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SKINNER’S UNION – A History of the Skinner Family and the S. U. Company.

By Mike Harvey, published by The S.U. Carburetter Co – £20.00 plus Post and Packing.

2015 Review by Malcolm Jeal.

Members of the SAHB will already have had a foretaste of this book as a result of the impressive article on the early part of the company’s history that appeared in Aspects of Motoring History No 10. That outlined the origins of the invention of the SU carburetter in 1904 and those that brought this about, and traced developments through the next 25 or so years. In addition there were some fine full-page freehand technical drawings that showed the construction and workings of the different carburetters that were designed and made.

Now this book has been published we not only get the full story that sustains the tenor of the Aspects article, but we also have a publication that is of inestimable quality both in terms of presentation and content. Printed on high quality art paper and profusely illustrated in black & white and colour where appropriate to a high standard, it is an attractive book to handle and a pleasure initially to just turn the pages and savour what is to come. Once actual reading commences, it is difficult to stop so doing.

Inevitably there is technical information that some might consider to be rather daunting, but this is expressed in accessible language so that with a degree of mental application plus reference to the accompanying illustrations it is understandable. Along with this there are the biographical stories of members of the Skinner family and associates, whilst a chapter is devoted to the various sporting cars that family members competed with in the 1930s – and the subsequent histories and restorations of these vehicles.

Most of us will think of SU carburetters in connection with motorcars and so the section on the various aero engines that also made use of them, notably the Rolls-Royce Merlin and Napier Sabre power units during World War Two, add an interesting additional dimension to the story. And there is of course more – William Morris’ acquisition of the business in 1927 and subsequent developments being but one example – but this is a review, not a summary.

Credit is due to Mike Harvey for producing the excellent content and to John Burlen, whose firm these days owns the S.U. Carburetter Company, for producing the book itself to such a high standard. The very modest purchase price quoted of £20.00 is indeed correct – the quality of the end product in purely financial terms is way above this figure.

Visit www.sucarb.co.uk or phone 01722 412500 to purchase a copy – it does have a ‘Part Number’: ALT 9527.

 


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