Lockdown Reading – Five Automotive Books

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By Chris Pollitt

Being stuck indoors is a bit rubbish, but we have to do it for now. So, how do we occupy our time? We could do that DIY we’ve been threatening to do for the last three years, we could tend to the garden, or perhaps tidy the garage? Or, we could fire up the kettle, make a brew, sink into our favourite chair and get our automotive fill from a selection of top choice reading fodder. Yes, that sounds like a fine plan.

But what should we be reading? Happily, there is a lot to choose from, because for as long as there has been the car, there has been a dizzying selection of books about the car. No matter your automotive passion, there will be a title somewhere that will satiate your need for knowledge. With that in mind, we have rounded up five of our favourites for your delectation. 

1) The AA Book of the Car

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The AA Book of the Car is an incredible read, thanks in no small part to the fact it was first published in ‘76. As such, a lot of the advice and techniques offered are simply comical by today’s standards. For example, there is a section that shows you how to fix a rusty sill in a Mk2 Jaguar with chicken wire. We’re not making this up. It’s brilliantly amusing. But it’s not just about the smiles. The AA Book of the Car is a wonderfully well presented, informative publication that anyone with an interest in cars should own. It’s well written, brilliantly illustrated and covers everything from general servicing to driving in adverse weather. It truly is one of the great bits of automotive literature. 

2) Stephen King’s Christine

books, reading, AA Book of the Car, Boring Car Trivia, Richard Porter, Car Hacks, Haynes, Stephen King, Christine, classic car, retro car, motoring, automotive, Ford, Lee Iacocca, autobiography, car and classic, carandclassic.co.uk

A horror story about a finned fifties American car that has been possessed by the evil spirit of a past owner sounds… well, it sounds silly, frankly. But this is a tale by Stephen King, the master of horror, and as such, the story works here. The film is great, but the book offers a different, and far more in-depth story than that of the silver screen. The tension that builds as Arnie Cunningham’s relationship develops. As the mood shifts, the fear of the evil car is palpable. King describes the goings on with such vivid detail that you’ll be powering through pages faster than you thought possible. Read the book, then watch the film. And while you’re at it, buy this four-book set and read the others – The Shining is well worth your time. 

3) Car Hacks – Haynes 

books, reading, AA Book of the Car, Boring Car Trivia, Richard Porter, Car Hacks, Haynes, Stephen King, Christine, classic car, retro car, motoring, automotive, Ford, Lee Iacocca, autobiography, car and classic, carandclassic.co.uk

Fancy a bit of fun? How about Car Hacks by Haynes? Haynes has been making manuals for all manner of cars for decades and over the years it’s picked up more than a few hints and tips, all of which are detailed in this book. From driving, to maintenance, to repair to modifying, this book has all manner of ingenious ‘hacks’ for you to try out. It’s a great little read and balances the perfect line between fun and honest to usefulness. One to read and then keep in your glovebox, just in case you’re ever in need of an emergency hack! 

4) Lee Iacocca: An Autobiography

books, reading, AA Book of the Car, Boring Car Trivia, Richard Porter, Car Hacks, Haynes, Stephen King, Christine, classic car, retro car, motoring, automotive, Ford, Lee Iacocca, autobiography, car and classic, carandclassic.co.uk

If you’re not familiar with Lido ‘Lee’ Iacocca, you probably should be. He was the man who changed the fortunes of the Ford Motor Company, he gave the world the Ford Mustang, he worked with Carrol Shelby on the GT40 and then, after being fired, he immediately went to Chrysler and proved how wrong Ford was by completely changing the fortunes of his new employer. It’s a gripping, detailed, funny read that gives insight into the ‘Mad Men’ world of corporate America in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Iacocca’s ability to tell a story is simply excellent, and the stories he tells are often wonderfully outlandish. 

5) A Medium-Sized Book of Boring Car Trivia

books, reading, AA Book of the Car, Boring Car Trivia, Richard Porter, Car Hacks, Haynes, Stephen King, Christine, classic car, retro car, motoring, automotive, Ford, Lee Iacocca, autobiography, car and classic, carandclassic.co.uk
Richard Porter is a bona fide petrolhead, and he was also the script editor of Top Gear and The Grand Tour. He’s also something of a prolific automotive writer, with books like ‘And On That Bombshell’ under his belt amongst others. He is very much our kind of author, which is why we’re wholeheartedly suggesting you buy his latest book full of boring car trivia. Except, it’s not boring, because Porter has a wonderful skill for putting this trivia across in a fun and engaging way. And being car geeks, we will of course lap up those words, because every car person knows that useless trivia is power. And this book is brimming with it. And it’s less than a fiver. It’d be rude not to.

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