If You Are Only Going to Get One Book About Cars


In recent news, alongside everything from swine flu to troubles in Pakistan, was General Motors’ decision to close Pontiac. This one hurt me, as the first car I remember my parents driving was a blue 1952 Pontiac. It had trouble making it through the Great Smokey Mountains due to the steep grades before the Interstate Highway system was built. My first new car was a blue 1977 Bonneville, and I later put a lot of miles on a red 1993 supercharged Bonneville. All were great cars. Now they are history.
I really like cars. I guess that comes from growing up in a car town, Anderson, Indiana. And I have a lot of car books – from detailed books on one make or model to books about the history and economics of the industry to books about cars from one country or one era to comprehensive encyclopedias that cover lots of makes. But I had never really found a single book I could give someone and say “study this” – a book that would include cars old and new, domestic and foreign, sporty to station wagons. Well, I finally found one, and it’s a bargain.
365 Cars You Must Drive by Matt Stone with John Matras (Motorbooks, 2006) is that book. This 320 page paperback is illustrated wall-to-wall with color and black-and-white photos of just about every important car one could think of, and quite a few less important cars. Whether you are interested in the cars that started it all, like the 1886 Benz or the Curved-dash Oldsmobile, or the latest, fastest, and most expensive like the Ferrari F430, Bentley Continental T, or Maybach 62, this book covers the waterfront. Remember the AMC Pacer, the Amphicar, or the original Buick Riviera? Have you not seen the incredible-looking Delahaye Chapron Cabriolet, the Talbot Lago, or the Bugattis, old and new? Have you heard the phrase “it’s a doosie” but never seen the Duesenberg that the saying comes from? Don’t know the difference between one Corvette and the next? In this book, you’ll find photos and a quick summary on each of the 365 cars.
If you get really interested in cars, there are plenty of books to choose from on any given make, model, era, or nationality. Or pick your type, from muscle cars to SUVs. This book will not give you all the facts, photos, and details you will get from one of those books. If you love automotive art, I will in the future recommend some great books of world-class car photography. If you want comprehensive encyclopedias and spotters guides – look elsewhere, for a lot more money. But if you love cars and just want to browse through a huge array of them, or want one book on your shelf about the various types and designs, this book is an affordable way to get the job done.