Lauren’s Book Club for Car Enthusiasts
Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow
by Steve Lehto
After World War II, the American automobile industry was reeling. Having spent years building tanks and airplanes for the army, the car companies would need years more to retool their production to meet the demands of the American public, for whom they had not made any cars since 1942.
And then in stepped Preston Tucker. This salesman extraordinaire from Ypsilanti, Michigan, had built race cars before the war, and had designed prototypes for the military during it. Now, gathering a group of brilliant automotive designers, engineers, and promoters, he announced the creation of a revolutionary new car: the Tucker ’48, the first car in almost a decade to be built fresh from the ground up. Tucker’s car would include ingenious advances in design and engineering that other car companies could not match. With a rear engine, rear-wheel drive, a safety-glass windshielf that would pop out in case of an accident, a padded dashboard, independent suspension, and automatic transmission, it would be more attractive and aerodynamic—and safer—than any other car on the road.
But as the public eagerly awaited Tucker’s car of tomorrow, powerful forces in Washington were trying to bring him down. An SEC commissioner with close ties to Detroit’s Big Three automakers deliberately leaked information about an investigation the agency was conducting, suggesting that Tucker was bilking investors with a massive fraud scheme. Headlines accused him a perpetrating a hoax and claimed that his cars weren’t real and his factory was a sham.
In fact, the Tucker ’48 sedan was genuine, and everyone who saw it was impressed by what this upstart carmaker had achieved. But the SEC’s investigation had compounded the company’s financial problems and management conflicts, and a superior product was not enough to keep Tucker’s dream afloat.
Here, Steve Lehto tackles the story of Tucker’s amazing rise and tragic fall, relying on a huge trove of documents that has been used by no other writer to date. It is the first comprehensive, authoritative account of Tucker’s magnificent car and his battles with the government. And in this book, Lehto finally answers the questions automobile aficionados have wondered about for decades: Exactly how and why was the production of such an innovative car killed?
Road to Power: How GM’s Mary Barra Shattered the Glass Ceiling
By Laura Colby
Road to Power is the story of how Mary Barra drove herself to the pinnacle of a company that steers the nation’s wealth. Beginning as a rare female electrical engineer and daughter of a General Motors die maker, Barra spent more than thirty years building her career before becoming the first woman to ever lead a global automaker. With $155 billion in sales and 200,000 employees, GM is widely considered to be a proxy for the U.S. economy, making Barra’s position arguably the most important corporate role a woman has ever held. This book describes the personal character, choices, and leadership style that enabled her to break through the glass ceiling.
Camaro 2016: Chevrolet’s Modern Performance Car
Beautiful hard cover book by Larry Edsall
It’s the pony-car showdown: the Ford Mustang versus the Chevy Camaro. Both manufacturers share the same goal-create the ultimate American muscle car.
General Motors was caught off guard when Ford unveiled the first pony car in 1964. GM took the fight to Dearborn in 1967 with the introduction of its Chevrolet Camaro, and for the next 35 years, Mustang and Camaro waged an intense battle for gearheads’ hearts and wallets. Chevrolet re-introduced the Camaro for the 2010 model year, and its appealing retro-influenced body style allowed it to frequently outsell its Ford competitor.
For Camaro fans, there is no greater source of speculation and excitement than the pending introduction of a new-generation Camaro. In anticipation of the Camaro’s 50th anniversary, GM has prepared a significantly revised, sixth-generation car to take on Ford’s latest 2015 Mustang. Featuring revised bodywork, a new chassis platform, expanded and new driveline options, and a reworked interior, the new Camaro raises the bar and again puts Mustang on the defensive.
Camaro 2016 tells the complete story of the new sixth-generation Camaro, available just in time to celebrate the model’s 50th anniversary. Featuring exclusive interviews with engineers, designers, and other Camaro team members, as well as more than 300 behind-the-scenes photographs, this book offers readers an intimate Camaro experience–putting them behind the wheel of the latest edition of one of America’s greatest muscle cars.
The gears are always shifting, and Camaro 2016 tracks the entire journey.
