QotW: What’s your favorite car book?

Today is Old Book Day in Japan. The holiday is celebrated on October 4 each year because it’s a pun on the kanji 古書, which is translated as “old books”. When you break down the kanji for “old” (古) into its components 十 and 口, then overlap them as 田, it resembles four books. Well, at least that’s the explanation given by Japan’s National Federation of Secondhand Bookstore Association.

In any case, it’s a good a time as any to ask what’s the most indispensable from your home library. Perhaps it’s a history book, a repair manual, a picture book, or even a children’s book like Makoto Komori‘s Datto-san series (lead photo). Let us know what it is and why.

What’s your favorite car book?

The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your favorite Nissan color?

Nearly every color of the rainbow had its fans, from Jeremy A.‘s choice of Regatta Red on the Z31 and S12 to Bob‘s purplish 611 Wine Red Metallic from the 1977-78 280Z. In between, Cobaltfire‘s nostalgia for the Sentra’s Slate Blue tugged at our heartstrings. We couldn’t agree more with Negishi no Keibajo‘s comments about the Patrol’s Fuji Blue, and but personal preferences can’t get in the way here. Two-tones had their advocates as well, with F31roger going to bat for an Infititi M30 Blue-Grey Storm/Grey Slate, and Brettt303‘s choosing Black/Gold from the Datsun 280ZX 10th Anniversary Edition.

However, the most popular colors were tied in and divided into two camps. The first was some variant of gray, like Lee L‘s Light Pewter Metallic on the 50th Anniversary Edition Z31, Jim Daniels‘ 350Z Liquid Platinum, Nigel‘s classic R32 Gun Gray, and Mike Pearsall‘s dual nod for 350Z Silverstone and Infiniti Graphite Shadow.

The second was some variant of orange. Dutch 1960 said that the Datsun 510 and 240Z absolutely own orange, and he’s not wrong. Ellis picked a newer hue of 350Z LeMans Sunset Metallic, while Skyline GT-R and Z432 Safari Gold got two nominations from Keith and thelacerati.

Ultimately, it’s not most correct answer, but the answer we enjoyed the most that gets the win, and this week that goes to AZ 2 NV, with his nomination of one of the rarest colors in the Nissan palette:

Cocoa Bronze (CK2). Perhaps the rarest color of any production Nissan vehicle . The color was ONLY available in 1993, and ONLY on the 300ZX convertible. 103 vehicles were factory painted for the USDM. I love the slight red metallic flakes under a deep brown. I saw a convertible for sale at Novato Nissan (CA) in 1993,rarely ever saw another until I eventually purchased one in 2008.

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7 Responses to QotW: What’s your favorite car book?

  1. MWC70 says:

    I have to admit, I have a decent collection of automotive books and periodicals. But my favorite was also the most influential for me. That was the very first book I ever read – I was 8 and I read my Dads copy of The Unfair Advantage by Mark Donohue. I knew very little at the time and I just like the Can Am car on the cover! There are key indicators/phrases or situations in that book made me come back to it time and time again, years and years later when I able to understand what he was saying. The wisdom in that book – from a motorsports perspective, has been invaluable. I use it to this day.

  2. RainMeister says:

    Over the past several decades, I’ve come to gather a collection of car-related books, everything from coffee-table books with lavish photos to motorsport biographies to car histories. While I’ve read most of them, some were purchased before they went out of print (and became unaffordable), waiting to be consumed in retirement. So here is my list of favorite books read so far (there are too many categories and good books to list just one):

    “That Certain Sound: Thirty Years of Motor Racing” by John Wyer. If you’re mad about Porsche 917s like I am, this out-of-print book is a must read. Wyer was the legendary team manager of the Gulf Porsche (and LeMans-winning Aston Martin) team. He was portrayed in the movie “LeMans”.

    “Go Like Hell” by A.J. Baime. The story of the Ford vs Ferrari battle at LeMans. This fun page turner was the basis for the movie.

