Alan Clark was passionate about cars from an early age. He bought his first car - a secondhand 6.5 litre Bentley - while still a schoolboy at Eton and without a driving licence. By the time he was 24 he had been banned from driving three times, not only for speeding but in one instance for driving an open Buick Roadster with a girl on his lap. He dealt in 'classic' and vintage cars and soon built up an impressive stable of his own. One of his first published pieces of journalism appeared in the US magazine, "Road and Track", for which he was briefly UK correspondent. "Back Fire", the title of a column he wrote in "Thoroughbred" and "Classic Cars" magazine, ran for three years until his death in September 1999. Here Robert Coucher, former editor of the magazine, has collected Clark's motoring writings - among them previously untranscribed diary entries and some early memoirs, including driving his own R-R Silver Ghost in two Alpine rallies. He also contributes a revealing introduction. Alan Clark's elder son, James Clark - who has inherited his father's motoring enthusiasms - provides a Prologue; Alan Clark's widow, Jane writes a moving Afterword.
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Alan Clark, educated at Eton and Oxford, read for the Bar but did not practise. Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton 1972-1992; Kensington and Chelsea, 1997-99. Various junior ministerial appointments in the Margaret Thatcher and John Major governments of the 1980s. Best-known for his Diaries, which The Times placed in the Samuel Pepys class.Review:
A brilliant book for the real motoring enthusiast. Leave prejudices at home and you will be seduced as Clark always intended―Sunday Tribune
You cannot help but enjoy Clark's vivid evocation of an epoch now remote and his nostalgia for the romantic aspects of motoring before it became just driving.―The Daily Mail
BACFIRE has all of the traits of the diaries, bitchy and opinionated, but also offering a true enthusiast's view of a life spent behind the wheel―The Scotsman
Anyone who enjoys the Clark prose style, indeed anyone who has ever had a zest from life (the two are mutually inclusive), will find BACK FIRE a thrill from cover to cover―The Spectator
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