Ferrari: A Champion’s View
by Phil Hill & John Lamm
No one has, nor ever will, be able to articulate as succinctly, accurately, with more sensitivity and inside knowledge, the Ferrari experience than former World Champion Phil Hill.
No one. Ever. Not before, and never again.
For the last 30 years, for both Road & Track and Rosso Ferrari, Hill recorded his thoughts and feelings of the Ferraris he drove in anger, as well as others he did not. As good a writer as he is a race driver, Hill wrote each story with honesty, instinctively, and a balanced 20/20 hindsight. In fact, of all the years of R&T Salons, Hill’s were by far the best—written by the guy who actually raced the cars for the factory, not some penny-a-word-would-be-journalist who can’t drive his way out of a paper bag. The combination of Hill’s introspection, mechanical abilities, intelligence, writing ability and of course his years with Ferrari is not only unique, but totally awesome in the greatest sense of the phrase.
Each Ferrari article was a jewel in its own right. Now, Dalton Watson put them together and created a veritable treasure chest, one not to be taken lightly simply because the articles were previously published. The only criticism of the book is that it is an anthology. But thank goodness for it!
A Champion’s View combines the best photos of John Lamm, the superb layout was done by Chuck Queener, and the black and white photos were supplied by Jesse Alexander, Jerry Chesebrough, Jim Sitz, and the Edgar Motorsport Archive among many others. Lamm, of course, is one of the best photographers out there, and his work complements Hill’s text in every manner. It’s a dream team kind of book.
In general, Hill reviews the development of each subject model, often dealing with several similar cars. Intertwined in each chapter, Hill relates his own personal experiences with the car, often with amusing and/or tragic anecdotes. This makes for a very interesting book that is both historical, technical, and all too human in scope. As we said, no one else could have done a better job. No one.
What Ferraris are featured? The menu, please:
- 815 (factory replicar)
- Corsa Spyder (016I and 002C)
- 166MM Touring Barchetta (0078E)
- 250MM Vignale (0260MM)
- 340 MM Vignale (0324 AM)
- 375 MM Vignale (0286 AM)
- 750, 857, 860 Monzas (various)
- 121 LM Scaglietti (0484 LM)
- 500 TRC, (0662MDTR)
- 315S (0700)
- 412 MI (0744)
- 250TR (0666TR)
- 250TR (0728TR)
- 259TR (0768TR)
- 250TRI (0792TR)
- Dino SP 268 (0798)
- 330 TRI/LM (0808)
- 330 P3-4 (various)
- 333 SP (003)
- Ferrari Transporter
So, for whom is the book a must-have? Serious Ferrari Enthusiasts: Yes, by all means. Ok, you may have the material elsewhere, but not as well laid out and all together. Get a copy signed by Phil asap. Italian Car Enthusiasts: Yes. It will provide a “champion’s vision” of the most incredible Italian cars ever built. I love them all, but there is simply nothing like a Ferrari. New Ferrari Nuts: Yes, for all of the above reasons. A great way to begin to learn about the cars and why so many people are so nuts about them. Ferrari Historians: Oh yeah, you guys. Well, you will learn nothing new. At least there are serial numbers, as applicable. Might even find an error here or there. But in terms of the big picture, and in reference to a great anthology, yes, it is a worthy addition to the library and you won’t have to go searching through years of R&Ts to find that neat quote from Hill or a clear photo of the Ferrari Transporter. All of the Rest: If you can’t be defined, you need the book. Then you will eventually fall into one of the above categories.
Copyright 2010, Pete Vack (speedreaders.info).
(Adapted, with permission, from a review Vack first wrote for his website VeloceToday.com of which he is Publisher and Editor)