Few subjects garner more passionate aficionados than classic cars. Both book collectors and automotive enthusiasts recognize the cultural and historical significance of vintage maintenance manuals, promotional pamphlets, serious analyses of the automotive industry in its infancy, and riveting biographies of early race car drivers and the cars they drove.
Though the automobile had been around since the 1880s, and assembly line production of cars was started by Oldsmobile in 1902, it wasn't until 1908 that Henry Ford's Model-T introduced the first affordable, mass-produced motor car to North American consumers. Ford began expansion to Europe in 1911, igniting competition with manufacturers such as Wolseley Motors (later Austin) in Britain and Benz & Cie. in Germany, reducing prices even further. It was then that our love affair with the automobile and the open road truly began.
Some of the earliest automotive books were serious analyses of that burgeoning industry - not to mention its abysmal safety record - but before long, the romance of the road captured the imagination of drivers and writers all over the world. Guidebooks for drivers in both Europe and North America began to appear alongside early accounts of what would become a 20th century rite of passage - The Road Trip.
From rumble seats to tail fins, from speedways to highways, we've found some of the most fascinating classic car books available on AbeBooks.
A. Hyatt Verrill
Malcolm Henry Ellis
Walter Henry Nelson
Laura Dent Crane
Richard Harding Davis
Albert W. Whitney
A.G. Douglas Clease