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If you enjoyed Norman Dewis – Developing the Legend (still available – see elsewhere on this website), you will surely appreciate this, the second title to come from Paul Skilleter Books / PJ Publishing Ltd.
This is a companion volume to Norman Dewis and is produced to the same high-quality specification, hard-bound and is also large format (225mm x 297mm approx).
There are 272 pages and over 500 illustrations - many of which have never been published before.
ECURIE ECOSSE is a name that resonates through motor racing history, and over 50 years since its humble initial sortie on a half-forgotten, draughty Scottish airfield circuit, it is recognised worldwide as one of the most successful private sports car racing teams ever.
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Its origins lie in the enthusiasm of a Scotsman called David Murray, a keen and moderately gifted amateur driver who, in the early 1950s, had a dream of creating a Scottish motor racing team. Formula One was his ultimate objective but as a start, in 1952 a team was organised around keen customers of Merchiston Motors, the Edinburgh business run by Murray and his partner, former Brooklands MG tuner W.E. ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson.
This deeply-researched book explores Wilkie’s pre-war background with the Bellevue Garage and Brooklands, and Murray’s early single-seater career with Reg Parnell, before going on to explain how the team came into being.
Ecurie Ecosse’s first drivers all owned Jaguar XK 120s, and so was born an association with the Coventry marque which would ultimately have consequences far beyond the dreams of even the ambitious Murray. The three XKs, painted in the distinctive Flag Metallic Blue that became the team’s hallmark, ran under the alliterative name Ecurie Ecosse – fashionably French and directly translatable as Team Scotland.
With sponsorship from Esso and covert backing from shipping magnate Major E. G. Thomson – a shadowy figure in the Ecurie Ecosse story, but whose support was vital - the immaculately-prepared XK 120s were replaced in 1953 by Jaguar C-types. The team’s success then persuaded Jaguar to allow Ecurie Ecosse to purchase the three ‘lightweight’ works C-types, which had won that year’s Le Mans.
Further good results led Murray to negotiate the purchase of D-type Jaguars. This, of course, led to those historic victories at Le Mans - in 1956 when the works Jaguars failed, and in 1957 after Ecurie Ecosse had taken over the works ‘longnose’ D-types on the withdrawal of the factory team.
These years also included the extraordinary ‘Race of Two Worlds’, with the D-types (and in 1958 a Lister-Jaguar) pitted against Indianapolis cars on the banked track at Monza, Italy – an episode the book deals with in depth.
Then the major part of a chapter is devoted to the amazing Ecurie Ecosse transporter, specially built for the team in 1960. This features unique period photographs of the transporter, including in colour. Rare period colour photographs of Ecurie Ecosse at Le Mans is also included in the book.
It is an essential part of the Ecurie Ecosse story that the triumphs of Le Mans in the late 1950s would never be repeated - even though the original team continued until 1965 and counted such brilliant young talent as Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart amongst its drivers. The book explores the reasons, both probable and possible, not only for the team’s rise to prominence, but also its inexorable decline -- through the words of drivers and team members who were there, and through the characters of the leading players in the story, the ebullient “fixer” David Murray and his “cheeky chappie” Wilkie Wilkinson partner. Ecurie Ecosse, sometimes controversial, is as much about people as it is about racing cars…
About the author, Eric Dymock
ERIC DYMOCK trained as an engineer in Glasgow, and joined the road test staff of The Motor in l962. From 1965 he covered grand prix racing for The Guardian, and later The Observer. He was motoring correspondent of Town (Haymarket), 1966-68, News of the World 1973-75, and The Observer, 1980-82.
From 1982 to 1995 as motoring correspondent of The Sunday Times, he won the Jet Media Excellence Award outright in 1988, wrote and researched motoring programmes for BBC2, Thames Television, and the Australian Broadcasting Commission and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. In 1983 - 1986 he was motoring editor of Road and Car, with a print run of 7 million. He was a classic car consultant for Christie’s, and British correspondent of the authoritative Auto Visie in Holland.
In May 2004 Eric Dymock won the Jim Clark Memorial Award, presented by the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers for his biography of Scottish motor racing legend, Jim Clark. The president of the ASMW said: "No other Scottish author has so accurately depicted the tragically short life of Jim Clark… Eric's writing is of a consistently high standard as the large number of best-selling automotive books which carry his name confirms."
These include Champion Year with Jackie Stewart (Pelham, 1970), and The Guinness Guide to Grand Prix Motor Racing (Guinness Superlatives, 1980). In 1992 he set up Dove Publishing Ltd, producing Rover The First Ninety Years, and Saab Half a Century of Achievement, which gained the Guild of Motoring Writers Montagu Award for 1997. Dove’s other books include High Speed Diary, and Eric Dymock Motor Books on Audi, Renault, Vauxhall, MG, Jaguar, Ford in Britain and Land Rover.
Eric Dymock is editorial director of Dove Publishing Ltd, and motoring editor of The Business.