a huge budget, but I wish to document more about Bira (online). 

 

Hoping someone has a bundle of books on Bira or Chula.

Thanks a million!



Advertisement

#2 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Administrator

  • 33,810 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 15 August 2017 - 15:58

'Bits and Pieces' was the only book Bira wrote. There are currently some reasonably priced - if somewhat beaten-up - copies of Chula's 'Blue and Yellow', 'Road Star Hat Trick' and 'Wheels at Speed' on ABEbooks - all for a tenner or so each. 'Road Racing 1936' is a little bit pricier. Between them, they cover all Bira's pre-war seasons, plus his life during the war and the return of racing in 1946. Also worth looking for is 'The Prince and I' by his first wife Ceril - although I'm stunned to see the prices asked for it! £28 for a book which was remaindered in paperback!!! :eek: I think I paid £2.99 for mine. (It is however available for £8.99 on Kindle!)

 

I have them all - but they're not for sale! :lol: :p 

 

Collectors tend to look for jacketed copies or the first privately printed editions, but the wartime and late 40s Foulis reprints are perfectly serviceable as reading/reference material. 'Blue and Yellow' is usually the hardest to find, as (IIRC) there was only one print, on poor quality 'war economy' paper. Good or better condition copies are rarer than rocking horse droppings! Even rarer with a jacket!!

 

The one I don't have is the much more recent 'Rolt and Bira' by Neville Hay, which is the only book (apart from Ceril's) that covers his post-1946 career. I see someone in Oz is asking a silly price for that on eBay, but they turn up cheaper on Amazon Marketplace. Not cheap, but cheaper!



#3 dwh43scale

dwh43scale
  • Member

  • 363 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 15 August 2017 - 16:10

PM sent

 

David



#4 Jackmancer

Jackmancer
  • Member

  • 3,158 posts
  • Joined: September 09

Posted 16 August 2017 - 08:53

Thanks Vitesse2! Super useful! David's providing me with most of those books, and I'll try to find Rolt and Bira as well as Robert Grey Reynolds Jr.' "Prince Bira: Thai Race Driver In Motorsports' Golden Age" somewhere online. 



#5 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Administrator

  • 33,810 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 16 August 2017 - 16:46

Thanks Vitesse2! Super useful! David's providing me with most of those books, and I'll try to find Rolt and Bira as well as Robert Grey Reynolds Jr.' "Prince Bira: Thai Race Driver In Motorsports' Golden Age" somewhere online. 

Having had a quick look at the preview on Amazon I wouldn't waste 27p on that, let alone £2.75! No time now to explain the factual errors, but I'll work on it later!



#6 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Moderator

  • 21,709 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 16 August 2017 - 17:04

Prince Bira won the 1936 Coupe du Prince Ranier, an event that later became the crown jewel of Formula One racing, renamed the Grand Prix of Monaco.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

 

I see Mr Grey Reynolds has also written a biography of Richie Ginther. I think I'll give that one a miss, too.



#7 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Administrator

  • 33,810 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 16 August 2017 - 18:50

Yeah, that was one. 'Ranier' should be 'Rainier'. The Coupe Rainier was run only once - although there were plans to revive it in both 1938 and 1939 - and the Monaco GP of course pre-dates it by seven years.

 

Bira's full name was Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh. The name assigned to him by Mr Reynolds - Prince Bhanurangsi Savangwongse - is that of his father, who was a Field Marshal in the Siamese army.

 

Who's Yul Brenner? Could he be related to that bald actor bloke? At least in passing?  ;)

 

Not sure about the 'Eton long jump' either! Bira was about five foot nothing - hardly the build for a long jumper.

 

Pat Fairfield was not succeeded by Bira in the ERA works team. After Pat was killed his place was taken by Arthur Dobson, who wasn't retained for 1938 and whose seat went to Earl Howe. Bira never drove for any works team apart from Gordini.

 

Bira did not win 16 Grands Prix before WW2. He won 16 races for 1500cc cars, some of which had 'Grand Prix' in their names. His only race in a pre-1946 Grand Prix, in a car which conformed to the then-current International Formula, was the Cork Grand Prix in 1938. He finished second.

 

Turning to the Amazon blurb - Bira's cars were not painted blue and yellow until 1939. Before that they were the distinctive 'Bira blue', as until the end of 1938 - when Siam was elected a member of the AIACR - he raced using a British licence. Apart from the flag of the Royal Thai Air Force, the blue/yellow combination has no particular significance. Red is the most significant colour for Thai royalty. Bira was - of course - assigned Thai racing licence number 1!

 

I have a feeling Olympic historians might also be somewhat confused by the suggestion he had taken part in Olympic sports other than yachting. He was an accomplished glider pilot - not an Olympic sport though. He was also an excellent sculptor - he designed and made the memorial to Fairfield which now (once more) resides at Donington Park and his bust of Field Marshal Smuts was selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1943.

 

Apart from that, it's entirely accurate! :rotfl:



#8 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Moderator

  • 21,709 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 17 August 2017 - 07:11

Not sure about the 'Eton long jump' either! Bira was about five foot nothing - hardly the build for a long jumper.


This just might be correct - Ceril mentioned it in her book:
 

[At Eton] Bira was not studious at all and only just kept his head above water in that respect, but was in one of the best junior cricket teams, got his house colours at football and won the school long jump.



#9 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Moderator

  • 21,709 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 17 August 2017 - 09:17

If you haven't come across it already, here's a nice little potted biography by our own Doug Nye:

https://www.goodwood...alty-in-racing/

#10 Jackmancer

Jackmancer
  • Member

  • 3,158 posts
  • Joined: September 09

Posted 18 August 2017 - 07:18

If you haven't come across it already, here's a nice little potted biography by our own Doug Nye:

https://www.goodwood...alty-in-racing/

 

Thanks! That's terrific!