Trio of Awards for Reid Railton—Man of Speed
Smiling slightly somewhere as he tamped down the tobacco in his favourite pipe, the English engineer took quiet satisfaction in revived recognition of the scope and depth of his career. Reid Antony Railton (1895-1977) reflected on his designs of the first cars to reach 250, 300, 350 and 400 miles per hour—the last as long ago as 1947. When Britain held the Triple Crown of Speed after World War 2, Railton was responsible for both the car and the boat.
Renewed recognition of Railton’s life of record-breaking and innovation followed the publication in April 2018 by Evro Publishing of a two-volume biography titled Reid Railton — Man of Speed. Written by Karl Ludvigsen and designed by Simon Loxley, the 842-page book proved to be an award-winner in the Railton tradition.
Reid Railton won the 2018 Michael Sedgwick Award of the Society of Automotive Historians in Britain. Named for a highly respected historian, the award “is presented to the author demonstrating excellence in respect of research, writing quality and furthering the understanding of the subject.”
Also acclaiming Man of Speed was the Guild of Motoring Writers, whose Montagu Trophy has been awarded to the best book of the year since 1972. Now sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, the respected Trophy was awarded to Karl Ludvigsen for his Railton biography. Ludvigsen is no stranger to the Trophy, for he was its first winner and this his fourth receipt of the Guild award.
Third to recognise Reid Railton—Man of Speed was the Royal Automobile Club. In the RAC’s annual awards programme it was judged Specialist Book of the Year by an independent panel. One of the judges said, “What a life story and what a book—lavishly researched, profusely illustrated, endlessly informative.” Said another, “We thought it a superb piece of dedicated research.”
Added the RAC, “This magisterial book, by one of the world's foremost automotive historians, tells Reid Railton's personal and professional story in fascinating depth with special focus on Reid's unique insights—amounting to genius—and technical accomplishments.”
Railton would be happy with that.