Touch Wood by Duncan Hamilton
Duncan Hamilton won the classic Le Mans 24-Hour race in 1953 in his C-type Jaguar, with co-driver Tony Rolt. In 1954 the same pair finished second, losing to a much larger-ended V12 Ferrari - and by the narrowest margin in years. In all, Duncan Hamilton competed in nine of those great Le Mans endurance classics. Having cut his teeth in such pre-war cars as the R-Type MG and the Bugatti Type 35B, Duncan graduated to one of the immortal Lago-Talbot Grand Prix cars - which he subsequently mislaid in a French coal-hole. After a hugely eventful racing career - only Duncan could get himself fired by Jaguar for winning the Rheims 12-Hour race in 1956 - he eventually hung up his racing helmet in 1958. As Earl Howe wrote in the original 1960 foreword to this book, though the drivers of his age were fiercely competitive, there were also 'friends to meet, stories to tell and almost certainly a party to be enjoyed...'. Duncan Hamilton was certainly larger than life, and this book tells the story of a man who wasn't just one of the most successful drivers of the 50s, but also the man who trespassed at Brooklands, who spent the war in the Fleet Air Arm accidentally trying to drown American Admirals and who was once stopped on for speeding whilst rushing to take part in a TV programme on road safety. It is a must for any classic car enthusiast's bookshelf.