on 25 December 2012
This is a very informative and sometimes rather amusing book about Alan Mann, a man I personally had the pleasure of knowing. The stories of his early breaks into motor racing are written in a way which makes you conjure up a very vivid picture in your mind, there are also lots of pictures of his cars past and present which give a good insight into just how much of an impact he made into the early days of saloon car racing. Some of the tricks they got away with on the cars constantly make you grin to yourself whilst reading. I would recommend this book to anybody who loves motor racing and Alan's now legendary Red & Gold liveried Escorts & Cortinas.
on 25 April 2013
This is a great motorsport book - essential for any enthusiast. I remember seeing the F3Ls and XOO349F and was always rather mystified by the sudden disappearance of Alan Mann from the racing scene. This is one of those books which constantly has you saying 'Well, I never knew that!'.
The frank discussions about drivers' characters, and big-company politics at Ford, are fascinating and there's an excellent selection of illustrations.
As another distinguished reviewer has said, the reader is left with the feeling that more is left to be revealed about the subject's own character but such insights are perhaps best expected from an outside biographer.
Overall, though - a real 5-star book, of the kind where you're sorry to reach the final page.
(Oh, and don't be put off by the text being close to the gutter - I think what's meant is the 'gutter' in the centre of the binding....)
on 13 February 2013
I grew up seeing the beautiful red and gold cars of Alan Mann Racing in the pages of Motor Sport magazine and the like. Over the years frequent searches of the internet for information about the man and his racing exploits yeilded little but now, finally the story has been told.
As a lifelong fan of the Ford GT40 it was facinating to read his take on the big-block MkII, you begin to view this car from a different perspective, one that has simply not been voiced in the multitude of books I have acquired over the years about these cars.
My knowledge of the Ford 3-litre Prototype, surely the most beautiful racing car ever made, was expanded considerably by reading this book. Getting the story straight from source was a revelation.
This book is a must read for anyone who remembers this era. The story behind the man and the evocative red and gold livery of these immaculately prepared and presented racing cars is told straight and simple.
on 27 December 2012
A very good book about an elusive racer and team owner, it is given only four stars for several reasons. One is that its text is so close to the gutter that it's not easy to read. Another, and more important, is that it gives little hint of the personality of its protagonist. This may be inevitable in an autobiography, in which we tend to be denied the views of others about the subject.
In his foreword Jack Sears says, 'Alan was always very positive, precise and understanding. He would not take any nonsense from anyone. Having raced himself in a variety of cars, he knew all about racing and the preparation of the cars.' These characteristics come through strongly in the well-written text, a credit to the work of collaborator Tony Dron. However they contradict the subtitle, 'A Life of Chance.' If anything was foreign to the modus operandi of Alan Mann, it was the tolerance of random events. Mann left absolutely nothing to chance, readying his attack on each event with meticulous car preparation, testing, driver selection and strategy. No wonder, as Dron says, he and ace team manager John Wyer didn't gat along. Seemingly out of nowhere Mann arrived on the scene, having shrewdly hitched his wagon to the tail of the Ford 'Total Performance' comet, profitingly mightily from a line of business to which Wyer thought he had every right.
'Who is that guy?' It's easy to imagine the reaction of many on the racing scene, especially in Britain, when Mann's red and gold Fords started winning races and championships. Then at the end of 1969, with Ford pulling back after achieving its goals, Mann simply dropped motor racing in favour of the development of Fairoaks airport -- leving as suddenly as he arrived. This suggesteed a loss of interest in the sport, but Mann disproved that by reviving his racing business at the end of thr 1990s as classic motor sport wove its attraction.
Readers will relish the descriptions of Mann's interactions with his drivers, especially fast but proud Amertican Bob Bondurant, his strategies that favoured lightness instead of the Ford GT Mark IIs that he derides as 'sleds'. The F3L of 1968 gets good coverage as does the role of designer Len Bailey, whom Mann found as frustrating as this reviewer did with a similar project in 1981. Impressively Mann bought back an F3L in 2006 with the aim of making it work at long last.
A detailed list of racing entries and successes complements a book that had much to reveal and in this respect does not disappoint. Apart from its aforementioned gutters it is a credit to veteran motor-racing publisher John Blundsen.
on 28 March 2013
a fantastic insight into Alan Mann's racing team, his involvment with Ford ,rallying touring cars & Le Mans endurance racing . Its one of these books that is just so great to own , bringing back great memories when i saw the lovely red & gold touring cars in action. Exceding well written by Mann & Tony Dron with super photographs just such a shame Alan passed away just before this was published.
well recommended by me , and a great Amazon price of £28:00 .
on 27 February 2013
This autobiograph is clearly one of the best I ever seen.It really puts you at deep end of the 1960s motorsport scene.This decade was quite special,Alan Mann was right there in the centre of things.What is the high note for me is that his writting is so accessible what a pity he did not live to see it published.This book has to be on every motorhead bookshelf, that is certain.
on 4 January 2014
I,ve followed this team from the age of 14, i,m 62 now so you could say i,m a bit of a fan. Well laid out book, logical chaptors easy to follow. I,ve read a lot of the co authers stuff so i,m used to the style.
It filled in gaps in my knowledge. All in all a good read.
on 19 February 2013
I have always had a soft spot for Alan, his cars always immaculate, even up to date with Henry carrying on the tradition. The book details the journey through the early days of the cortinas and escorts, Gt 40s and is a must for any petrol head