A surreal tale of a poverty-stricken Dundalk kid’s rise to become the only racing driver the great Ayrton Senna ever feared – and howit all went wrong from there.
For a brief moment Irishman Tommy Byrne was arguably the world’s greatest driver, the motor racing equivalent of George Best and Muhammad Ali rolled into one. A racer, a thief, a raconteur.
This is the story of his improbable escape, his rapid rise and his spectacular fall from grace. Peppered with dark humour and a cast of ridiculous characters, it is the antithesis of a fairytale – and it’s all true.Hold on tight, the tale of Tommy Byrne is quite a ride – from fending for himself as the runt of a big Catholic litter in the ‘60s, to running the gauntlet of the sectarian violence of the ‘70s, troubling Ayrton Senna and making it to F1 in the ‘80s, resorting to drugs in the aftermath and driving for a deluded billionaire madman and then gun-toting Mexicans in the ‘90s.
It’s raw, passionate, and – with Byrne’s ability to tell it like it is – not for the faint hearted.
2017 UPDATED EDITION EXTRA CHAPTERS & PHOTOGRAPHS
‘Forget Senna and Schuey. Tommy Byrne was the best of them all’Eddie Jordan
As well as being one of the most popular classic cars out there, the good old Mini is also one of the easiest to work on and modify. There’s a simply staggering amount of kit available out there, and that’s the reason why you never see two Minis the same. For those looking to take on such a project of their own, a new book that’s recently come across my desk is going to be a big help. Modestly titled ‘The Ultimate Mini Restoration Manual’, it might sound a bit concours-focused; that is, until you read the subtitle ‘How to Choose, Restore, Paint, Trim, Overhaul, Update, Upgrade, Grossly Overpower and Generally Have Fun with a Classic Mini’. That’s more like it! Written by Iain Ayre, aided by technical editor Martin Webber, the book is written in a very straight-up way, with plenty of sensible, real-world advice. For instance, the first chapter is entitled ‘Getting Real’! Ayre writes in a very witty and honest style, and you quickly get the impression that he’s been there and done that when it comes to Minis, and indeed that’s the case – he’s been writing about Minis for longer than he cares to remember, has embarked on many Mini-based adventures, and even designed a three-wheeler based on Mini mechanicals.
Throughout the book he shares much of what he’s learned over the years, not only the nuts and bolts of repairs and modifications, but the common-sense approach to tackling a project sensibly and seeing it through to completion. Each area of the car is looked at, from suspension to fuel system to electrics – there’s also a lot of advice given on bodywork repair, and obviously engines too. There’s even a handy chapter on interior trimming, which includes info on recovering and recolouring seats. One particular thing I like about the book stems from the fact that even though Ayre is originally Scottish, he now lives in Canada and so the photos in the book are a nice mix between the familiar style of UK Minis and the lesser-seen American scene, which contains all sorts of mad machines including mid-engined V8 Minis and similar creations. In short, if you’re into Minis in any fashion at all, this is a hugely enjoyable and informative book that deserves to be on your bookshelf. Review by Andrew Pollock
The Mercedes W123 celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and in that time has become not only one of the most recognisable and iconic cars ever made, but also an extremely popular classic car for many enthusiasts. Fans of the model will be delighted to pick up a copy of this new title from Veloce, entitled Mercedes-Benz W123 Series: 1976 – 1986. This hefty, glossy hardback has been penned by Brian Long, who’s not only a prolific motoring writer and trained mechanical engineer, but also a long-time Mercedes owner, and so he’s perfectly positioned to bring us into the world of the W123. In logical fashion, the book starts off with an overview of the MB organisation itself, before guiding us through the W123’s predecessors and its design and development phase. A comprehensive detailing of the production cars follows, covering most world markets, right through to the end of production in late 1985. The many variants are also dealt with in detail, such as the C123 coupe, S123 estates, and even hearse and ambulance conversions, and there’s also a look at the W123’s competition history, which I found fascinating as I hadn’t realised just how much rallying the W123 had done in its career. The book is rounded off with useful tables on engine types, production figures, and even a look at the model’s successor, the W124, so it’s a hugely comprehensive tome and one that you’ll come back to again and again. It’s very much enhanced by extensive period photography too, which brings you right back into the era in which this legendary car was developed, and allied to its very high production quality this is a book that I’ll be proud to have on my own shelf for the foreseeable future. Review by Andrew Pollock
Having this book in your pocket is just like having a real marque expert by your side. Benefit from the author’s years of real ownership experience, learn how to spot a bad car quickly, and how to assess a promising one like a professional. Get the right car at the right price!
€14.00 inc. delivery
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