On this Father’s Day…
JUST BOOK IT!
If there’s one positive takeaway (and perhaps only one) from a pandemic, it is the additional time we have to spend with books. Of course, you may not spend it with books, but you could have – and possibly should have. If looking for information, there’s the book. And if doing little more than seeking an escape over a few days or evenings, there’s the book. Finally, if you’ve an automotive bent – either as a consumer or enthusiast – by God, there’s the book! And despite an apparent recovery from pandemic-related isolation, on the cusp of another Father’s Day…you guessed it, there’s the book! This time, we have three.
The one marque that literally jumped from the pages of Road & Track in the ‘60s (when I first started picking up R&T at the newsstand) was Ferrari. Whether it was the magazine’s tests of Ferrari’s road machines or coverage of its racing team, Ferraris literally popped off the pages of the magazine. And they pop off the pages of FERRARI FORMULA 1 CAR BY CAR: EVERY RACE CAR SINCE 1950, by Stuart Codling.
Ferrari, like its on-track rival Porsche, was founded amidst the rubble of World War II, and began competing in the modern Grand Prix era at Formula 1’s inception in 1950. Enzo Ferrari was no stranger to automotive competition, having driven in the ‘20s and managed Alfa Romeo teams in the ‘30s. While Porsche’s racing efforts were (and remain) an integral part of its automotive DNA, they’ve always been somewhat secondary to its production priorities. At Ferrari, however – especially while Enzo Ferrari was at the helm – the production line seemed to exist only in support of the racing teams.
Mr. Codling’s book is a credible reference to Ferrari’s 70-year history, both in its photographic record and editorial content. Obviously, within a library catalog which rivals that of Abraham Lincoln’s catalog, you’ll find more complete references to Ferrari’s racing history. But at a lifestage on the cusp of downsizing, one volume is more practical (and accessible) than twenty. Mr. Codling’s work is available through Quarto Publishing, offers 224 pic-filled pages and retails for $60.
The Porsche reference provides a nice segue to author Andrew Clusker’s book, PORSCHE 911 SC – Experienced & illustrated advice from one man’s home restoration. My adulthood is filled with the coulda’/shoulda’ moments, and high on that list would be the purchase of an ‘80s-era 911. In at least two instances friends have had them for sale at not-unreasonable prices, but in both cases I was without the necessary funds at the necessary moment. And in this moment prices for the nice ones have almost doubled, so even if I’m now at ‘shoulda’ I’m hard-pressed to do it.
Of course, those 911s needing a thorough overhaul are less expensive. Take that discount into consideration, and the $65 Veloce Publishing charges for Mr. Clusker’s 280 pages (with almost 600 pics!) is one of the better deals going. In taking a pre-owned – and well used – ’82 911 SC into his garage for a comprehensive rebuild, Mr. Cutler takes a deep dive into his subject. (And if you are shopping for a pre-owned 911 of this vintage, the two pages of ‘what to look for’ are golden.) Both the mechanical and cosmetic details are reviewed, and while all of it’s daunting to a guy living at a laptop, the author’s text is written in a way that allows you to take the occasional breath.
This, of course, isn’t a coffee table book – unless it’s sitting on a discarded coffee table at the back of your garage. The review copy is courtesy of Veloce Publishing, and can be ordered by your local bookseller.
If that Porsche is buttoned up and you’re ready to hit the road, there are few better inspirations than Henry von Wartenberg’s THE RIDERS, a coffee table volume with a veritable slew of pics by von Wartenberg, supported with essays by Paul d’Orleans, Peter Egan, Dave Nichols, Andy Goldfine and von Wartenberg himself.
If, like me, you’ve been off of a bike for a few years, the book’s almost 200 pages suck you in to (obviously) the riders, their roads, and the sheer variety represented by the motorcycle as both mechanism and lifestyle. As the book’s jacket suggests, von Wartenberg examines – and celebrates – both the many things motorcyclists have in common, as well as how they diverge. Almost by definition, a rider takes the road less taken; here you’ll see that many take no road at all.
Given the difficulties in housing a library when space – for many – is at a premium, I’ve become slightly impatient with the idea of coffee table books devoted to general, less-than-specific topics. But if stuck at home and the weather’s turned to crap, these 200 pages will get your personal motor running. It, too, is available from Quarto Publishing, for $45 – less than you’ll spend on decent tequila.
Happy Father’s Day!