Book Review: Stuart Smith – Overalls Off

Image credit: Stuart Milnes

This is so much more than a behind the scenes view of the career of the man widely regarded as the greatest stock car driver ever. Stu Smith’s achievements have already been extensively documented over the years, and instead of the racing being the focus, this book is a revealing insight into the man himself.

Told in chronological order, the story is of a young boy with a difficult relationship with his father, growing up from a timid child into a flambouyant showman.

To the casual observer at stock car meetings, Stu Smith was confident, brash, and at times unashamedly arrogant. But away from the tracks he became a man struggling with internal turmoil; obsession and addiction eventually leading him to a life of hedonism, immorality, and occasional criminal activity.

While there’s certainly some dark periods in the book, they are more than balanced by some lighter moments. Nothing quite sums up Britain in the 1970s and 1980s like speedboats and topless models, and both are mentioned numerous times. Other highlights are the late night visit to what’s best described as a drive-by Bedford TK gearbox replacement centre, and the reason why Stu paid a lot of money for an old Austin Allegro.

Written by Smith’s friend and former team member Stuart Milnes, the book is interspersed with Milnes’ own personal anecdotes, along with plenty of other gems collected during what must have been some fairly exhaustive research.

Whatever your opinion of Stu Smith, this book will probably change it slightly. A great read for any stock car fan, past or present.

Stu Smith snr (391). Photo Colin Casserley

The book costs £20 and is available from Stuart Smith Junior’s transporter and from Stuart Milnes directly via PayPal.

Words: Carl Hesketh

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