Karl Ludvigsen’s book Reid Railton: Man of Speed has won yet another award, bringing its tally to six—a total that is without equal in the world of automotive history publishing.
The Thomas McKean Memorial Cup was presented by the Antique Automobile Club of America at its awards evening in Philadelphia on 8 February 2020. In the AACA’s words, this trophy honours “worthwhile effort during the year in automotive historical research on the basis of accuracy, interest to club members, and the use to which the research is put.” The cup is named in memory of Thomas McKean (1909–49), a bibliophile and former president of the AACA. This is the second time that Ludvigsen has won this award.
Reid Railton: Man of Speed is the first book dedicated to the life and career of Reid Antony Railton, automotive engineer par excellence and the creator of an extraordinary range of cars. He rose to renown during the 1930s as chief engineer at Thomson & Taylor, Brooklands-based racing-car builders. There he realised the dreams of that era’s top men of speed, including Tim Birkin, Malcolm Campbell, Whitney Straight, John Cobb, Raymond Mays and Goldie Gardner. His great cars powered them all to sensational racing and record-breaking success.
Introduced on the death of McKean in 1949, the award has recognised the work of the world’s best automotive historians, among them Griff Borgeson, Peter Helck, L. Scott Bailey, G.N. Georgano, Richard Langworth, Beverly Rae Kimes, Charles Betts, Jr., Jonathan Wood, Philip Porter, Halwart Schrader and Floyd Clymer. Even former General Motors chairman Alfred P. Sloan received AACA recognition.
“I’m over the moon about this recognition by the AACA,” said Ludvigsen. “I feel that it further honours the career of this great English engineer, whose activity as a consultant for Hudson Motors and the success of his record-breakers on Daytona Beach and the Bonneville Salt Flats added an American aspect to his achievements. In fact he retired in America after his war work sourcing engines for the British Navy’s minelayers and escort craft, one of the book’s many revelatory chapters.”
Published by Evro Publishing in April 2018 with the support of Reid Railton’s daughter, Sally Railton Joslin, this two-volume work by one of the world’s most acclaimed automotive historians tells Railton’s personal and professional story in vivid detail and fascinating depth. Set against the turbulent background of the 1930s and 1940s, its special focus is on this engineering genius’s technical accomplishments and Ludvigsen’s interpretation of his unique insights. Nearly 1,000 period images in Simon Loxley’s masterful design enhance this superbly produced book.
Man of Speed’s roster of awards reads as follows:
- Specialist Motoring Book of the Year, Royal Automobile Club (UK, 2018)
- Mercedes-Benz Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy, Guild of Motoring Writers (UK, 2018)
- Michael Sedgwick Award, Society of Automotive Historians in Britain (UK, 2018)
- Best Automotive Heritage Book, Automotive Heritage Awards (US, 2019)
- Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award (English), Society of Automotive Historians (US, 2019)
- Thomas McKean Memorial Cup, Antique Automobile Club of America (US, 2019)
Judy Stropus collects Karl Ludvigsen’s award at the
Antique Automobile Club of America’s awards evening
in Philadelphia on 8 February 2020