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"The Perfect Car" -- John Barnard

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#51 john aston

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 07:21

I reviewed the Barnard book for Low Flying (Lotus Seven Club magazine ) last month  and it is now also on Speedreaders.info .  


#52 2F-001

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 08:27

I haven’t read the book yet - it should be arriving at my door today…


I’ve long been an admirer of Barnard; I first began to take real notice of him when he designed the 2K - indeed because he designed the 2K if I’m honest. I always knew it was his work and assumed everyone else did; it was only later that I learned of some ill-feeling he had over an apparent lack of credit. Surely everyone in the business - everyone who mattered - knew this. I imagined his relationship with that car was at least as well-known as that between Maurice Philippe and the 72 (or Len Terry and the 38), no?


To be fair to Barnard, not getting along with the likes of Dennis, Walkinshaw or Briatore is an accomplishment not exclusive to JB, which could say something about those other fellows.


Having worked at the sharp end of creativity-based industries all of my life, JB’s character traits do not strike me as rare (I would say - as might some of my friends and colleagues - that I share a few of them!). Sometimes, to get things done the correctly (i.e. my way), you have to be stubborn and uncompromising. Anything else risks an unsatisfying result.


There is another interesting (and entertaining) interview of JB, by Steve Rider, online in the ‘Architects of F1’ series; 




(that link is interspersed with ads - there may be an easier-to-view version somewhere...)


this shows the subject as an altogether more relaxed and engaging figure than his reputation suggests. It may be that he just more relaxed nowadays - he surely doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone, which appears to have been a part of his driving force in the past.


I’d got the impression from someone whose working life at McLaren overlapped JB’s, that the ‘Prince of Darkness’ tag was, in part, a joke - not just that he could be aloof and a bit menacing at times, but that he was the Prince of carbon fibre (dark, rather than bright aluminium). Has anyone else heard that?


Very much looking forward to the book.

Edited by 2F-001, 23 January 2019 - 08:32.

#53 uffen

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 18:14

Just finished it. What a marvelous read. I've read a few motorsports biographies but this one tops the bill.

Barnard seems to have filled a very particular niche among race car designers and it also seems that few (if any) teams appreciated the unique perspective he offered.

Hats off the Nick Skeens.

#54 Henri Greuter

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 14:31

Busy with reading it right now.

I had a difficult start with it, it didn't `got` me instantly as what others describe when reading it.
By now however I have found the manner and mood how and when to read it.

There are a few things stated of which I think I dare to debate them if and when in a mood to debate and argue.
But other then that (or despite that) I join the people who are/were praising this book. A great read.