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Art & Inspiration Hot Rod and Custom Books: The Essentials

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 2,917


  2. Yaril
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 990


  3. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,501

    from Hypocrisy

    My Tex Smith how to books are worn out. All the Andy Southard books are essential reading. My copy of Grease Machines cover has disappeared.
  4. Steve-Cook
    Joined: Jul 22, 2007
    Posts: 489

    from Garner, NC

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  5. I got the Spotter's Guide in Jr. High, and like you Ryan, I wore mine out. It's still taped together with clear packing tape, but sections fall out. I always wanted the earlier version that covers 1920-1939 also, but have never found it for a price cheap enough for me. Amazon has one now for just under $30 it looks like.

    Everyone who gives me car books always seems to either give me books on stock cars like "Cadillacs" or "Convertables" which are nice, but I prefer the customs and hot rods. That or they try to give me NASCAR junk.
  6. sxdxmike
    Joined: Aug 25, 2004
    Posts: 406


    Joined: May 13, 2002
    Posts: 903

    Alliance Vendor

    I can't really say I have a favorite book. I have soooo many. I usually have about 10 to 20 books just stacked around my bed. Reading vintage car books and magazines is nearly a daily for me. It gives me tons of inspiration and Ideas.
    Aaron V
  8. Steves32
    Joined: Aug 28, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    from So Cal

    I scored 4 good ones on EBAY in last couple of days for cheap. I'm watching several others as we type.

    The 1962 hardcover edition of Hot Rod It--and Run for Fun!, the 8th edition of the classic rodder's how-to book by Fred Horsley, published by Prentice-Hall, Inc. This 264-page, literal nuts-and-bolts guide to customizing old Detroit heaps into roadsters and dragsters is illustrated with detailed diagrams and photos.

    The hot rod resurection of a legend by Brock Yates
    Recounts the saga of the Eliminator, a race car built from used parts by a Pasadena mechanic that achieved legendary hot rod status, and details the rediscovery and restoration of the vehicle forty years later.

    SO-CAL Speed Shop: The Fast Tale of the California Racers Who Made Hot Rod History

    THE AMERICAN HOT ROD. Batchelor, Dean. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1995.

  9. RPW
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 948


    When it comes to the "new" books: Brought my American Car Spotters Guide at the age of 14 in 1978, yes its worn out and held togeter with tape. So is "Ecyclopedia of American Cars 1930-1980", a book from the early or mid 80's (thinking about it: There is really of need for a 20 volume hard bound real encyclopedia of American cars...).
    Got my Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50's Vol 1-4 when they first was published and they are of course my favorites. Also, the books Andy Southard done, I really admire them (I also have his VHS tape with old rod and kustom photos, the one he did put together in the late 80's). Another great and often used book is "The V8 Album", published in 1985 by the The Early V8 Ford Club of America. Pat Ganahl's book the American Custom Car is great too of course, his writing is always first class.
  10. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,588

    from SUGAR CITY

    I try to pick up anything I possibly can when I have the scratch. The Birth Of Hot Rodding is my favorite and the AHRF book Hot Rod Roots is really good too.

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    I really love anything I can get my hands on and consider them to be my most valuable treasures.
  11. Labold
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 1,216


    I dig the old magazines as much as the books, probably cause they are cheaper (some anyway). I have been hoarding hot rod books and mags for years -just like the rest of you.
  12. Slim Pickens
    Joined: Dec 15, 2008
    Posts: 3,336

    Slim Pickens

    A few I just picked up.
    Offenhauser by Gordon Eliot White
    Kurtis-Kraft: Masterworks of Speed and Style by Gordon White
  13. LOWCAB
    Joined: Aug 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,983

    from Houston

    Looks like my book shelf. The new Throttle book is one to have also. Another great one is the book by Dick Martin of the California Timing News. Goes from Vol1#1 to Vol2 #24, 328 pages. Anybody else have that last one? I've never seen another. Anyone have the 1930 Winfield catalog?
  14. oneratfink57
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 558

    from Wisco

    Whats the best Chassis/suspension books or hot rod engineering/ automotive math books? just trying to get into specifics seeing how im looking for a few books linked more to the complicated side of things
  15. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,962

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    Looks a lot like my book shelf too.

    Some other suggested reading;

    "Street was fun in 51" by Albert Drake (early days in the N west)

    "Hot Rods By Pete and Jake"- Great read and has a ton of (mostly color) photos including Barris, Roth, and a great look at late 60's-early 70's Rodding scene.

    1950's Custom and Hot Rod annuals (I have thousands of early magazines, however the annuals are some of my fav's).

