This time I have been having a look through the reference books of the period around the time of the cars production that are in my library. This was to see what was said at the time and how the little company got into general reference works. Most of these books normally cover the bigger established manufactures.
The first is The Sports Car Pocket Book by William (Bill) Boddy. Published in 1961. To those who may not be aware Bill was a great motoring journalist and author on motoring. He also co-founded the Vintage Sports Car Club, and founded the Brooklands Society in 1967 among numerous contributions to the emerging vintage car scene. At his death he was considered the longest-serving journalist in the UK. His first article 1930 and last just before his death in 2011. He wrote the best history to Brooklands race circuit in 1948. I wanted to point this out as the entry for Peerless is very inaccurate. It’s great we are in there as it slim volume covering 1901 to 1961 amazing we made it in with so many sports cars to choose from. But who did the research? First off it states Peerless was made by the same Peerless Company from the USA that made the lorries before, during and after WW1. Then became Jaguar agents. Wrong. He acknowledges the car made a good run at Lemans in 1958, correct. Then says “latter in the same year it was revived as the Warwick G.T”. Wrong! I hope anyone now finding a copy of the book does not rely on it. But overall, it’s great to be in a book by the wonderful Mr Bill Boddy.
The second is the Guide to Used Sports Cars which came in two volumes. By J.A. Haynes as in Haynes manuals when all cars were red. Printed in 1964. The authors’ preface states “in this book I have tried to show not only how to find a car in good condition, but to list the pertinent facts and figures concerning the purchase and running of sports cars in the lower price range”.
We make it into volume two. A comprehensive listing for the Peerless and one for the Warwick. The Peerless five page entry is comprehensive on the mechanicals and body. It reads as a very good used car review. He must have taken a car and put it through its paces. He concludes “the Peerless G.T. is very much an individualist’s car and relative simple alterations can be made because of its essentially simple construction to satisfy the driver. To the man who is enthusiastic to do the modifications and own maintenance and yet cannot own a two seater sports”. I think that sums up a Peerless well. The Warwick entry is treated to the same through consideration over its three pages. He extols the tilt front as per Triumphs Herald for engine access. Concluding Haynes writes “an excellent buy for the enthusiastic owner who wants something different and has a family to consider”. Both entries have plenty of facts and figures on the cars size, weight and performance. He has 1964 values as. Peerless £350 to £600 and Warwick £300 to £550. I think it is an honest appraisal on both cars then as it would be now if you had to write the same just change the car values.
The last reference work or in fact works is the great pocket-size series The Observer’s Book of. Who does not have one or two in their library? I have Flags (for cub badge), Wild Flowers (grandma thought would be useful), and Aircraft (because you have to) then of course the ones we make it into, Automobiles. I do only have the two years 1961 and 1962 with the Warwick in it. Anyone out there with the earlier years please can they let me know if the Peerless makes an entry.
The 61 issue has all the company details correct and car spec for the GT 2ltr with a brief description. With a picture and line drawing. The 62 edition has added the Warwick 350 sports saloon to the 2ltr version. It has a picture of the 350, I think taken at Brands Hatch and a line drawing of the 350. As with all the books in the series it is succinct and informative. Any young lad or lass with one in their pocket could identify and know about the latest cars. Mr Boddy should have spent the 5 shillings before compiling his book.
So, I think it is amazing as companies that only lasted a handful of years we made it into contemporary mainstay reference books. Keep an eye out for them in the charity book shops interesting to have alongside your car.