For your Father’s Day photo op…
BUY A BOOK!
Behavioral change is an interesting concept, especially when mandated by a larger change in society. And nothing says change quite like a pandemic, now – by most counts – into its fourth month of stateside devastation. For those lucky enough to have kept their jobs, many of those jobs are now done from home. And in the absence of a roundtrip commute, people are using that time to take a walk, grab a bike…or read a book.
Our irregular look at automotive titles won’t – typically – identify a bestseller, although A.J. Baime’s Go Like Hell certainly informed the Ford v Ferrari film, and Neal Bascomb’s Faster received notice well beyond the enthusiast pubs. The two titles here don’t suggest the Hollywood treatment, but until we have a vaccine both make for a compelling read.
Junkyard is the quintessential photo essay, with photography supplied by Dieter Rebmann and supporting text by Roland Löwisch. For the car enthusiast, junkyards hold an almost intrinsic appeal, offering a historical perspective similar to that offered in a cemetery. Unlike the graveyard, however, a junkyard offers the hint of a rebirth or renewal. You won’t resurrect your long-deceased grandfather, but you could have a go at his given-up-for-dead Porsche. (Last year my son-in-law did that very thing with a 996 Porsche obtained from Copart, and while it’s taken him a year to go through the car’s powertrain, the results are promising.)
The Rebmann/Löwisch collaboration details the SoCal ‘stash’ assembled, beginning in 1967, by Rudi Klein. Operating as Foreign Auto Wrecking, Klein pursued the best brands from Germany, Italy and England. While a 356 Porsche graces the cover, it was an almost-complete Maserati Mistral that had me reaching for Southwest’s website – not that I could afford even a discarded Mistral. And if the Mistral engendered a very real urge to grab a flight, the pic of the Lamborghini Miura (in green, no less) would – at any other age and time – have me calling a mortgage broker; Foreign Auto Wrecking has in its inventory one of the most dynamic foreign autos ever.
Of course, in its 170 pages Junkyard is much more than a simple catalog of damaged sheetmetal – it also serves as a social history. And perhaps nothing illustrates that historical arc better than the pic of a Mercedes 600, sitting in an ignoble heap. Once owned by Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner, the Benz’s end would seem to have foretold the magazine’s end; there, but for the grace of God, go eye.
Arguably less artful – but vastly more upbeat – is The Complete Book of BMW Motorcycles by author Ian Falloon. Falloon is well-established in his reporting on enthusiast marques, while BMW – on the cusp of its centennial as a motorcycle OEM – is well-established as an enthusiast marque.
My first bike was a 1973 R75/5, purchased – from a dealer in Northwest Indiana – at the end of 1973. Having moved to Dallas that winter, I had it shipped to George Brown’s BMW dealership in Deep Ellum early that spring. And not too long after receiving it, a woman made a turn in front of me; the insurance settlement allowed an upgrade to BMW’s then-new R90S for ’74. Both are featured in Falloon’s book, while significantly (appropriately?) less space is given to BMW’s entry-level G 310 R, which I reviewed in May. While not enthralled with BMW’s Indian-built starter bike, I noted in the review that BMW’s history is that of great motorcycles, and Falloon’s volume underscores that.
BMW’s Motorrad may not boast the longevity of Harley-Davidson, but its history and products are more varied, while its image is no less iconic. If in the market for a new or used BMW, Mr. Falloon supplies a valued perspective. And if only in the market for a good read, you’ll enjoy both the prose and the pics.
My thanks to Quarto Publishing for providing the review copies. Both titles are available from Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, CA. www.autobooks-aerobooks.com.