    I have 5 Don Montgomery books. Were there any others?
  16. Labold
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 1,216


    You guys are spouting off some great books I have never even heard of.
    ...wish I would have learned to read.
  17. Steves32
    Joined: Aug 28, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    from So Cal

    Ahhhh, 2 more books I need.:D
  18. HellsHotRods
    Joined: Jul 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,113

    from So Cal

    Don Montgomery's Books are a treasure! You will KNOW traditional hot rods if you have those books. There is no greater resource or collection to help one understand what "period correct" is all about. I've heard some are out of print?
  19. Rolleiflex
    Joined: Oct 25, 2007
    Posts: 690


    Besides various book I have from the '50s and '60s, here are a few more.

    This one by Peter Vincent

    and Gasser Wars by Larry Davis

    This is a great read by Brock Yates
  20. chucklz
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 170

    from KC is another great source to find out of print, signed firsts, etc.
  21. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    from Sacramento

    Barris Kustom Techniques Vol. 1 was very inspirational to me. Seeing photos of them building some really cool customs with the same basic tools I already had made it all seem much more doable. It also made me fall heavy for the styling of that period.
  22. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,067


    People ask identification questions on a regular basis on the HAMB. Some good books to have for reference include The Encyclopedia of American Cars From 1930 (by the auto editors of Consumer Guide), Cars of the Fabulous 50s (by auto editors of Consumer Guide), Cars of the Sizzlin' 60s (by auto editors of Consumer Guide), anything by Floyd Clymer such as Those Wonderful Old Automobiles (good for identifying really old stuff), Standard Catalog of American Light Duty Trucks.
  23. If you like vintage hot rodding books with a twist (written by the daughter of a hot rodder), please see the thread "Flint H. R. History '46-'53 with a West Coast Ending" for information about the book I wrote about my father Bill Waddill, an early hot rodder. It is called "The Original Hot Rodder" and is currrently available on or from me directly as posted in the above-mentioned thread.
    Kathy A. Ridley
  24. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 809

    Staff Member

    Gasser Wars is by far my favorite, i have read it cover to cover too many times!
  25. Louie
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 624

    from NJ

    a few of my favorite not listed, the Miller Dynasty by Mark Dees,Hot Rod Pioneers by Ed Almquist,Roy Richter:Striving for Excellance, and Cool Cars Square Rollbars by the Shuman bros.
  26. Engine-Ear
    Joined: Jun 12, 2008
    Posts: 699

    Alliance Vendor

    I the early '80s when I was in primary school, when class went to the library, I ALWAYS went straight for the series of books by Ed Radlauer...thin hardcover books with different titles... "Go Karting: Fun on Four Wheels", "Drag Racing" and about 10 others I can't remember.

    They probably never had more than one printing, but if you can find 'em, they're a good tool to get kids into the hobby.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  27. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 20,973


    I have probably 4000 rod type magazines stashed in boxes out in the sheds if the mice didn't get to them.
    Plus maybe a hundred annuals and other special editon rod and especially custom soft cover books. Most of those were bought when they were .75 to 2.00 when I bought them.
    I just bought Tex Smith's flathead book and a reprint of Roger Huntington's 1951 Flathead book. Both should be in any flathead fan's bookcase and Huntington's book will show what was authentic in 1951.

    I've been collecting these since I was 12 years old so it is a 50 years collection.

    My plan in the back of my head for many years was to have a library in or with my garage when I finally built my dream garage. I'm not sure if that will materialize but it's still a dream.

    No real favorites in the batch but some of the custom car special editions from the 50's and early 60's are well worn and are pretty special to me.
  28. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,081


    The Ultimate HOT ROD Dictionary (Breitenstein/Motorbooks), a handy reference, especially for foreigners.
  29. What a neat thread.

    I have only one question, can you guys please list some books that I haven't got?

    But only those that I really need. :D

    I recently issued Vincet tome is Hot Rod Garages, has one of the best hard covers ever.

    And on the subjet of garages, my favourite is Motor City Garages, not all hot rod stuff but a great read all the same. Dream Garages 1&2 are also cool with a great mix of machinery and storage/workshop facilities.

    In all the 'Garage' books it's rare to see the owner of the garage. However, in ever shot taken in Jay Leno's warehose, there's Jay, large as life, striking the perfect pose in each and every shot. :D :D :D

    There's also been some great pinstriping books printed recently and anything by Ganahl is not to be missed. Nothing better than a book authoured by someone who understands and has the passion. The tall guy'ss Roth and Von Dutch titles should be in every hot rodder's library, right next to the Kustoms book.

    I also have a lifetime's collection of magazines. To store them in the garage so the vermin don't eat them, I use plastic containers that our local supermarket has. They come in various heights but the base size is just perfect for most magazine and they can be stacked. The best thing is they keep the paper eating bugs and vermin out. and the mag's don't seem to suffer any moisture issues.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  30. I buy and sell my cars, but my books and references are never for sale...........

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