Many who follow this blog may be keenly aware of my appreciation of the history of motorsport, as well as more modern endeavours.
It is through the channels of history that one can build a sense the direction for the future – of course that only works if one is clever enough to learn from one’s errors.
Recent years have seen the motorsport universe (and the world in general) hit hard by the economic crisis.
At the time, Honda and Toyota left Formula 1 while the likes of IndyCar, the World Rally Championship and various sportscars series’ have also been hit by monetary and sponsorship woes.
Yet the last eighteen months has seen a slow upturn in fortunes for a number of manufacturers, resulting a steady increase of companies returning to various forms of motorsport.
Numerous rule changes regarding engine sizes and chassis development has also played a part in peaking the interest of several groups.
The parallels to the 1934 season are in some ways quite stark. Five years on from the onset of the great depression, motorsport began to reassert itself around the tough trails of the European Grand Prix year.
New regulations mandating a maximum vehicle weight of 750 kg reinvigorated the top class formula and tempted the hand of German power, operating in front of a Nazi curtain.
Where Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Maserati once dominated, Mercedes and Auto Union began to seize control, eventually winning the final four European Championships from 1935 onward. Yet 1934 was the key to German success that not even the great Tazio Nuvolari could halt.
In his brand new short book Silver Clouds, Canadian author and artist Paul Chenard captures this season perfectly. Although brief, Chenard has handcrafted an absolute marvellous piece, with stories from the Grand Prix year lined with several of his own stunning illustrations.
Indeed Silver Clouds goes beyond simple overviews of 1934’s key races. There are also forays into some of the key political machinations behind the season. It is through these entries that one truly understands the goings-on of the period and how they affected the world of motor racing.
Through several chapters, it is possible to observe many elements of the 1934 season, that inadvertently point toward political, economic and sporting goings-on that exist today.
Silver Clouds is far more than just a coffee book reference for the early days of Grand Prix racing – this is a stunning piece art to be treasured by those who love and appreciate motorsport.
Limited to just 50 copies, Silver Clouds also comes with “cigarette cards” of drivers and key personnel from the era, easily making this one of the finest products I have ever associated with motor racing.