If you are a reader "of a certain age" you will recall the days when even the newspapers included daily rally updates, such was the extent to which the Monte--considered one of the toughest endurance events in the world--captured the public's imagination! It is the oldest rally and the only one to have been run continually since its beginning in 1911 (except for 14 years of downtime due to war and government interference). The Monte is run to this day but Robson ends his coverage in 1980, the year he considers its zenith. After that time rule changes, the ascendancy and quickly dominance of all-wheel drive (Long Live the Audi Quattro! Death to the Audi Quattro!) caused him to lose interest. Today's highly specialized purpose-built rally cars that are no longer street-legal are a far cry from, say, the 1932 entry of an anemic 65 bhp Hillman Wizard 75 with a crew of four pulling a caravan (finished 35th!) or a lumbering Citroën bus in 1934!
The book covers each year separately, showing route maps, top 10 results and various stats. Explanations of regulations, classes of entries, tests after arrival in Monaco, special stages, and the concours are woven into the text where they are relevant. Robson points out what changed year to year, what worked and what didn't, always relates the human element and all around tells an engaging story.
All the photos, except the ones on the cover are b/w, which, if nothing else, creates a sense of visual continuity through the ages. They are sufficiently large, well reproduced, have detailed captions, and show a great variety of cars, people, road and weather conditions, toil and triumph. A final section addresses homologation and there is an extensive bibliography but no index.
Full review at <speedreaders.info>. Copyright 2010, Sabu Advani.