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Classic Grand Prix Cars: The Front-engined Formula 1 Era, 1906-1960 [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Karl Ludvigsen


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Book Description

20 April 2000
An illustrated history of the development of front-engined racing Formula 1 cars. The author builds from the technical evolution of the cars, era by era. He accompanies this with insights into the rise and fall of the famous manufacturers whose creations were the ultimate expression of the motoring know-how of their day. Ludvigsen takes the reader from the early days of the Formula 1 Grand Prix car through to the 1950s, giving a glimpse at drivers, managers and engineers who contributed to the classic era of Grand Prix racing.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sutton Publishing Ltd; illustrated edition edition (20 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750921897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750921893
  • Product Dimensions: 26.7 x 19.8 x 2.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,482,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In addition to his motor industry activities as an executive (with GM, Fiat and Ford) and head of a consulting company, Karl Ludvigsen has been active for over 50 years as an author and historian. As an author, co-author or editor he has nearly 50 books to his credit. Needless to say, they are all about cars and the motor industry, Karl's life-long passion.

Since 1997 Ludvigsen has been drawing on the photographic resources of the Ludvigsen Library to write and illustrate books on the great racing drivers. His first title in this series was Stirling Moss - Racing with the Maestro. He followed this with Jackie Stewart - Triple-Crowned King of Speed and Juan Manuel Fangio - Motor Racing's Grand Master. Fourth in this series for Haynes Publishing was Dan Gurney - The Ultimate Racer and fifth was Alberto Ascari - Ferrari's First Double Champion. Next came Bruce McLaren - Life and Legend of Excellence and Emerson Fittipaldi -- Heart of a Racer.

Also in the field of motor sports Karl Ludvigsen has written about road racing in America, the cars of the Can-Am series, the AAR Eagle racing cars, the GT40 Fords and Prime Movers, the story of Britain's Ilmor Engineering. His introduction to At Speed, a book of Jesse Alexander's racing photography, won the Ken W. Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism.

Other motors-sports titles include Classic Grand Prix Cars, a history of the front-engined G.P. racer, and Classic Racing Engines, Karl's personal selection of 50 notable power units. Ludvigsen has written the story of BRM's ill-fated Formula 1 V16 and the saga of the great 200 horsepower Benz racers, two of which were nicknamed "Blitzen Benz".

Four of Karl Ludvigsen's books concern the Chevrolet Corvette, one of them an industry best-seller. He has written three times about Mercedes-Benz, twice about its racing cars. His books on the latter subject have won the Montagu Trophy (once) and the Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award (twice), both recognising outstanding automotive historical writing.

In 2001 Karl again received the Cugnot award from the Society of Automotive Historians for his book about the early years of the Volkswagen and its controversial factory, Battle for the Beetle, a Robert Bentley publication. In 2002 the Society gave him its highest accolade, Friend of Automotive History.

Karl Ludvigsen is also the author of the definitive histories of Porsche and Opel. His Porsche history, Excellence was Expected, is considered by many to be a model of the researching and writing of the history of an auto company. He has updated it in three volumes for Bentley Publishers for the new Millennium. A further update was published in 2009, bringing its content to one million words.

At the request of Ernst Piëch, a grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Ludvigsen has researched the early life and work of that great engineer. The result, a book titled Porsche -- Genesis of Genius, is published by Bentley in 2008. It has won both the Montagu Trophy and the Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award. An accompanying book, titled Sublime Creations, describes cars in Mr. Piëch's personal collection.

In 1997 Ludvigsen researched and wrote the catalogue for a special exhibition of Ferrari technological innovations on the occasion of the company's 50th anniversary and contributed a major section to the company's official 50-year history. For Ferrari's 60th anniversary he was commissioned by them to research and write a major over-arching history of Ferrari's technical innovations.

Ludvigsen's understanding of the Ferrari world combined with his Library's holding of the Rodolfo Mailander photo archive to produce Ferrari by Mailander in 2005, a Dalton Watson publication. Its launch was accompanied by major exhibitions in Turin and Pebble Beach of selected photos from the book. In 2010 Dalton Watson published Karl's book about the genesis and evolution of the great Rolls-Royce/Bentley V8 engine.

The year 2008 saw the publication by Haynes of a history of the battles between Ferrari and Maserati from the 1940s to the 1960s, titled Red-Hot Rivals. Ludvigsen is also the author of a series of monographs on great Maserati cars. In 2010 Haynes published his book about the life and work of famed Lotus creator Colin Chapman.

