Four books for you to read....
You wouldn’t expect a history of Dodge muscle cars
to be produced by a UK publisher and with an UK author, but here we are.
Dodge Dynamite – 50 Years of Dodge Muscle Cars has just been launched by
As is the case with all the recent Veloce books,
the quality of presentation is high and the editing is poor. Typos and lame
phrasing abound – but to be realistic, most people wouldn’t notice or even care
if they did. As the title suggests, the book covers cars way back to the 1950s,
and for me at least, they’re the most interesting pages. There are plenty of
contemporary photos and ads, the latter being especially fascinating.
It’s like money in the bank! Even when you’re
not using it, it’s nice to know it’s there... this surge of extra POWER
...trumpets one ad showing a 1953 Dodge almost
visually overwhelmed by an artist’s impression of the engine.
Here’s how Dodge gives you NEW MASTERY ON THE
...says another ad, also for the 1953 model.
There’s plenty of text to go along with the pics
but for a casual reader, it’s the photos, advertisements and captions that
provide most of the narrative. The history is a popular one: there’s no real
analysis of the technology of the Hemi engines or the incredible aerodynamics of
the NASCAR-inspired Dodge Charger, although both are touched upon. But pics of
the three two-barrel Holley carbs on 440 cubic inches of V8 tell the technical
story almost without words...
For a reader ignorant of US models of the time,
the publication also fails to place the Dodge models in context – how did they
compare with their main opposition?
The book skirts past the dismal period in the
1980s where Dodge performance became worked-over Japanese turbo cars without
much grunt; the return to power with cars like the Viper re-ignites the pages.
Anyone heavily into Dodge performance should have
this book on their shelves but it’s also a welcome addition for those interested
in the genesis of America’s post-war love affair with big V8 power – and a
fascinating look at when copywriters produced ads that were creative and fun.
- Julian Edgar
The Subaru Impreza The Road Car & WRC
Story is a detailed and interesting 224 page book on the life and times of
the iconic Subaru Impreza.
As a Subaru owner I was particularly keen to see
how much this book held me while reading it and how much information I found
Brian Long (resident in Japan) writes clearly and
concisely, dividing the book into informative chapters on the life of the
The book kicks off with some background on the
manufacturer (Fuji Sangyo Co Ltd in the early days), highlighting the evolution
of the company from its time spent developing aircraft and engines to power
them, and the first wheeled vehicle they ever produced – a 135cc scooter called
Rabbit – made with wheels left over from their aircraft manufacturing!
From then on the writer plunges into the
development of the P-1, the ancestor of the Impreza, and the development of
Subaru philosophies in manufacturing and the iterations of the Impreza through
to, and including, the 2003 model year.
Each chapter traces a part of the marque's history
as a production vehicle (including STi versions), including many colour photos,
technical specifications of the models as they were produced at the time
(including differences found in other country's specifications), pricing and
production volumes. You certainly aren't left wanting for information, and the
narrative style of writing helps you enjoy the read as you attempt to digest all
of the information presented.
Particularly enjoyable is the ability to reminisce
about the history of the Impreza in world rallying. Every stage of the Impreza's
development (and often triumphs) in the world rally championship is documented
alongside production timelines with full colour photographs and statistics.
Chockfull of high quality colour images, mountains
of information about each vehicle specification and written in an easy to read
fashion, I found this book to be an enjoyable read and a great reference too.
Some people may not care for the detailed production volume and specification
information, but it is all there if you want it.
- Nathan Huppatz
Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO – The Road Car &
WRC Story is written by Brian Long and is published in the same series as
the Subaru Impreza – The Road Car & WRC Story. It is even a matching
Along with the Impreza book, the Mitsubishi EVO
book is filled with colourful images and detailed information on the EVO cars
from the original Lancer 'Evolution' right up to and including the 2003 model
The history of Mitsubishi is covered in the first
chapter, with foreword by Shinichi Kurihara, Product Manager of Mitsubishi
Motors in Japan.
Brian has obviously researched the company and
vehicle history thoroughly, using many factory and press images from years past
to highlight each model and each WRC successor. Pictures of Tommi Makinen (and
the EVO model monogrammed with his name), Richard Burns and other rally stars
help stir nostalgia for EVO fans. Even included are tables of WRC results
reminding the reader just how successful the EVO Lancer has been in world
The development ideals of the Lancer are conveyed
often in the book and referenced during chapters. In the chapter covering the
fifth evolution of the Lancer there is a brief Q & A interview with the
Lancer Chief Engineer in which he details some of the development objectives of
the EVO 5. Development goals are further highlighted with mention and quotes
from other Mitsubishi staff sources.
As with Brian's book on the Impreza, this book
includes a huge number of detailed press, marketing and factory images, detailed
information on the specifications and production data of each model, and is
written in an easy to read and interesting style.
Even as just an admirer of the Mitsubishi Lancer
EVO, and not an owner, I found the book a rewarding read. It would be a great
reference item for a Lancer owner.
- Nathan Huppatz
Mazda MX-5 Miata
In terms of popularity and impact, there’s never
been another sports car like it and Mazda MX-5 Miata – the book of the World’s
Favourite Sportscar recounts the story well. Another from the prolific
keyboard of Brian Long, this book is a cut above Mr Long’s other books.
The genesis of the MX5 is told in detail, with key
players described, numerous design studies and clay models shown, and the risks
and rewards of the sports car concept fully explored. The three key MX5 models (up
to and including the current one) are described in detail and there are numerous
photos and diagrams, including ones of the suspension, engine and body in white.
As with Mr Long’s other model histories, this is
not a technical history – which is a bit of a pity since the MX5 redefined
handling with what, after all, are pretty basic underpinnings. An analysis of
what makes the suspension work – in terms of roll stiffness, scrub radius,
dynamic camber change and the like – would be fascinating... although perhaps not
to numerous readers.
Every one of the special models is covered – and
there have been a lot. Sales performance in Japan, Europe and the US is
described on a year by year basis and there’s an extensive chapter on
In short, if you’re an enthusiast of the MX5
Miata, or are simply interested in the detail on a truly significant car, this
is a must read.
- Julian Edgar
publisher provided the books gratis for these reviews.