Clive’s USA Road Trip
by David James Smitheram
David Smitheram is a well known figure in British motorsport and when he isn’t running race weekends for the Classic Sports Car Club he is competing in his own Corvette C6. Smitheram became a father recently and it is a testament to his love of Americana that he named his son Austin. Not after the ill-conceived Austin Metropolitan, thankfully, but after the Circuit of the Americas race track in Austin, Texas. And Austin’s dad has now written him his very own book, and it’s about the travels and adventures of Clive, as Smitheram has named his Corvette. Dad bought Clive in California in 2018 and drove him “from sea to shining sea” before shipping him to his new home in the south of England.
I am well over six decades too old to write a proper critique of this children’s book, but as kids under five are in (mercifully) short supply in your reviewer’s home, a more focussed review wasn’t possible. So, with that caveat, here’s what I think.
This is a short (30-page) softcover book with minimal, but nevertheless charming narrative. It is the pictures which bring the book to life, showing scenes on the journey east from California. Clive the C6 visits iconic American sites such as Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon and, of course, Route 66 before being loaded on to a container ship for the voyage to England. The pictures are charming, depicting accurate images of the ‘Vette, with personality added by headlight eyes. The pictures are based on the photographs the author took on the road trip, but have been digitally–and very successfully—enhanced. Some of the pictures have an almost surreal quality and I’d love to see them in a larger hardback book. In such a form it would be an elegant addition to a car guy’s coffee table, but even in this relatively small scale they are guaranteed to charm Corvette fans aged 2 to 102.
I have read the book—it didn’t take too long—in both Kindle and printed version. Do buy the softcover, my Kindle’s small, monochrome format didn’t do the images full justice.
Copyright John Aston, speedreaders.info 2021