If the names Fangio, Hakkinen, or (of course) Villeneuve give you goosebumps, or if the name Michael brings up only one face, you are probably keenly aware of the events this coming weekend in Montreal.
As F1 comes to town, what better time to bone up on the history of motor cars and racing? Motor racing history is not the collecting focus of McGill’s Rare Books and Special Collections, but a small number of highly illustrated books offer a feast of historical reality, and some fantasy, for the enthusiast.
Those of us who miss the battle between tire manufacturers will enjoy, for example, this reproduction in the Salon de l’Automobile of 1905 of a Michelin poster celebrating the victory of a Panhard racing car against “the fastest train in the world.”
And the view of the future from the 19th century? How about this art nouveau–meets batman style, proposed by the American Rubber Wheel Tire Co. in Springfield Ohio (which became the Kelly-Springfield Tire Company, later bought by Goodyear), reproduced in John Grand-Carteret’s La Voiture de demain: histoire de l’automobilisme; avec 250 figures (Paris: 1898).
To get in the mood for the weekend, or to trace the ever-changing techniques of the automobile, these are but a glimpse of what you’ll find inside some RBSC books, available for consultation in the reading room.