David Hodges is a noted Motorsport journalist and this is his own pet project, which sadly he was unable to see to fruition as he passed away shortly before completion. Fortunately, Mr. Hodges' efforts were not left unpublished, with Graham Robson and Charles Herridge seeing this book through to completion.
A-Z of Grand Prix Cars is a complete rendition of all the marques to ever race in Grand Prix, from the very first French GP in 1906 through to the Japanese GP of 2000. Not only are all participating teams included, there are also notable marques that attempted to put together an F1 effort but for whatever reason did not race in anger, for example DAMS, and Alpine. The latter was a total suprise for me as I had never known that Alpine had put together two different F1 cars.
For each marque, there are brief individual entries for each unique design. It is not a comprehensive account for the various cars - no chassis logs or race results section, as is the case with Doug Nye's History of the Grand Prix Car. There are numerous black & white photographs for most of the marques, but space prohibits the publication of photos for each of the individual designs. Still, there is plenty to peruse. Irritatingly, given the price of the book, there are a few typo and factual errors. For example, Mario Tolentino, designer for both Dallara and EuroBrun, is referred to as Marco Tolentino in the entry for the Dallara BMS 189. The Arrows A19 didn't score 3 points in the 1998 season as the book claims, they scored 6. Another annoying thing about this book is that although organized alphabetically, major marques such as Ferrari, BRM etc.. have whole pages set aside for them which tends to disrupt the flow of the book. But this is relative nitpicking, as given the extensive nature of the book there is plenty of material to be covered.
One of the strengths of this book is that is covers both pre-war and post-war GP cars, which I think is relatively unusual for a single volume, and this is a worthy addition to the motorsport library for this reason. There are superior books out there for either pre or post war F1 cars, most notably Doug Nye's book. However, The History of the Grand Prix Car is hard and expensive to get a hold of so A-Z of Grand Prix Cars is much more accessible for those wanting a brief overview of F1 teams and their cars.
Although this book is a little out of date now it is invaluable for anyone who loves the history of Grand Prix motor racing and the machines involved. Of course any such book is unlikely to be a 'good read' Mr Hodges has managed to gather the important facts for each car/marque and present them in an informative way; just what you want from this sort of book. If there isn't enough information for you in here then there are certainly enough keywords to enable an internet search to follow up on; and let's be fair some of the 'Specials' that have participated in in a solitary GP are unlikely to get a mention in most other books. This is more than just an interesting book, I found myself excited at the thought of what new surprises Mr hodges would throw my way next, pick a letter of the Alphabet and Mr Hodges extensive research can provide you with a Grand Prix competitor, simply wonderful book.
This book is clearly well researched to a degree that anyone who is barely interested in F1 can read this book and learn a whole lot about the past of F1. This is truly a great book for any F1 fan! Thanks For Listening!