In co-operation with publisher Iconografix, Ludvigsen has established the Ludvigsen Library Series of 128-page books drawing on the holdings of the Ludvigsen Library. The series now numbers 19 titles, including books on Indy racing cars of 1911 to 1939, the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the Indy Novis, Chevrolet's Corvair and Corvette, Jaguar XK120, XK140 and XK150, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL of 1952 and 1954-1964, the 300SLR of 1955, two books on Porsche Spyders, the Porsche 917, the Ferrari factory and American sports-racers: the Cunninghams, Chaparrals and Can-Am racing cars. More titles are in preparation.

Karl's Ludvigsen Library is also active in the provision of photographs and research material for authors, publishers of books and periodicals, and collectors and enthusiasts. It holds extensive original negatives and transparencies from the 1950s forward with special strengths in motor sports, American cars and sports cars. As well it holds original photos and glass negatives from the dawn of the automotive era. The Library website is www.ludvigsen.com.

On motor-industry topics Karl Ludvigsen has written books about high-performance engines, the Wankel rotary engine and the histories of American auto makers. His latest book on power units is The V12 Engine, published by Haynes in 2005. He was editor of The Future of the Automobile, the report of the 1981-1984 study of the world auto industry by M.I.T. This was named one of the best business books of the year by Business Week.

In 1996 publishers in Britain and the United States launched Karl Ludvigsen's book on motor industry management, Creating the Customer-Driven Car Company. It draws on his industry experience and in-depth research to advise industry personnel on customer-pleasing best practice.

From 1989 to 1998 Karl Ludvigsen edited and contributed to numerous studies published by Euromotor Reports Limited, a leading researcher of special reports and studies about the European motor industry and market. Resident in England since 1980, Mr Ludvigsen is respected as a close and knowledgeable observer of, and participant in, the world motor industry.

Leading periodicals also publish Karl Ludvigsen's writings. He is a former technical editor of Sports Cars Illustrated (1956-57), editor of Car and Driver (1960-1962) and east coast editor of Motor Trend (1970s). His articles about cars, companies and motoring personalities are published in America by Automobile Quarterly, among others, while in Europe he writes frequently for The Automobile. He is a regular writer and columnist for Hemmings Sports & Exotic Cars, 911 & Porsche World and Just-Auto.com.

Karl Ludvigsen's personal website is www.karlludvigsen.com.


Product Description

From the Author

Evolution of the World's Greatest Cars
My aim in writing this book was to look behind the scenes at the many forces -- personal, technical, economic, political and historical -- that guided the development of the world's finest racing cars from the beginning of Grand Prix racing in 1906 to the end of the front-engined era in 1960. I first refined my ideas about this in a series of articles for Automobile Quarterly. These ideas have been further developed in this book, which also gives a sense of the atmosphere of each decade with extracts from contemporary race reports. We have also been able to include some wonderful photos from the Ludvigsen Library. I hope the book will help today's enthusiasts appreciate that Formula 1 racing didn't begin in 1950! That was just the first year of the world championship for drivers.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Overview 12 Jun 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book covers the period very well, giving a detailed overview of each "sub-era" nicely, without reverting into a who-finished-where-for-each-race format. It includes articles from the period from vintage magazines, photos (including some nice color photos from the early '50s) and illustrations on every page, detailed descriptions of significant technological advances, as well as the personalities of the day. It's a nice intro for those unfamiliar with the period, and a nice review for those who are. My favorite part: the chapter covering the "Silver Arrows" from the '30s, Mercedes and Auto Union. Although it's titled "The Front Engined Era," Ludvigsen also covers the early rear engined cars as well, such as Cisitalia's Porsche-designed Type 360, the Alfa Romeo Tipo 512, and, of course, the Cooper-Climax.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent history of the Formula 1 era from 1906-60 6 Mar 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Classic Grand Prix Cars provides an excellent history of the Formula 1 era from 1906-60, with liberal doses of vintage black and white photos accompanying information on the sports cars and engineers which powered them. Prior fans of auto racing history in general and Formula 1 in particular will find Classic Grand Prix Cars a keepsake history packed with lively descriptions and technical insights on the cars. Very highly recommended for all Grand Prix racing fans!
5.0 out of 5 stars This one's a keeper 22 Jan 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was born in 1951, and didn't really pay serious attention to F1 until Mario made a serious run at the title. This book has gone a long way toward filling a major hole in my understanding of Grand Prix racing. It's a superb book. The writing and the photos are first rate. I wouldn't have imagined that I would find the early cars as interesting as Ludvigsen made them. I had no idea that GP cars had as much power as they did, as early as they did. Coupled with the so-called tires of the time, and the agricultural "suspensions", Ludvigsen has given me an inkling of the courage and skill of the drivers who drove some of those beasts. Now I'm reading Classic Racing Engines, but that will be another review...
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