Book Review: McLaren – The Cars 1964-2008 by William Taylor
Setting the bar for F1 books
I recently reviewed McLaren – The Wins, so it makes sense to complete a review of its sister book, William Taylor’s excellent McLaren – The Cars 1964-2008*.
I also have to confess that I’m not a huge McLaren fan, although I’ve been a fan of many of their drivers. That said, as a bigger fan of F1 history, this book is easily one of my favorite Formula 1 books.
Just like McLaren – The Wins, this book was made with the co-operation of McLaren and it oozes McLaren corporate styling and design influences in every aspect – from the dust jacket, colour selection, layout and interviews with team personnel and drivers.
The book starts with the 1964 McLaren M1A Group 7 and charts each decade of McLaren’s cars including sportscars, early open wheelers, grand prix cars, US can-am cars and the McLaren F1 GT race cars.
McLaren – The Cars has a uniform structure and layout through the whole book. For each year and car, William Taylor provides a 1 page backstory of the car’s development during the season sprinkled with some insightful quotes from team personnel about that particular car. On average, the book dedicates 3-4 pages on each of successful car chassis. There are thumbnail photos of the driver, chassis or engine and a front, rear and side profile shots of the car. This also makes it a great reference for car modellers.
The chapters for each decade are introduced by past McLaren world championship drivers – there are forewords written by Fittipaldi, Lauda, Prost, Häkkinen and Hamilton.
There are lots of other McLaren related books that cover the team’s golden era during the Lauda-Prost, Senna-Honda and Hakkinen years but the best part of this book is the coverage of the not so famous earlier McLaren cars and test cars. Currently, I rate this book as the bible of McLaren cars.
McLaren – The Cars is a big book with a lot of longevity – it will that take several sittings to read and is always a joy to re-read.
* Note: This book has since been updated with a 2nd edition which includes McLaren race cars up to the 2011 season instead of 2008.
Wow Factor or the Money Shot: There is a lot to like but the inclusion of profiles of the lesser known or written about McLaren Indycars and test cars – like the Lamborghini MP4/8B, the MP4/18A and the MP4-T5 are real winners.
Suitable for: A must for McLaren fans or F1 history fans