While driving an exciting car is one of life’s little pleasures, weather can interfere, work can take priority and family obligations tug at the heart strings. What’s a car guy or gal to do? One thing to try is to curl up with a good car book or magazine when driving your favorite vehicle isn’t possible. Losing yourself for an hour with a great writer can keep the car crazy spark alive in the winter, on a rainy day or when you’re stuck home wile the kids finish their homework.
Here are a few books and magazines that could help you smile until you twist the key in your favorite ride. Happy Reading!
Road & Track: This is the grand daddy of American sporty car magazines. Their focus has always been strong on European cars, but Asian and American cars now grace the pages too. It’s been around since the late 1940s and has survived because it features outstanding photography, crisp writing and in-depth race reporting. While some might argue that it’s a shadow of its glory days thanks to recent changes, it’s still consistently a good read and is the one general interest car magazine I would read if I couldn’t have any other.
Car and Driver: This is the other big dog in American car magazines and, like R&T has undergone a redesign to stay relevant. However, they too have kept their mojo and their coverage compliments R&T by doing a better job on trucks and American sporty cars.
AutoWeek: Despite the name, this publication no longer sends out magazines every week. Too bad too because it used to be one of my favorites, especially during racing season. It’s smaller and less exciting than it used to be but it does do an excellent job reporting on the international racing scene and if that’s important to you, AutoWeek delivers. Just a half as many times a month.
Buff Books: The above mentioned magazines are general interest automobile publications. There are, however, single marque magazines that cover all aspects of one brand from soup to lug nuts. For Porsche fans, Excellence Magazine is considered to be one of the best. If your tastes trend toward older Porsches, check out Classic Porsche Magazine. For the BMW afflicted, Bimmer Magazine is for you. If you dream in red about Ferrari, Forza Magazine and Cavallino Magazine can keep that fire burning. Corvette Magazine is another winner as is Vette Magazine. Focusing more on lifestyle than the actual driving experience, Mercedes Benz Magazine seems to know its audience and if you love these cars, you’ll love the magazine. CorsaItalia Magazine is an Italian publication (written in Italian) and focuses on Fiats, Alfa Romeos, Lancia and Ferrari. This one you can view online with translations. If you love Italian cars, their passion for these cars comes through loud and clear.
Art of the Automobile: Several friends have published fine art books that focus on cars. One is Michael Furman, a Philadelphia-based artist, who has published several highly regarded books filled with great photography. His recent book, Porsche Unexpected covers the marque like it has never been done before. With an introduction by a famous collector, the book serves as both “collecting 101” guide as well as a lavishly illustrated coffee table book. You can find a list of his titles at CoachBuiltPress.
A Personal Favorite: If you love cars, reading about their history, drivers and racing exploits is a fun pastime. Automotive historian, Karl Ludvigsen has authored some of the world’s most highly regarded automotive books. For example, his three-volume monster on Porsche: Excellence Was Expected is the bible for Porschephiles. He has written biographies on Dan Gurney, Stirling Moss, Emerson Fittipaldi and others. If there is an interesting automotive story or history to tell, Ludvigsen has told it. Karl happens to be a friend and I have lots of his books so I feel very comfortable recommending them to you.
Arm Chair Driving: When the weather turns cold, track season screeches to a halt. That doesn’t mean you still can’t get your behind the wheel fix. One of the most important “how to” driving books is Going Faster! Mastering the Art of Race Driving by Carl Lopez. This is the official driver’s manual from the Skip Barber Driving School and is recommended reading by experts. Denise McCluggage, famous racer, author and AutoWeek contributor, said that it’s one of the best books on the science and art of racing. You can’t get higher praise than that. Ross Bentley, racer and author, publishes a series on racing and driving under the title of Speed Secrets. He has written a bunch of “bite-sized” books that each cover one aspect of the craft and art of driving a race car. From car setup to driver mental preparedness, Bentley covers it all with clean, clear and useful instruction.
This small article barely scratches the surface of the car book / magazine world. The goal here is to encourage you to seek out publications that excite you, educate you or help you drive better and more safely.
Visit your local library, book store or magazine seller and spend some time scanning through the titles. I’m sure you’ll find a publication that will put a smile on yoru face.