John Godfrey Parry Thomas, an engineer of genius and a brilliant racing driver, has been described by another great designer, Mr. Reid Railton, as “by far the greatest original thinker that I have ever met.” His best-known production, the Leyland Eight which appeared in 1920, bristled with novel solutions to the problems then facing automobile designers: torsion springs, anti-roll bars, vacuum assisted brakes—commonplace today but all originating on the Leyland Eight.
As a designer-driver, Thomas won international fame by his exploits at Brooklands, Montlhery and on Pendine Sands, with his Leyland Thomas, his Thomas Specials, the Marlborough Thomas, and his aero-engined record breaker, based on the ex Count Zborowski Higham Special and renamed ‘Babs’, which took the World’s Land Speed Record in 1926, and in which he so tragically lost his life the following year.
Hugh Tours has written an affectionate, extraordinarily well informed, but clear-sighted biography. He has had the assistance of members of Thomas’ family, Leyland Motors Ltd. And of his friends—Mr. Reid Railton, Mr. Kenneth Taylor and Major L. G. Callingham among others. He gives technical details of Thomas’ engineering achievements, including the revolutionary Thomas electro-mechanical transmission, his aero engine and all his cars, together with full accounts from contemporary sources of his racing and record breaking career.
The appendices include Thomas’ own views on Anglo-American rivalry in record breaking and a chronological table of his successes on the track. The selection of 36 photographs and drawings add to the value of this tribute an outstanding personality in the motoring sport of the Vintage years.
First edition 1959. Hardback in good condition. Complete with dust cover – this shows sign of age with some tears and scuffing throughout.