It’s almost Christmas. And for gearheads that means another holiday season of good reads wrapped up under the tree.
Offered here are three book suggestions that should entertain and enlighten well into the New Year. All of these titles are published by Motorbooks, and at press time were in stock online at both Indigo.ca and Amazon.ca. Alternatively, check with your favourite bookseller for availability.
First up is a book for anyone who likes trucks, especially those produced by Chevrolet. In Chevrolet Trucks: 100 Years of Building the Future, author Larry Edsall traces the development of the cargo carrying vehicles.
In the early 1900s the first trucks weren’t built for customers, however.
“Although the first Chevy truck wasn’t produced until January 1918, the need for such a versatile, capable vehicle was clear to those working at Chevrolet assembly plants,” writes Edsall. “Because of this need, they took a few Chevrolet passenger cars, reinforced the load-carrying components, removed some of the rear body panels, and replaced them with platforms to carry parts and supplies. Voilà! The Chevrolet truck was born…”
It took Chevrolet management until 1918 to introduce to the public the Model T, an open-cab truck that utilized many components from the company’s passenger cars.
Edsall’s subsequent chapters highlight many Chevy truck milestones, including a look at the return to car-based pickups with the El Camino and the development of the Suburban SUV.
Edsall’s well-researched text in the 224-page book is backed up with several archival and contemporary images and period brochures.
Next up is The Art of Mopar: Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth Muscle Cars by Tom Glatch with photographs by Tom Loeser. Also a 224-page book, The Art of Mopar shines a light on some of the most interesting go-fast cars of the 1960s and early 1970s.
Glatch dissects the early development of Mopar power and some of the drag racing history of its employees – completely separate from Chrysler – with the Ramchargers Racing Club and the Golden Commandos.
The book contains 20 chapters, each containing text and specifications for cars such as the 1963 Plymouth Sport Fury Super Stock 426, 1966 Dodge Coronet 426 Hemi, 1968 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi, 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona 440 and 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda Convertible 340.
All of these cars are showcased thanks to Loeser’s well-executed studio photographs of details including engine bays and interiors. Each car has a two-page profile spread.
And finally, there’s a 192-page book for young and old alike who appreciate the hands-on activity of constructing objects with Lego.
How To Build Brick Cars: Detailed Lego Designs for Sports Cars, Race Cars and Muscle Cars gives concise instructions on how to create iconic vehicles from a 1932 Ford to a Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4.
Written by Peter Blackert, a design engineer with Ford and a Lego enthusiast, this highly educational book is divided into three sections, Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced. Each section features chapters on increasingly complex vehicle designs, but Blackert gives clear and concise directions complete with illustrations and discusses the relative historical importance of each vehicle he builds.
Parts diagrams include the number of pieces required and the colour options available for each build.
In the book’s introduction, after talking about what he does for a living, Blackert writes about his fascination with Lego. He says: “When it comes to discussing what I do for fun, the idea that an adult designs cars made from Lego bricks is perhaps a bit more unusual. Kids, of course, think this is a fantastic hobby.”
In his role as an engineer, however, he says Lego is a practical and quick way to help solve complex problems that ultimately creates a three-dimensional solution. But, when it comes right down to it, Blackert says, “I build cars from Lego because I love cars and I love Lego.”
This last suggestion is not a book. But, a great stocking stuffer for any motor enthusiast would be a $30 raffle ticket on the 1962 Austin Healey kit car that I wrote about here in mid-June.
Based on Mustang II running gear, Calgarians Jim Blackhall and his friend Grant Allen built the car 25 years ago. Blackhall donated the kit car to the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre to help raise funds that will be put towards treatment fee subsidies (see link to story above). Tickets can only be purchased or sold within Alberta, and the draw date is Wednesday, Sept. 29. Visit aarc.ab.ca/classic-car-raffle/ to purchase.
Greg Williams is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Have a column tip? Contact him at 403-287-1067 or [email protected]