Ciao, Stirling – Book Review

I suppose that I should confess that I was not a Moss fan in his racing days. Like most when offered a choice I took sides and I was a Mike Hawthorn supporter although I did always respect just how good Stirling Moss was as a driver. Later in life I met him and became a fan.

It makes a good read. There are lots of stories of life in the mews and on the road all told in an entertaining style. Some of the tales are known, but here we see them from another angle. There is also an insight into living in London in the late fifties and into the sixties that makes it something of a social commentary rather than just another motor sport biography.

I did wonder if the world needed another book on Moss, but it does deserve this one. I enjoyed it and it has earned its place on my bookshelf.

Progress on the Amazon Book Shop

It seems that changes on Amazon since I set up the original shop mean that I can no longer provide a single link to all of the books that I am selling there. I understand, I think, why they have done this and have no complaints.

What I will try to do is see if I can promote individual listings as I used to do with the eBay store. I’m not sure if that is possible and I have other things to do this afternoon so it can go on my job list for another day.

I have listed, or reactivated listings, for about 16 books today ranging from motoring through motorsports and field sports to railway history. More small steps…

Plans for the future – some progress

My old web site at driverjohn.co.uk will cease to work as of today, 30th June 2020. For many of you it may not have worked for some time as I related in the earlier Plans for the Future post. Also as of today I have driver-john.com as a web address and my DriverJohn blog is sat there.

It is, at least, a positive step and I can hopefully relax a little about whether my web site is up or not. As far as how this blog links with that one I am still looking at the options. It is a sad fact, but there are still many service providers out there who cannot answer a direct question along the lines of; “If I do this what happens?”.

My problem is that some steps are irreversible and I don’t want to cross a bridge and burn it behind me. I have enough experience of IT to know that backing something up is a very wise step, but it does not always enable you to go back to where you were.

Anyway, some progress has been made today and I am happier than I was yesterday. That alone is a result.

Plans for the future

One thing that the lockdown has given me is time to think and one thought is that it might be better too merge this blog into my DriverJohn one and so I am looking at what that would entail.

The two blogs started out with different aims. This one was about motorsport and morphed into including my collectables business whilst DriverJohn was more about the vehicles that I have driven on the road and expanded to include my having driven railway engines and flown aeroplanes.

That difference still exists, but my collectables business is called DriverJohn and so having a blog with that name that does not talk about the business and another blog with a different name that does has caused some confusion with people wanting to do business with me and trying to explain an illogical situation is boring (to the listener) and just either turns them off or confuses them further. Both effects are bad for business.

Another factor in all of this is that the web hosting service that the driverjohn.co.uk web site sits with have become hard to work with. I need to do something with that website and it looks like a change of hosting service is the way forward so my plan is to make the WordPress DriverJohn blog the home web site for my DriverJohn trading and then move these pages over there too.

The main problem with doing that is that some of these blog posts have become very popular and pop up on search engines as a result. If I move them it seems that those search links will be broken so until I find an answer to that this blog will remain here.

Life is never easy, but if it was it would not be so much fun.

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

I have been following some Facebook groups that feature the racing cars that I knew in my youth. In all of these groups there are photos posted of the cars in modern times, preserved and run at various historic festivals, but every time I look at a post from any of these groups and see a photo of an open cockpit racer from anything other than the original period when the car raced I am left cold.

The problem for me is that, no matter how hard the current proud owner has tried to follow an original colour scheme there are changes that have been made that spoil the image for me and, to my eye, make the car look wrong.

Leading the charge sheet here are the modern height roll bars behind the driver. That extra height makes the car look too narrow to my eye and, combined with the modern driver’s helmet, completely destroy the look. This is most obvious to me with the Lola T70, but other cars suffer from the same problem. Of course I understand the health and safety logic behind these aesthetic abominations, but they spoil the look completely and I make my choice to avoid offending my eyes and don’t look.

The other offence that I would like taken into consideration is festooning the cars with cameras. OK, they are relatively small and I understand why the drivers and owners might want to have records of their races to watch during the Winter months, but they are not period and again, for me, spoil the look. I don’t want to watch and so I don’t.

I fell in love with motor racing in the mid sixties having had a passing interest since the back end of the fifties. I got to see my first race, the European F2 round at Thruxton, in 1968 and regularly attended races from cubbies to GPs, and for a time marshalled, through until 1977, but marriage and then parenthood gave me other interests for a few years and whilst I would watch any motor racing on TV it was ten years before I went again, this time to a club meeting at Castle Coombe and a couple of hillclimbs at Prescott.

In the 1990s I met, though business, a couple of guys who were involved in the Coy’s historic festival at Silverstone and went there about three times as well as doing the Goodwood hillclimb. There was a magic about some of those events, partly because, unlike some of the American historic events, over here the guys do race; to see a vintage Maserati or Alfa absolutely on the limit through a corner is a sight to behold and I did get to see these cars one more time before some of the appendages mentioned above started to appear.

Should the opportunity arise I might go back to the Goodwood Festival of Speed because a lot of cars will be there in original condition. I could look at them, and maybe touch them, and hear them go by up the hill. It would not bother me if they were not being driven hard for just seeing and hearing them would be enough to bring back memories of when I saw them for real or in pictures. But I have no desire to go to the Revival meeting there because the cars will, in the main, just not look right.

These events are massively popular and I applaud those who put them on, participate in and make it possible for others to see cars from the past driven hard. There is an audience for these things and that is great, but nostalgia ain’t what it used to be and I am happier with my memories.

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