    “The Unfair Advantage” by Mark Donohue. A very unique “autobiography” by this multi-talented champion racer, the book chapters are dedicated to each of the race cars he helped develop and drove.

    “Against All Odds: The Story of the Toyota Motor Corporation and the Family That Created It” by Yukiyasu Togo. A very entertainingly told history of Toyota.

    “Stainless Steel Carrot: An Auto Racing Odyssey”. This is a fascinating biographical account of John Morton through his championship winning BRE-Datsun years, written by author and partner Sylvia Wilkerson. Originally issued in 1973, it was republished in 2012.

    If you’re a fan of Nissan racing history, another long-awaited book is the 2020 release, “Developing a Champion: The Electramotive Nissan GTP Story”, written by the team’s former engineer Chris Willes. It has a forward by team owner Don Devendorf and four-time IMSA GTP champion Geoff Brabham.


  3. Dutch 1960 says:

    My all time favorite is my mid-70s (the first?) Racing Beat parts catalog. One can see the beginnings of all the various mods and trick (many of them factory JDM competition) parts starting to come together for the rotary.

    A close second is my late ’70s Datsun competition parts catalog. So many cars, so many parts, so many contributions from various directions. Datsun/Nissan were all in with motor sports, up to their eyeballs, across the board. All from back in the days of carburetors and other metal parts, not so much chips, wiring, and programming like today.

  4. j_c says:

    My Life Full of Cars by Paul Frere

    Although Frere was an auto journalist by trade he went to school for engineering so he had a bit more technical insight in his writing than others. After winning Le Mans in 1960 he set aside competition for writing and becoming a consultant to several OEMs, driving everything until his death 2008. The book covers the interesting cars he had reviewed or owned from the Citroen 2CV to Ferrari F40, and driving impressions of some race cars he had the privilege of sampling like the Porsche 917 and Mazda 787B.

  5. Lupus says:

    “Szybkość bezpieczna” (f. Polish: “Safe speed”) by Sobiesław Zasada.
    The author is 91 YO by now, he’s a renowed rally driver in Europe, he started his career in early 1950’s and he’s participaiting in rally’s TILL NOW! He’s officially the oldest participant in WRC – he participated in Safari Rally 2021
    The afromentioned book was first released in 1970. It’s a sort “spirited driver’s handbook”. Zasada explains the concept of driving mechanics, car’s ballance, weight shifting, guides how to incorporate rally & race techniques into daily driving, tells story’s about safety, the importace of danger anticipation, teaches how to “read the road” and how to resque yourself from ugly situations.
    Of course no one can become a good driver just by reading this book, but trully opened my eyes on many aspects of driving. It defenetly shaped the way i control the car, how i think ’bout others on the road.
    Many decades after Ben Collins (2nd Stig) released a similair book titled “How to Drive”. For me it’s also a great source of knowlege, only revolving around more modern tech.
    But still the old original by S. Zasada is my favorite car related book.

  6. Ellis says:

    Auto Mechanics Fundamentals by Martin Stockel.

    I was given this around the age of 13/14. Growing up as a child who loved to take things apart and see how they worked and also having a fascination about cars I found this book amazing. My particular copy was published in 1990 and so lacks anything regarding modern technologies.

    What you do get is a total understanding of how your basic motor car works. Broken down into chapters that include ‘ignition systems’, ‘cooling systems’, ‘lubrication systems’, ‘fuel systems’ (both carburetor and fuel injection) plus many more this book was like a bible for me once I got my first car just over a year later. (A Datsun B210 that was almost beyond saving, would never be road legal for the sheer amount of rust but was perfect as a paddock car for thrashing around the orchard and learning some basic driving skills…)

    Not only is it my favorite automotive book, it’s probably one of the best books I’ve ever owned period. It was invaluable as a young adult working on my own cars and probably saved me thousands of dollars too.

  7. f31roger says:

    My favorite books, but don’t have too many outside of a couple Hondas are Hyper Revs.

    they had articles, mostly anything that was available at the time, they would put in it.

    Magazine wise, TMR’zine. I just loved how underground it felt

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