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Happy Fathers Day Books

Happy Fathers Day Books :

BOOKS about cars and motorsports can be very specific, zeroing in on a single model, a single innovator or a single racecourse. And they can be very broad, covering the automobile industry and its influence on American life. Here, in time for Father’s Day gift buying, is a selection of five recent titles that encompass just such a range of Happy Fathers Day Books.Happy Fathers Day Books Happy Fathers Day Books

Happy Fathers Day Books

40 black-and white and 25 color photographs. 464 pages. Motorbooks. $35.
SHELBY COBRA FIFTY YEARS
By Colin Comer. Foreword by
Carroll Shelby.
119 black-and-white and 309 color photographs. 256 pages. Motorbooks. $40.
Fifty years ago, Carroll Shelby caught on to the value of a simple idea: put a big American V-8 into a small car. He didn’t really invent the concept (the postwar Cadillac-powered Allard, for one, beat him to it). But he was the guy who became rich and famous by creating the Shelby Cobra.
These two books take sharply divergent approaches to the Cobra and its creator. Mr. Mills’s book is a very dense, very thorough look at Shelby’s life, which ended May 10 at age 89. Mr. Mills starts with Shelby’s early childhood and runs right through his time as an Army Air Forces instructor and failed chicken farmer — done in by a sleazy feed supplier. (Oh, how car nuts owe that guy a debt of gratitude.) Mr. Mills then moves on to Shelby’s exploits behind the wheel and his achievements as a car builder.
Mr. Mills doesn’t seem to spare many details; if anything, there’s an overabundance. It’s a thick, slow read. (The author relies more on personal recollections of Shelby associates, less on flamboyant prose.) Maybe that comes with an authorized biography, although this book could benefit from some unauthorized editing.

Happy Fathers Day Books:

Happy Fathers Day Books
All the tiny points — childhood misbehavior, being shot at while snatching beer bottles for the deposit money — are the pixels that create the portrait, but a lower-resolution image would have been more inviting.
Still, given Shelby’s role in the history of American motorsports after World War II, it all belongs in a biography like this. Even if you confine yourself to those passages about the periods of his life that interest you most, the book is worth adding to a personal automotive library.
Anyone looking for abundant photos, and an easy read, will want “Shelby Cobra Fifty Years,” which focuses solely on the two-seat sports car. The prose is gee-whiz reverential. (In fact, the best reading is found in the sidebars: interviews with various Cobra collectors and profiles of people like Phil Remington and Pete Brock, indispensable figures in the creation of Shelby’s cars.)
The eye candy matters here: abundant photos that capture the racing history and mechanical details. For a model builder like me, the book answers almost every question about what goes where and how it is supposed to look. If you’re lucky enough (and rich enough) to find a real Cobra to restore, you can get a good head start from Mr. Comer’s book.
JOSEPH SIANO
ENGINES OF CHANGE
A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars
By Paul Ingrassia

64 black-and-white and color photographs. 395 pages. Simon Schuster. $30.

So it was the Chevrolet Corvair that gave the nation eight years of George W. Bush?
Paul Ingrassia suggests just that in “Engines of Change.” Then Mr. Ingrassia, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a former Detroit bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, offers a good case for it.
His evidence? Ralph Nader makes his name as the Corvair’s nemesis and becomes a consumer hero. As a presidential candidate in the 2000 election, Mr. Nader takes some 95,000 votes in Florida. As Mr. Ingrassia explains, “Bush lost the national popular vote to Al Gore, but prevailed in the Electoral College, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his tissue-thin victory in Florida.”
So it goes… (Sorry, I’m an old Vonnegut fan. )
The Corvair is just one of 15 vehicles that Mr. Ingrassia uses to trace the intertwining of cars and culture in the last century or so. He begins with Henry Ford’s Model T and finishes with Toyota’s Prius hybrid, along the way including such varied machines as the La Salle, the Jeep, the Chevrolet Corvette, the Ford Mustang, the Chrysler minivan and the BMW 3 Series.

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We get some insight into the thinking of the creators of those vehicles, not just Ford, but men like Harley Earl, who was General Motors’ design guru; Lee A. Iacocca, who left his mark on Ford and Chrysler; and John Z. DeLorean, whose ill-fated automotive venture went bankrupt in the early 1980s. Among other things, we find out that Takeshi Uchiyamada, the father of the gas-sipping Prius, loved huge tail-finned Cadillacs as a child.
Mr. Ingrassia is quick with the back story. He explains the Volkswagen Beetle’s success in the United States, a success that was a result in large part of Doyle Dane Bernbach’s memorable advertising campaign.
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Reading about the “civilizing” of the Jeep, we learn how Yvon Chouinard followed a similar path at Patagonia, which went from a little-known supplier of mountaineering equipment to become a household name as a maker of clothing for just about everybody to wear — not just up mountains, but to the mall.
In “Engines of Change,” Mr. Ingrassia arguably does for cars and culture what David Halberstam did for a decade in “The Fifties.” History well researched, made alive, relevant and eminently readable. One small complaint: While the photos in the book document Mr. Ingrassia’s copy, the story he tells begs for more. Sorry, traditionalists, but “Engines of Change” would be a terrific multimedia e-book.
Happy Fathers Day Books
JOHN LAMM
AUSTIN-HEALEY
The Bulldog Breed
By Jon Pressnell
50 black-and-white and 125 color illustrations. 160 pages. Haynes Publishing. $39.95.
First a warning. This book is going to be expensive. Beyond its cover price, you have to figure in what you’re going to spend on an Austin-Healey, because by the time you finish reading, you’re going to want one.
Austin-Healey was, of course, the British carmaker that after World War II produced classics like the startling 100, the sought-after 3000 and the Bugeye Sprite. Run by Donald Healey, a race driver with an enduring charm, the company that carried his name lasted 18 years. Mr. Pressnell’s history is a fascinating story of the brilliance, the battles and the happenstance that created one memorable car after another.
That story begins in a cement-mixer factory where the company assembled the chassis for its first cars. The war had created shortages of steel, forcing Healey to turn to aluminum, but there was plenty of wood around, including a surplus of coffin bottoms that Healey recycled into the cars.
The book is full of such details, although at times Mr. Pressnell seems to assume that readers have some previous knowledge of the events he’s writing about. But what is truly insightful is how Healey produced vehicles that were made from a little of this and a bit of that: engines from one company, body panels from another and paintwork from yet another. This kind of collaboration created the 100, but years later the same strategy resulted in the troubled Jensen-Healey.
The sidebars, in which the author takes readers on wonderful test drives of each Healey, are special treats. Mr. Pressnell also provides buying tips, noting, for example, that the 3000′s body and chassis are prone to rust severely. As I said, this illuminating book is going to be expensive.
JAMES SCHEMBARI
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Happy Fathers Day Books
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