An Annotated Motorsport Bibliography

The Checkered Flag

Helck, P., and W. F. Bradley. The Checkered Flag. New York: Scribner, 1961.

I have this book in some sort of public domain reprint. Regardless, the content is identical to the original. This source on early motorsports focuses on the debut of circuit racing, the American Vanderbilt Cup automobile races. It is generally considered a credible source of pre-WWI racing. Of note, the author Peter Helck is also an artist. His illustrations bring the action to life.

A History of the First Ten Years of Automobilism

Montagu of Beaulieu, John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu. A History of the First Ten Years of Automobilism: 1896-1906. London: “The Car-illustrated”. Ltd, 1906.

This is one of several “reprint” books I have scanned out of the public domain–a cost-efficient solution to be sure. It is essentially a collection of essays. For example, it covers the 1896 “Emancipation” in Britain where the twelve mile-per-hour speed limit was dropped and the story of how the Benz engine came to England. Chapter authors include S. F. Edge, R. J. Mecredy, and Lord Montagu, himself. Some of the materials collected are an oddity in the context of modern society. This book is a worthwhile collection of facts and perspectives on the first decade of automobiles in Great Britain.

A Record of Motor Racing

Rose, Gerald. A Record of Motor Racing: 1894-1908. 2nd ed. Berkshire: Motor Racing Publications Limited, 1949.

This work is essential to understanding how the early races developed in continental Europe. In fact, Doug Nye argued to me (via a forum post) that no true motorsport library can afford to not have this volume. The true beauty of this book lies in its use of tables to lay out the facts of motorsports first true races. Although even the 1949 edition is pricy, I highly recommend this volume to the serious collector.

Ten Years of Motors and Motor Racing

Jarrott, Charles. Ten Years of Motors and Motor Racing. New York: Dutton, 1966.

To be fair, I don’t have a 1966 edition copy (or even the 1956 reprint). Rather, I have a considerably cheaper “public domain” reprint. However, my scanned copy is just as delightful to read. Charles Jarrott was one of England’s first true automotive enthusiasts and rubbed shoulders with some early great racers such as S. F. Edge. This book provides a first-hand retelling of the excitement (and confusion) surrounding early automobilism. As delightful as it is informative, I recommend this read to anyone with an interest in learning more about the earliest years of British motorsport and car culture.