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Automoblog Book Garage: 3 Gotta Have Books For The Gearhead

When it comes to our holiday shopping lists, there’s always that one person who is a bit hard to buy for. And admittedly, us car loving folks can be a challenge. If you ask an automotive enthusiast what they want for Christmas, they are likely to say their favorite $50,000 to $150,000 sports/performance car. And while that’s fine, it’s not necessarily the easiest gift for you to wrap and put under the tree, let alone purchase.

Conversation Starters

The gift of automotive literature is something the car enthusiast on your list will enjoy for years. Our Book Garage series is filled with books that make great conversation pieces when placed on a coffee table. And you know how much we car enthusiasts love to talk about our favorite rides. Below are three of our favorite books from our series this year. While it was hard to pick only three, we think any one of these will resonate with the car enthusiast in your life this holiday season.

Muscle Car Source Book

Easily one of our favorites, Muscle Car Source Book presents this incredible era in a manner representative of its name: as a source book. From Ford, Chevrolet, and Pontiac, to Buick, AMC, and Dodge, all of the performance data for each car is displayed on tables. The essential specs, from horsepower and torque, to curb weight and fuel tank capacity are laid out.

Author Mike Mueller dives deep, hitting the performance options available for each car featured, including the engine options, gauge packages, and wheel-and-tire configurations. If there’s a person in your life mad for muscle cars, this is definitely the book for them.

Find it on Amazon.

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Photo: Mike Mueller.

Art of the Classic Sports Car

The scope and breadth of this book is really something and likely to be appreciated by all car lovers. The Art of the Classic Sports Car: Pace and Grace documents the true sports cars of the automotive world; cars that unlike their “normal” counterparts, ride, handle, and sprint in remarkable ways. The question remains, however, what was the first sports car? This sparks a good, healthy debate among enthusiasts but if it’s one thing we usually agree on, it’s how these cars truly stand out.

The book covers some of the most legendary sports cars from the likes of Jaguar, Chevrolet, Triumph, MG, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lotus, Alfa-Romeo, and BMW – their full specs are detailed and their stories told. One of the best is when author Stuart Codling documents the Ferrari 250 California; how Enzo Ferrari faced a desperate postwar Italian economy to develop a truly marvelous 240 horsepower machine unlike anything else at the time.

Find it on Amazon.

Photo: James Mann.

Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman

The holidays are a time of reflection and as such, new resolutions for the new year are often made. This book will help inspire the car enthusiast in your life with their resolutions. Consider the late Paul Newman. When he was 70, Newman entered the 24 Hours of Daytona and would end up racing until he was 82. In this book, we see the beginnings of his racing career at an age when most had already retired. The man who voiced the lovable Doc Hudson shows us that age is only a number, something we can all appreciate as the new year comes to fruition.

Matt Stone and Preston Lerner team for this remarkable book, which was later made into a documentary of the same name and directed by Adam Carolla.

Find it on Amazon.

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From Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman.

Bonus Book: The Art of Mopar

Okay, so one more . . . save this one for that Mopar maniac on your shopping list – the one that proudly says “Mopar or no car.” This book is literally perfect for them. Detailed sidebars decorate the pages of Art of Mopar, highlighting the features, options, pricing, and performance specs of Chrysler’s muscle cars at the time. Interesting stories are told along the way, like how a carving on a kitchen table inspired the most famous Mopar logo ever. Like Muscle Car Source Book, this is one of our favorites.

An awesome line comes on page 44.

“There’s an adage in Detroit,” writes author Tom Glatch. “You can sell an old man a young man’s car but you can never sell a young man an old man’s car.”

Find it on Amazon.

Happy Holidays! And best of luck in your shopping adventures. If you need additional ideas, there are plenty of other gifts sure to be appreciated by the car enthusiast on your list.

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. 

Automoblog’s Book Garage is done in partnership with Motorbooks. They are among the world’s leading transportation publishers with books penned and illustrated by today’s most respected motoring writers and photographers. Motorbooks celebrated 50 years in 2015.