I have always maintained that our grandfathers were far more brilliant than we realize. The things they conceived, designed and built revolutionized our world in countless ways. Within every field of human endeavor heroic figures emerge to advance the progress of their particular calling. Such is the case with renowned engineering giant Louis Coatalen, the man behind early twentieth century motor vehicles such as Sunbeam, Humber, Talbot and Darracq. While no longer household words, they still represent landmark achievements in motoring and for knowledgeable enthusiasts, motor racing and land speed racing in particular.
Oliver Heal’s new book, Louis Coatalen: Engineering Impresario of Humber, Sunbeam, Talbot, Darracq brings to light the extraordinary history of Coatalen, a genuinely remarkable man, both flawed and genius, which is often the case with driven individuals on the leading edge of progress. Among the most prominent engineers of his day, Coatalen was a skilled automotive designer, a daring racing driver and the heartbeat of enormously successful Gran Prix racing teams and land speed record racing cars.