You may be wondering why a website with a distinct bias towards the products of Dearborn includes a review of a book about the products of Modena. Well, there are several reasons for this: (1) the history of the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer in sports car racing is very extensively covered (and if you’re keen on GT40s etc you probably have an interest in all types of sports-racing cars), (2) some of our photographs are included in it, and (3) it’s a very nice book.
Not only is it very nice, it’s huge. Its 240 pages measure some 13 inches by 9.25 inches, and it weighs far more than my postal scales can deal with. It’s the first offering from the aptly named Fiorano Publishing, and it has been created to a very high standard, on heavy paper, with a stylish and attractive layout. The first 75 or so pages deal with the road cars, giving the history of their development from the first “small” (4.4-litre) 365GT/4BB up to the five-litre BB512 (why can Ferrari never standardise on a system of designations?). Then follows the detailed, very extensive, racing history, covering every racer in every event in the car’s heyday. The book is rounded off by a section about memorabilia (models, books etc) and, finally, the Register - a listing of all known BBs, by chassis number, giving details of, inter alia, their colour, year of production, destination country and, in quite a lot of cases, where they are now and what registration numbers they have carried.
It’s profusely illustrated, with over 250 photographs (mainly in colour), showing the car in action, detailed close-ups, its competitors and its predecessors. There are cutaway drawings of the car and many of its major components. Through it all runs the author’s easy-to-read text; Nathan has the sort of writing style which appeals to me, having just the right amount of humour to ensure that the story never gets boring, and it keeps a smile on the reader’s face. It’s informative too, and has enlightened me about various things I always wondered about, and never knew. For example, who was the mysterious Sheila Wong Chong, whose name was emblazoned across the nose of a racing BB at Le Mans? And why did the same car race in a pale sand-coloured livery, totally unconnected with its sponsors, at Silverstone? Why did a bank spend a considerable amount of cash converting a road car which they owned into a full racer, and why did they never race it? Which BB received front and rear bodywork which were clones of those of the Porsche 935?
There are plenty of quotes from those who own(ed) and raced these cars, and it is clear that the author has spent many, many, hours researching this volume. There have been other books dealing with the subject, but none has been even nearly as comprehensive as this one, and it is probably fair to say that this will become the definitive work. At £49 it is fairly priced, and well worth adding to a Ferrari enthusiast’s library.