In this review, we look at a horsepower-fuelled creation of a different kind – a book! Written by veteran motoring journalist, and walking-talking automotive encyclopaedia, Adil Jal Darukhanawala, ‘Mercedes-Benz Winning’ is a must-have for even the most casual gearhead.
A few years ago, I was sharing a BMW i3 in Amsterdam with the author, Adil. We were there courtesy of BMW, and had a packed schedule. Driving routes had been predetermined to ensure that we didn’t run the risk of being left with a drained battery on the side of the road. Adil, however, had other plans.
The Louwman Museum in The Hague was just about 60 kilometres away, and since it’s one of the finest automotive museums in the world the temptation of taking a small detour to visit was simply too good to pass up. So, we went AWOL – just for a few hours anyway – but much to the dismay of the folks at BMW who were keeping tabs on us via a tracking device.
To say that Adil was like a kid in a candy store would be an understatement. His enthusiasm was infectious – and I was pretty excited to be there in my own right. But here was a man who’s been doing this for far more years than I, who could barely contain himself as he enthusiastically clicked pictures of each machine from every angle while proceeding to tell me a concise history of every car on display. Not only is Adil a walking-talking encyclopaedia on all things automotive, but – unlike other encyclopaedias that bore you to tears – Adil holds your attention thanks to his sheer knowledge and enthusiasm. And it’s this very combination that makes his latest book, Mercedes-Benz Winning, a must-have – not only for automobile enthusiasts and racing fans but also for absolutely anyone who has any interest whatsoever in these four-wheeled machines that play such an important part in our everyday lives.
To say that Mercedes-Benz is important to the history of the motorcar would be another understatement. The Benz Patent-Motorwagen started a love affair with the automobile that has grown beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. This book traces automotive history back to the very beginning – from horseless carriages, to the first sports car, to streamlining and supercharging, right to the present day – illustrating the legend of Mercedes-Benz via its victories in the world of motorsport. Why motorsport? Well, because the men (and women) in the early days of the sport were true gladiators who put their lives on the line each time they set off from the start line. They pushed the boundaries, which led to technical innovations that would never have seen the light of day if it weren’t for the heat of competition. The book also catalogues a number of historic and incredibly beautiful Mercs that made their way to our shores over the past century.
This truly is the “most comprehensive book on automobile history ever by an Indian.” And, not only is it a labour of love for Adil, but also a very courageous step to write and publish a 400-page book in a world of 140 characters.
But for some things you need to look beyond Twitter – sometimes you need to immerse yourself in page-after-page of incredible visuals and engaging storytelling. So, go out and by this book (on Amazon, Flipkart or www.djmedia.com for Rs. 4,500) to learn everything that you need to know about the history of the three-pointed star, which is so intrinsically linked to the history of the automobile.