For me, books are one of life's little indulgences. My reading habit was likely passed down from my late father, who would spend most evenings with a book in his hands.
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by books. At the time, I wasn't exposed to a variety of cars and nor did I have access to the immediacy of online media like we have today. So, books and magazines were the only way to learn and absorb as much as I could about cars.
It's a practice that has continued through the years. I've built up a small collection of around 85 motoring books, from popular softcover books to more collectable hardcover items, as well as books that are ideal for research on specific models or ranges. These titles still provide me with endless hours of joy and assist in nailing down the facts when I'm writing about certain vehicles.
Below are my top seven picks as well as where to buy them...
1. Porsche 911 Carrera RS – Thomas Gruber
First, I must admit I didn’t buy this book; it was sent to me to be featured on a media platform. It's the most thorough and in-depth book ever written on Porsche’s very first RS model and covers the full history on the car, racing details, trim details and everything in between. It's the type of book you want to sit with, page through at your leisure and not be disturbed by anyone. Click here or here to buy it.
2. How to build a car – Adrian Newey, OBE
One of the best-ritten and most enjoyable books I’ve read to date. The title might be a little misleading, though. Aerodynamicist and overall car engineering and design guru Adrian Newey goes into great detail about his countless successes in building racing cars, but his anecdotes about life in general and working for the variety of companies he has will have you laughing out loud at times. Click here to buy it.
3. Numerous titles – Jeremy Clarkson
One of the best-known motoring personalities of our time. Whether you like him or not, the man has stories to tell and he writes rather well. Having lived in the United Kingdom for five years in the early 2000s, I read a few of his books and never missed an episode of the BBC's Top Gear. Even if you don’t like him and completely disagree with his views, it's interesting to read his columns and analyse his opinions. Click here to buy eBooks.
4. Luxury toys – Paolo Tumminelli
The only real "coffee table book" on this list, publishers teNeues are known for delivering high-end, quality books for the enthusiast. This 220-page example focuses on some of the most collectable cars in history, complete with beautiful photography. Each car is covered over four to six pages, featuring only a few words (in four languages) with full-page photographs. Some are from the modern era and some are historical. Readers who have an interest in these cars’ specifications will savour the details listed at the back of the book. Apart from listing the engine details and which company was responsible for the design and construction of each vehicle, the number manufactured also makes for interesting reading. Click here to buy it.
5. Strange but true tales of car collecting – Keith Martin and Linda Clark
A truly fascinating read. From tales of an owner who doused his highly valuable Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa in petrol and set it alight to collectors who just can’t stop buying cars, this book has some of the most remarkable stories from the world of cars I’ve ever read. It also includes a massive barnfind, the Schlumpf collection, Steve McQueen’s sunglasses and “The Veyron in the Lake”, a story from a more recent incident. Even if one reads just a single story a day or week, it never fails to impress. Click here to buy it.
6. The Porsche Book – Barth & Büsing
Simply one of the best reference books on Porsche. Divided into three volumes, the collection's first book looks at rear-engined Porsches and their racing variants (from 356, 911 and GT1). Book two is on mid- and front-engined Porsches while book three delves into Porsche’s other race cars. Apart from pictures, there are technical details, production numbers and every little historical detail, including chassis numbers and engine and gearbox codes. Click here to buy it.
7. Dino: The little Ferrari – Doug Nye
Written by a highly respected automotive journalist, this book digs deep into the history of a legendary Ferrari. Dino (Enzo’s late son) doesn’t refer just to the engines used in various cars, but also the road and race cars in Formula 1, Formula 2, Tasman, sports racing and hillclimbs. All of these cars are covered, including in the form of road tests of the road cars. There are numerous black and white pictures as well as colour photographs, too. Click here to buy it.