‘A band of stubborn pioneers rose from the embers of Britain’s cities after the war and created the finest automobiles the world had ever seen…Â High Performance tells the exhilarating tale of their journey‘Â Ben Collins, bestselling author of How To Drive
‘High PerformanceÂ is a cracking read and an adrenaline-packed tribute to the time when British mavericks “blew the bloody doors off” the competition’ Sunday Times
In January 1964, a team of tiny red and white Mini Coopers stunned the world by winning the legendaryÂ Monte Carlo Rally. It was a stellar year for British cars thatÂ culminated inÂ GoldfingerÂ breakingÂ box office records andÂ makingÂ James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 the world’s most famous sportsÂ car.
By the sixties, on road, track and silver screenÂ theÂ Brits were the ones to beat, winning Formula One championships and capturing hearts. Designers like John Cooper, and Colin ChapmanÂ ofÂ Lotus, dismissed as mere ‘garagisti’ by Enzo Ferrari, grabbed all the prizes, while Alex Issigonis won a knighthood for his revolutionary Mini. The E Type Jaguar was feted as the world’s sexiest car and Land Rover the most durable.
But before the war only one British car had triumphed in a Grand Prix; Britain’s car builders wereÂ fiercely risk-averse.Â So what changed? To find out, Peter Grimsdale has gone in search of a generation of rebel creative spirits who emerged from railway arches and Nissen hutsÂ to tear upÂ the rulebook with their revolutionary machines.Â Like theÂ serial fugitives from theÂ POW camps, they thrived on adversity, improvisation andÂ sheerÂ obstinate determination.Â
High PerformanceÂ celebratesÂ Britain’s automotive golden age and the mavericks who sketched them on the back of envelopes and garage floors, who fettled, bolted and welded them together and hammered the competition in the showroom, on the road and on the track – fuelled by contempt for convention.