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Home arrow Reviews arrow Books arrow "Passion For Speed" - Nick Mason and Mark Hales
"Passion For Speed" - Nick Mason and Mark Hales Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Passion For Speed - Nick Mason and Mark HalesPublished in the UK by Carlton Books in hardback on September 16th, 2010, is "Passion For Speed: Twenty Four classic cars that shaped a century of motor sport" by Nick Mason and Mark Hales. It is the new, expanded (third) edition of the ground-breaking and critically acclaimed book "Into the Red". "Passion For Speed" puts you behind the wheel of some of the world's greatest ever sports and racing cars.

In the book, Nick gives his personal view of the history and heritage of each model, with a modest and witty account of the ups and downs of collecting cars. It is a rare and extremely personal insight into the emotion behind the purchase from a man who is uniquely placed to tell the story.

With the help of test driver, writer and racer Mark Hales, Nick has pushed twenty-four of his own cars to the limit with a no-holds-barred workout at Silverstone, Donington and Anglesey racetracks, looking to discover and record how they drive at proper race speeds, and exactly how a hundred years brought change and progress.

We've taken a good look at the book, looking at how it compares with the previous editions...

As Nick himself puts it: "There have been plenty of track tests in magazine and the odd performance test against the clock, but rarely both together and not on the scale we were contemplating. There had been plenty of history too. After all, these cars had already been driven by some of the greatest drivers ever..."

This third edition, with the addition of two further chapters to the previous edition, now also covers the stunning Ferrari Enzo, and the smaller but no less impressive Alfa Romeo TZ.

All the cars are photographed in detail inside and out – and each chapter includes data on acceleration, lap times and detailed technical specifications. And, as a bonus, there is a CD unleashing the power and glory of the cars’ signature engine sounds, recorded both on board and outside the cars.

The book tells the story of how the cars were discovered and acquired, and what they were like to own as well as to drive. There's also some comparitive work between the cars, but Nick and Mark do point out that the main objective was to enjoy themselves. This fun and enthusiasm comes across throughout the book, which is printed and presented to the same standard as the first and second editions - hard-backed, with glossy, well-printed pages. As befitting a revised edition, the introduction pages have been expanded and tweaked, as have the texts of each (pre-existing) chapter to make them chronologically still accurate, and maybe also to revise wording that, in hindsight, Nick or Mark wanted to amend from the previous editions.

Nick's wonderful, and refreshingly honest turn of phrase is to the fore throughout, from descriptions of various races, through to the relative merits of various model's storage capacity ("...there's barely space for the most fitted of luggage, let alone my preferred personal paraphernalia of maps, old apple cores, souvenirs and unusual French sausages...").

The included CD has also been updated to include both new cars, and now features 20 cars in total. (Four cars have been excluded - in all editions of the book - due to the mechanics of the car causing interference on the recording.)

The additional chapters are just as stunningly illustrated, with evocative photos and assorted, related memorabilia, alongside Mark's incisive and thoroughly descriptive text, and Nick's fascinating history of his acquisition of said car. In the case of the Alfa Romeo TZ, this turned out to have quite a chequered history, including Nick seemingly being the recipient of a car that really wasn't what it initially seemed! The chapter focusing on the Ferrari Enzo shows a personal, related history going back to the 1950s, and relates the story of an over-excited Nick picking up the car on the first day. It also reveals the background to his appearance on the BBC's Top Gear, alongside the Enzo, and some very unsubtle plugging for his then newly-published book, "Inside Out - A Personal History of Pink Floyd"! The following video clip gives a good flavour of that...

Clearly, this book won't be for every Floyd fan, although we know that many will greatly enjoy Nick's witty turn of phrase and his detailed revelations of life at the mercy of various car sellers over the years!

You can order the book now through the following special links, giving up to (at time of writing) 38% discount off the recommended retail price:, Amazon UK, Amazon US/International, Amazon Canada, Amazon France, or Amazon Germany, all of which give a small but vital contribution towards BD site costs, without costing you any extra.

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