Wednesday, March 25, 2020

What's in your automotive library?

In the years before there was YouTube and the internet the main source of information on how to fix cars came in a book or manual. News of things happening in the automotive world usually came in a magazine of some sort. In the 80's and early 90's I had subscriptions to Road & Track along with Car and Driver. I picked up the occasional Motor Trend along the way and it was in their August 1988 edition that I first read of the Festiva and its potential.

A portion of our automotive library.

That got me thinking... what books or magazines do I have in my automotive library?
A couple of items are there specifically for the Ford Festiva related content. One of those is the aforementioned Motor Trend issue and my favorite line in the "Fixed up Festiva" article is "On a winding mountain highway, it's an unqualified blast". 

Motor Trend August 1988 cover

Motor Trend August 1988 Festiva article.
 The other is the December 1988 edition of Car and Driver which had an article titled "Eight for Ten"which compared the Festiva with seven other vehicles that were then available for under $10,000.00.

Car and Driver December 1988 cover.
Car and Driver article featuring the Festiva and other econoboxes.
It's interesting that the Taurus SHO is on the cover of an issue that also has the Festiva featured. It was the drivetrain from the SHO that was transplanted into the rear of a Festiva to create the Shogun! To learn more about the Shogun follow this link to an earlier post here on Econobox Café.

I think it's safe to say that I've had a Haynes manual for most of the vehicles I've owned. I have one for each of the vehicles in our current fleet, the Festiva, our Ford Escape and the Austin Healey Sprite. Incidentally, the manual for the Sprite was the first one the Haynes ever produced.  I don't usually keep the manuals for cars I've sold but there are a couple I retained just because they were so different and actually fun to read.

Current Haynes manuals.
Anyone who's owned and/or worked on early VW Beetles has probably heard of  How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, A Manual of Step by Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot written by John Muir and Tosh Gregg.I purchased a 1959 VW 1974 for the princely sum of $400.00. As I knew that I was going to be doing some work on it I sought out a good manual. The Muir book came highly recommended so I bought one brand new for $6.90! The way the procedures were written up made each job very understandable and doable and the accompanying illustrations by  were works of art in their own right. It may sound odd but it was quite an enjoyable read even if there was no work to be done!

Back cover.... driving into the sunset after a successful day in the garage

Fast forward a few years and we purchased an early VW Rabbit. I was very pleased to discover that John Muir Publications had a manual for that car, this one written by Richard Sealey. It had a very similar writing style and the illustrations were just as enjoyable to look at. One of the features of this manual was a list of items and tools required or recommended for each procedure. One of my favorites included "a friend" in the list.

A little worse for wear...
Sample illustration... some are just for fun!

Of the three remaining books I want to mention only one is marque specific and that's Terry Horler's Original Sprite & Midget, the restorer's guide to all the Austin-Healey and MG models 1958-79. The author goes into great detail regarding changes made during the lifetime of the car and on the "proper" way to repair and restore one's Sprite/Midget, especially helpful if the owner is going for authenticity in their restoration project. We're not headed in that direction with our Sprite, it will be repaired, refurbished and made safe for the road. But that's a tale for another day....
Front cover

Back cover

 When I first considered putting a turbocharged engine in the Festiva I thought it would be a good idea to learn about turbochargers. The book that was recommended most was Corky Bell's Maximum Boost. The author takes what can be a very technical subject and makes it fairly easy to read. It's well illustrated and I came away with a much better understanding of the subject.

One of the many things on my automotive bucket list is a visit to Goodwood for either the Festival of Speed or Revival Meeting so I was rather excited when I saw this next book at a local thrift store! Doug Nye's Goodwood Revival, The First Ten Years recounts the history of racing at Goodwood from 1948 until 1966. Here's what it says on the inside flap of the book's cover... "This gripping book celebrates the first ten year of the Revival Meeting and sixty remarkable years of motor racing at Goodwood". The Revival has become one of the world's most popular motor racing events with spectators and participants alike getting in the spirit of things by dressing in period clothing.

There's an aeronautical aspect to Goodwood Revival too....

Let us know what you have on the shelves of your automotive library. We love to hear from you in the comments section.

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