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May 21, 2019
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Montlhéry – The Story of the Paris Autodrome

Montlhéry – The Story of the Paris Autodrome

By Bill Boddy
About the Author

Hardback • 140mm x 213mm • 232 pages • 47 pictures

ISBN: 9781845840525

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Only English record of this important motor racing circuit
Races and record bids described for the famous banked track and road circuit, covering five French Grand Prix from 1925 to 1937, and top racing drivers and cars
Photographs (action and static) of top racing drivers, men and women, and special track cars.


Updated from original Montagu Motor Books edition this is the only English language history of the extremely historic Paris Autodrome, the banked circuit at MontlhÈry was used for innumerable record bids and important races. Written by that doyen of motor sport journalism, Bill Boddy, the book has a foreword by famous racing driver and record-breaker the late George Eyston, OBE.


Updated from original Montagu Motor Books edition this is the only English language history of the extremely historic Paris Autodrome, the banked circuit at MontlhÈry was used for innumerable record bids and important races. Written by that doyen of motor sport journalism, Bill Boddy, the book has a foreword by famous racing driver and record-breaker the late George Eyston, OBE.

Independent Reviews

Review by Mark Holman for New Zealand Classic Car, June 2007

"... original copies of this book are probably getting hard to find, so it’s good that Veloce has given us the ability option of buying a new copy of a book that gives such good coverage of a track which almost got to its 80th birthday."

Review from The Flying Lady, June 2007
US magazine

Reprinted as part of Veloce's "Classic Reprints" series, this new edition adds several extra period photos to the long out of print 1961 original edition, as well as an extra chapter covering the track's history after 1961. A general explanation of the methodology behind motorcar records leads into a detailed – and engaging, in Boddys typical style – narrative of the next 30-some seasons, with detailed descriptions of five French Grands Prix from 1925-37.

The many Bentley references alone make this a worthwhile read but it is equally instructive to see the many connections among the drivers and engineers and the cross-pollination of influences. (John Duff, for instance, whose name is inseparable from Bentleys earliest efforts is shown here racing all sorts of cars, not least the Blitzen Benz which is the subject of the following review). Besides, this is the only English-language history of this historic track.

Review from Motor Sport magazine, June 2007

A hardback, 232-page reprint of Motor Sport founding editor Bill Boddy's excellent 1961 volume charting the history of the historic track outside Paris, which opened for racing in October 1924 and which used to stage the French Grand Prix. An extra chapter has been added, updating the story to include post-1961 action.

Part of the massive appeal of this book is in the wealth of detail which is included, covering the races that took place there on the various layouts, including the super-fast banked section. Also covered are speed record attempts, for which the name of Montlhery is equally well-known. It includes stories of some of the heroes who pushed the boundaries on their way to setting records at the circuit – including George Eyston and the remarkable Gwenda Stewart – and a number of evocative contemporary pictures in black and white.

Review by Hans-Georg Schmitt for Model Auto Review, May 2007
UK magazine

Montlhéry was still in use when the long out of print first edition of this book was published. This re-issue of Bill Boddy’s classic book reminds us all about this now little-known French race track.

Review by Mike Goodbun for Classic Cars, April 2007

Boddy's excellent comprehensive history of racing at Paris circuit Montlhery was first published in 1961, so pick this up if you missed it.

Review from The Automobile magazine, April 2007

First published in 1961 when Montlhéry had started its long run down from International fame, this is a reprint of Bill’s original wrk. The old pictures have been scanned and a few new ones added, all inserted more appropriately in the text than the previous printing process allowed. A short section covers the period after the first edition.

Having written his master work on Brooklands, initially in three parts (Grenville 1948, 1949 and 1950) and finally as a single volume (Grenville, 1957), it was natural for the author to delve into the story of another banked track: ‘I have always been fascinated by pure, uninterrupted, full-throttle motoring’. The first part of it was effectively what he had written for Veteran and Vintage, but Lord Montagu persuaded him to extend the research beyond the Vintage period into this book.

The book effectively ends at 1970, so the wonderful Coupe de l’Age d’Or meetings from the late-1970s till the final closure are not included. A comprehensive index makes this an excellent reference book as well as an interesting read. Many thanks to Veloce for reprinting this invaluable work.

Review from the Jowetteer – The Newsletter of The Jowett Car Club Ltd, March 2007

This book, I have to say, I enjoyed better than the original, as it has a larger print size, and there are more illustrations.

The book also covers the five French Grands Prix held there between 1925 and 1937; it also details the top drivers and their cars. On the Jowett front, there is a reference to the record set up in 1933 by the Hon Mrs Victor Bruce and her husband, when they covered 2,772 miles in 72 hours non-stop driving in their Kestrel at an average speed of 38.5mph. There is also a reference to J Horridge, who in 1954 raced a homebuilt special using a Jupiter chassis and a Riley Sprite engine; I must confess I have not read about him before, so there must be an interesting story there to follow-up!

Review from Startline magazine, February 2007

Well-known author and former editor of Motor Sport Magazine, Bill Boddy MBE, has produced the only English language record of this important French motor racing circuit. This completely remade edition is updated from the original Montagu Motor Books edition, long since out of print. The book covers five French Grand Prix from 1925 to 1937, the top drivers and their cars. Also detailed is a description of the famous banked track, the races and the record bids; all of which is accompanied by some wonderful images. The foreword was written by racing driver and record breaker, the late George Eyston OBE, MC.

This is a fantastic historical look back at the former home of French racing.

Review from Classic Car Mart, Spring 2007

Veloce Publishing aren’t afraid to bring old books back from the dead if they think there’s enough interest, which helps to explain the creation of their Classic Reprint Series – and the launch of this, the latest version of a title originally published by Montagu Motor Books but long since out of print.

Written by the legendary Bill Boddy (founding editor of MotorSport magazine), Montlhery: The Story of the Paris Autodrome claims to be the only English language title dedicated to this most important of French motor racing circuits. And for fans of classic motor sport, this 232-page hardback makes a fascinating read.

It’s a terrific tale, told superbly by this most famous of motoring writers. Top marks to Veloce for bringing one of Bill Boddy’s most in-depth pieces of work back to life after so long in hibernation.


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