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Iceni Magazine | April 2, 2020

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Death Drive: There are no Accidents – reviewed

Death Drive -There are no Accidents

Reviewed by Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist. Twitter @carwriteups

Death Drive is an extraordinary book and one I highly recommend reading. Why? Because it’s morbid – but fascinatingly so.


The volume is a stark reminder of our own mortality and shows how fragile we can be cocooned inside the powerful cars we like to think we can control.  But the book is also a wonderful look back at days gone by – and the now legendary status of some of the victims is captivating.

Marc Bolan

Marc Bolan

James Dean and Marc Bolan

Death Drive includes a chapter on James Dean and his fatal crash in the iconic Porsche Spyder back in 1955. The book also features Marc Bolan, who epitomised London’s pop music scene in the 1970s. His band T-Rex played at the first Hyde Park Free Concert back in 1968. He died on the way home from a party thrown by Rod Stewart at a club in Berkeley Square,

James Dean crash

James Dean crash


Indeed, Death Drive is about remarkable people, extraordinary cars and astonishing circumstances. Cars have a talismanic quality. No other manufactured object has the same allure. When this perverse promise ends in catastrophe, these talismanic qualities acquire a far more disturbing dimension.

Popular Culture

The car crash is a defining phenomenon of popular culture. Death Drive assesses the impact of the automobile on the modern imagination and an analysis of twenty celebrity car crashes, including Isadora Duncan, Princess Grace of Monaco, Albert Camus and Jackson Pollock.


The author, Stephen Bayley, is also a broadcaster, debater and curator. His best-selling books and journalism have, over the past three decades, changed the way the world thinks about design. Stephen’s new book – Death Drive: There are no Accidents – is published by Circa Press and is available in book stores now.

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