What would Christmas be the traditional presents of socks, books and a tie? I don’t seem to have reached the sock age yet and in these days of ‘business-casual’, I rarely have need of a tie. This leaves the books, and this Christmas was no exception. One of the books I received which I would like to share with you now is “The worst cars ever sold in Britain” by Giles Chapman.
By now, purely from the title, you’ll have a good idea what the book is about. It presents a 2-page review of 70 of what are in Chapman’s opinion the worst cars ever sold in Britain. The format of the book and of each review is quite simple. In addition to the usual description you would expect, there is a section highlighting the minus side of the car. To provide a balanced view there is also a corresponding plus side. Running throughout the book, the cars are also ranked in terms of being fastest & slowest, ugliest, most unreliable, best and worse selling, most handy and having the daftest features.
When my brother flicked through it, he described it as being a toilet book. What he meant by this is that it’s one of those books that you can pick up when you have a spare 5 minutes. At least that’s what I think he meant!
The format means that it’s easy to read about a single car or to see the top 10 daftest features.
So what cars can you expect to read about? Well obviously with 70 cars covering 70 years of production there’s a bit of everything. There is of course the car that everyone loves to hate, the Allegro. There are also the cars that sold in such low volumes (due to the fact that they were so bad) that you wouldn’t ever be expected to have heard of them.
On the other hand, you will probably be amazed to see some of the cars listed and I would even predict that you will be offended at some of the suggestions. But that’s one of the great things about the book. How boring would it be to read a book that simply presented views and ideas that you already had? No, this book is more challenging than that. Should a car that sells 1.5 million be listed? Why is a Jaguar listed in here?
In the book’s introduction, Chapman makes it clear that the cars presented are only his own opinions and there are definitely some provocative opinions in there. As I mentioned, something to offend everyone, lots of things that will bring a smile to your face and some fascinating nuggets of information such as the car which had different size driver and passenger doors (you will have to buy a copy to learn what this was).
After having read the book I felt that maybe the title wasn’t very appropriate. Some of the cars were undoubtedly bad, but others however were simply unsuccessful, maybe through no fault of the actual car. One car to illustrate this point, and one of my personal favourites in the book, is the Lloyd 650 which is a fine looking car in my eye. It was however dogged by production problems and even being unveiled to the world at the 1946 Cleethorpes trade fair was not sufficient to ensure it’s success.
However, having pondered over it long and hard, I failed to come up with any better suggestions for a title that were less than about a hundred words.
So I guess the crunch question is, would I recommend this book? Well this would have to be an unequivocal yes though following Chapman’s lead I would have to point out that this is simply my humble opinion. I found it to be a highly entertaining book presented in a very easy-to-read style. At £9.99 it is very reasonably priced for a hardback and should you wish to, can be picked up at your local WHSmiths.