Sunday, August 7, 2016

Automoblog Book Garage: 3 Essential Books For Car Enthusiasts

Originally appeared on

Book Garage

In March, we partnered with Motorbooks for this Book Garage series. Their extensive library is filled with all kinds of gems, many of which show the detailed history of a particular car or manufacturer. Car enthusiasts can greatly benefit from the vast array of titles in the Motorbooks library.

I have a small collection of their books but have already filled two shelves. I will put them in an office one day when I figure out what I want to be when I grow up … if I grow up, that is.

Rather than feature a specific book this weekend like we normally do, we decided on a small recap. Since we began this series in March, here are our three favorites so far. These are essential books for car enthusiasts for have.

Airstream: America’s World Traveler

This photo, found in the Airstream corporate archives, depicts an early Airstream trailer, probably circa 1933. Although the man is not identified, it appears to be Wally Byam. The early Airstream trailers used this ‘teardrop’ design for aerodynamic efficiency. The sleeping compartment was towards the rear of the trailer. There appears to be someone sitting inside the trailer. This photo, from the Airstream corporate archives, shows a family enjoying their vacation in style. The car appears to be a circa 1948 Studebaker, and it’s towing a large Airstream trailer of the same vintage. Judging by the Spanish moss hanging in the trees we’ll say this is somewhere south of the Mason Dixon line Airstream: America’s World Traveler by Patrick Foster. All images courtesy of Airstream, Inc.

Airstream: America’s World Traveler by Patrick Foster details the story of America’s most notable travel trailer manufacturer. There was just something about that Airstream design, both gorgeous and functional. Not only did an Airstream look good but the design made it easier to tow.

In January, at the North American International Auto Show, Ford had a fully restored Airstream hitched up to a 2017 Super Duty. It was a paring of generations if such a term exists. Even though the travel trailer was decades old and the truck had yet to be released, they both looked so natural together.

Airstream is truly timeless in that regard.

The best part about Foster’s book is how it makes you want to travel and create memories that, like Airtream, are timeless.

Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer

Lewes Speed Trials August 21, 1937 Klemantaski’s shot of a young boy holding the chock as a competitor prepares to blast off gives a good idea of the slightly curved and uneven roadway of the Lewes course. Note the car’s twin Brooklands fishtail exhaust ends and the exposed spectators. Sussex International Trophy Goodwood June 2, 1952 Arguably Louis Klemantaski’s most famous photograph. That’s Mike Hawthorn in the Cooper Bristol who is apparently aimed straight at Klem as he sweeps through Fordwater. The car is being balanced on the throttle and Hawthorn with a suitably determined expression is on his way to winning the race. Note the exposed sump of the very tall Bristol engine. In Challenge Me The Race Hawthorn remarked that he could not understand how he had not run down Klem. Mille Miglia May 1 and 2, 1954 Klem photographs former World War II prisoner Luigi “Gino” Valenzano’s Lancia D24 (0009) from Parnell’s DB3S in the early morning fog of the Mille Miglia. Valenzano (1920 –2011), who had known Gianni Lancia from childhood, drove for Lancia at Sebring in 1954 where he finished 2nd, sharing a car with the notorious playboy Porfirio Rubirosa, but would later crash out here. He continued competing the following year for Maserati but retired from racing after his brother Piero was killed during the 1955 Coppa d’Ore delle Dolomiti. Parnell/Klemantaski meanwhile would also crash out, near l’Aquila, without injury.

Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer follows the life and work of Louis Klemantaski, often considered the architect of Motorsports photography. Author Paul Parker places you in the action, as if you were standing right there next to the famous Klemantaski himself. He shot about everything during his storied career, from F1 and Grand Prix to road and track racing.

Parker has put together an excellent representation of Klemantaski’s work.

Beyond the photos (which are stunning in their own right) we feel the best part about Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer is the underlying story of determination. Klemantaski actually suffered an injury early in his career.

That kept him out of the driver’s seat but not off the track.

Instead, Klemantaski jumped in head first, be it standing on a tight corner or strolling the infield. Many times, he would ride shotgun as seen in some of his Mille Miglia photos. At the end of the day, Parker’s telling of Klemantaski is one great story.

American Motors Corporation

AMC Page 40 AMCPage25 AMCPage76

Patrick Foster appears on our list again with American Motors Corporation: The Rise and Fall of America’s Last Independent Automaker. Born during the 1954 merger of Nash-Kelvinator Company and Hudson Motor Car Company, AMC seemed poised for success under George Romney. They remained independent of The Big Three, establishing a headquarters in Southfield, Michigan, not far from Detroit.

AMC even had a display at Disneyland.

What we enjoy most is the question it summons (intentional or otherwise) about today’s modern car and consumer. When examining the photographs, it’s easy to long for a time of genuine authenticity, beyond that of a fluffy “good ol’ days” nostalgia. It’s not that cars today aren’t stylish, that clothes aren’t nice, and that people don’t work hard or truly care; it’s just that when I look the center photo in the gallery above, that man represents everything I want to be when I grow up – and most likely, and unfortunately, he’s probably not even here now to read this.

It’s bittersweet when I think about it.

American Motors Corporation: The Rise and Fall of America’s Last Independent Automaker is a great book becasue it not only keeps the cars alive, but the people who depended on them in an era we may never see again.

These titles, and others like them, can be found on Amazon or Motorbooks’ official site. Happy reading!

*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.  

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