Art of the Hot Rod: Collector’s Edition – Hardcover
by Ken Gross and Peter Harholdt
Art of the Hot Rod is a feast for the eyes–a gallery of gorgeous hot rods, the best you’ll see from the world’s top hot rod builders!
A hot rod is art on wheels, and this book contains a whole gallery of the best you’ll ever see. In this exclusive collector’s edition of Art of the Hot Rod you’ll find a jaw-dropping array of beautiful hot rod photos, plus special gatefolds, updated text, and exclusive frameable photographic prints.
Art of the Hot Rod: Collector’s Edition celebrates the uniquely American marriage of mechanical know-how and an inspired sense of style and design. Built from the ground up, pieced together from salvaged or hand-built parts, rebuilt with classic looks and modern technology–these automotive works of art are as powerful on the page as they are on the street. The book profiles top builders such as Pete Chapouris, Roy Brizio, Vern Tardel, Troy Trepanier, and fifteen others and features studio portraits of their most outstanding custom creations. Through the stunning portraiture of master photographer Peter Harholdt, Art of the Hot Rod captures these magnificent vehicles as they’ve never been seen before. In addition to full-color photography and updated text, this special collector’s edition features two gatefolds with new photography and four garage art photo prints.
Wide-Open Muscle: The Rarest Muscle Car Convertibles Hardcover
by Randy Leffingwell (Author), Tom Loeser (Photographer)
Climb inside these stunning muscle car drop-tops, straight from the classic era of American high-performance cars!
Today’s rarest, priciest, and most highly sought-after muscle cars are also the least practical. These are the striking convertibles of the 1960s and 1970s that were optioned out for drag racing. Wide-Open Muscle showcases these rare cars and proves that sometimes it pays to throw practicality out the window in order to make something purely cool and fun to drive.
At the peak of drag racing popularity, it was common knowledge that racers needed the lightest, most rigid-framed cars available. Convertibles represent the exact opposite of that description, so it’s amazing that these drop tops ever emerged amid the circle of full-throttle dragsters. While typical convertible drivers cruised around listening to the latest Lovin’ Spoonful release in the eight-track tape deck, these muscle-car convertibles were equipped for rock ‘n’ roll speed. These topless muscle cars are so rare because few people had the dedication (or money) to buy a vehicle this impractical. They’re valuable because they represent the absolute extreme of the entire muscle-car genre.
All the cars in Wide-Open Muscle are shot in similar fashion, studio-style with a black background using a process known as light painting. It is the ultimate portrayal of the ultimate muscle cars.
American Muscle Cars: A Full-Throttle History Hardcover
by Darwin Holmstrom (Author), Tom Glatch (Photographer)
This is the muscle car history to own–a richly illustrated chronicle of America’s greatest high-performance cars, told from their 1960s beginning through the present day!
In the 1960s, three incendiary ingredients–developing V-8 engine technology, a culture consumed by the need for speed, and 75 million baby boomers entering the auto market–exploded in the form of the factory muscle car. The resulting vehicles, brutal machines unlike any the world had seen before or will ever see again, defined the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll generation.
American Muscle Cars chronicles this tumultuous period of American history through the primary tool Americans use to define themselves: their automobiles. From the street-racing hot rod culture that emerged following World War II through the new breed of muscle cars still emerging from Detroit today, this book brings to life the history of the American muscle car.
When Pontiac’s chief engineer, John Z. DeLorean, and his team bolted a big-inch engine into the division’s intermediate chassis, they immediately invented the classic muscle car. In those 20 minutes it took Bill Collins and Russ Gee to bolt a 389 ci V-8 engine into a Tempest chassis they created the prototype for Pontiac’s GTO–and changed the course of automotive history. From that moment on, American performance cars would never be the same.
American Muscle Cars tells the story of the most desirable cars ever to come out of Detroit. It’s a story of flat-out insanity told at full throttle and illustrated with beautiful photography.
Stay tuned for more great car books in Lauren’s Book Club for Car Enthusiasts.