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Good motor sport fiction?


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#1 Terry Walker

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 03:00

The worst books thread is fun, and several books I've read have been brought up by TNFers.

It seems to me, though, that there must be SOME good (or goodish) motor sport fiction, and I'm nominate three for starters.

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A book for teenagers, it starts at a pre-war Around-the-houses race meeting at Albany, Western Australia (and I was amazed to read about it in a novel!), and concludes at Brooklands. One of the characters is recognisably derived from larger-than-life Western Australian motor sportsman Aub Melrose.

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I don't think Hawthorn wrote this, but his ghostwriter is unknown. One of two books for kids featuring the teenage Carlatti and his adventures in mid-50s GP racing.

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A modern day thriller which revolves around a scandal in the 1909 Peking to London race. The race is imaginary, of course, but the racing background is pretty good.

None were going to win the Nobel Prize, but all were a pretty reasonable read, and you don't cringe at the author's motor sport technicalities.

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#2 Gerr

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 03:42

Fiction too be sure, but not in book form, Burn 'Em Barnes...at this link...

http://www.archivecl....com/watch.html

#3 TooTall

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 05:07

The series of books written by Burt Levy are quite good. His writing style is a bit different. The stories are written in the first person from the perspective of a young mechanic in New Jersey who gets sucked into the emerging world of sports car racing in the early '50s. The books are fiction but the fictional characters are intertwined into the real events and people of the day, including Watkins Glen, Bridgehampton, Briggs Cunningham, Phil Hill, Sebring and Le Mans.

http://www.lastopenr...nzios/books.htm

Cheers,
Kurt

#4 bpratt

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 06:24

William Campbell Gault wrote many hard-boiled detective stories during his time (1940s through the 1970s) but also did some "juvenile fiction", some of which were on the subject of auto racing:

Thunder Road (1952), not the same as the movie I am told.

Dirt Track Summer (1961).

Drag Strip (1959), which I've read and enjoyed. It dealt with racial tensions in a southern California town as well as the characters trying to legitimize their hot rodding ways.

I've read a couple auto racing short stories that Gault did for the Saturday Evening Post in the early 1950s. Seemed to come out around the Indy 500 time (like right now, May). So he was an accomplished journeyman writer.

I'd love to find Thunder Road and Dirt Track Summer. They were reprinted for a number of years after they were first published.

I'd also like to find the hot rodding series of juvenile fiction by Henry Gregor Felsen. Got Street Rod for 50 cents recently which made me a very happy camper.

#5 Terry Walker

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 06:36

There are several copies of Dirt Track Summer for sale on the Net, usually about $5 US:

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#6 Sharman

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 08:46

The best motor sport fiction must surely be written in homologation declarations!

#7 Hank the Deuce

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 10:49

Originally posted by Sharman
The best motor sport fiction must surely be written in homologation declarations!

:lol:

Seriously though, Evan Green's Dust and Glory gets my vote, if only for the quite-believable portrayals of the main protagonists... mostly Gelignite Jack Murray...

#8 Bruce R Moxon

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 11:40

Add my vote to the Burt Levy books and also to Evan Green's Dust and Glory.

Funny, no matter how often this topic comes up, there's always a new title or author added to the list. Looks like I'll be doing some more shopping.


Bruce Moxon

#9 Stirling

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 12:01

In the 1960's a compendium of old magazine stories, from various sources and authors, was published under the title Supernatural Stories For Boys. The first was titled 'Diable Rouge' - the Red Devil Phantom, by Christopher Kay. A piece of motor-racing hokum, it told the tale of 'Karl Zimmer' - known as the 'Diable Rouge', a racing driver killed in a road race in France thirty years before the events of the story. His ghost, ranging the stretch of road on which he was killed, becomes a factor in the young British hero of the tale winning his first race! Real 'Boy's Own' stuff!

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ciao,
Stirling

#10 lanciaman

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 14:31

The best and funniest of them all, "Stand On It," the stories of Stroker Ace told by himself ((and liberally borrowed from the true life misadventures of various Heroes of Motorsport).

#11 FrankB

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 15:00

Stirling - is the illustrator of your book acknowledged at all?

My immediate thought when I saw it was "Brockbank". It must be the layout of the drawing that reminded me of a couple of his classics (one where the passenger in a Rolls Royce is striking a match on the roof of another car as they pass, and another where a Bentley is about to run down a Citroen). I don't think it was Brockbank, but I would be curious to find out just who the artist was.

#12 Stirling

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 15:13

Hello Frank - yes, the illustrator for the book is named as Reg Gray. A hasty google on his name came up with this reference:

http://bearalley.blo...4/reg-gray.html

ciao,
Stirling

#13 FrankB

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 15:19

Thanks for that - it's not a name I had come across before.

#14 picblanc

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 18:51

Not a book I know, but I used to like Skid Solo, racing a Lotus Elan that he built himself, it was in the Hurricane, later Tiger and Hurricane comic every week in the 60's!! sorry to dumb the thread down a little :blush: :o :D

#15 kayemod

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 19:03

I must have been about ten when I read Mike Hawthorn's ghostwritten 'Carlotti Takes the Wheel', and I thought it was pretty dire even then, W E John's Biggles books were much better.