by Jonathan Wood
2021 review by Anders Ditlev Clausager
This I am told is definitely Jonathan’s last book, and is a fitting companion to his two impressive volumes on the Squire and the Triumph Dolomite. Jonathan resigned from the SAHB a while back after health problems, but I am glad to learn that he has made a good recovery. The book has been commissioned and published by Hugh and Miranda Palmer who are the current custodians of the Aston Martin car number LM10, so the history of this car is the main focus of the book. It was the most consistent Aston Martin team car to run at Le Mans as it ran in three races from 1932 to 1934, finishing each time, and was also the works development car.
But there is more to the book than simply the story of one car. In fact we are presented with a detailed and most useful history of Aston Martin’s early years, up to 1939, with much information on the personalities involved, from the founders Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, through the Bertelli brothers, Bill Renwick, and Claude Hill, to many of the drivers and later owners of LM10. From the post-1945 period, there is less general Aston Martin history, which is not so relevant to the main theme which remains the later history of LM10, and on which the final chapters of the book concentrate. However there is a condensed history of the last 30 years, and a link right up to date in the form of a foreword by Marek Reichman, vice president and chief creative officer of Aston Martin Lagonda today.
The book is profusely illustrated, mostly with appropriate archive photos which are all attributed to source. Jonathan has acknowledged the assistance of many SAHB members, not least the late John Warburton. There are end notes with references following each chapter, and an exhaustive bibliography, including much material published by The Aston Martin Owners’ Club and the Aston Martin Heritage Trust. There is an excellent index. The production quality is beyond reproach, and the layout and design are attractive, but the text in one wide column on each page with tightly-spaced lines does not make for easy reading.
The pleasure in this book comes from the combination of diligent research and Jonathan’s accessible writing style: it is simply a good read. However, it panders to the current fashion for oversize books: it is not for bed-time reading, but it will stay open when you lay it flat on a table! The book will appeal not only to Aston Martin enthusiasts but also to book lovers and collectors. It does not replace the classic titles of Dudley Coram and Inman Hunter to which Jonathan pays tribute, but it is a delightful and welcome supplement to the established Aston Martin canon.
Publisher: Hugh and Miranda Palmer, www.astonmartinlm10.com
Price: £75 (standard edition), £295 (leather-bound edition)
Description: Hardback in dustjacket (304 mm x 251 mm), 352 pages.