Scott Brown Review of Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental
Hope you are well. I just have to write you a gushing fan letter on your Phantom II Continental book published last year. I just finished all 1100+ pages of pure pleasure.
For too long, major works on historic cars have gone down two paths.
One path is what I might call the Cluttered Archival Pile. The book is crowded with period historical photos (sometimes pinched to postage stamp size), charts, technical sections and old literature, and lots of lists at the back. There’s useful research, but the book is not an aesthetic treat, and takes some time to look up the cross references. Even though the reproductions are not great, and they take a magnifying glass to see the details, the armchair enthusiast has to be content that some pictures have been published of the rare cars at all...
Another approach is The Art Book. This book is loaded with large, gorgeous, well reproduced pictures, but it’s skimpy on the research information. The layout and organization too, is according to artistic whim. This makes for a great armchair treat but is somewhat frustrating for the serious researcher.
Your book takes a third direction: why can’t a research book have great beauty and lavish picture content and yet contain all the information a researcher would need, laid out in a logical fashion, chassis by chassis? Your book is a pure visual delight, and I enjoy the mixture of old and new, black and white and color pictures which not only tell the stories of the cars over the years but are so much fun to look at. Looking information up is such a pleasure with your book. The layout is logical, simple, and clean, and the text is not overloaded. I love that you added some information about the models of Continentals.
It’s just a staggering amount of work and scholarship on your part, and I congratulate you for it. I think it instantly sets up a new high standard for books of this sort and a model to follow. For some time, chassis by chassis information and history has existed in drawers and archives, but not accessible to the public in a logical and complete picture form. You’ve done all Rolls-Royce enthusiasts a great service.
There’s a crying need for more RR books like this, especially on the following:
1.The rest of the Phantom IIs (and a very fascinating and diverse bunch they are),
2.The New phantom or Phantom I (with or without the Springfield Phantoms),
and 3. The Silver Ghost… It would be especially interesting to see what has happened to a lot of the original chassis seen in the Edwardian Rolls-Royce book archival pictures. Those three books would really round out my library. I wonder if you’re working on any of these projects right now? I am here to cheer you on!
Once again, my heartiest congratulations!
All the best,