8 books that must feature on every car enthusiast’s reading list

Picking up the perfect book to read is a lot like going off the grid, and who better than a car enthusiast to truly understand what that feels like? While the internet throws up a number of book recommendations for the car junkie in you, here’s a slick list that encompasses all the varied interests among the fraternity.

So, find the perfect companion to keep stay-at-home boredom at bay:

1. The Art of the Automobile: The 100 Greatest Cars by Dennis Adler

The ultimate possession in your book collection on cars, The Art of the Automobile is a blissful guide through automotive history. Composed by the award-winning automotive historian and the current editor-in-chief of the Car Collector magazine, Dennis Adler, the book withholds a treasure trove of information on cars. From the earliest production lines to fabled manufactures, it carries stunning tales (with breathtaking pictures) from across the globe that will only intensify your zest for the four-wheeler.   

2. Car Fever by James May 

As one of the “bad boys” of the car world, James May has a lot of stories to tell and what’s better than a book to capture his unfiltered and unique voice. Through May’s eyes from behind the wheel, we encounter a hilarious series of stories on the internal combustion engine, gastropubs, and political correctness – all in one single breath, at times. Pick this up even if you aren’t into cars all that much!  

3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein 

In his own idiosyncratic ways, Garth Stein is akin to Ernest Hemmingway but of the motoring world. In The Art of Racing in the Rain, he translates his love for racing through the voice of a dog named Enzo and guides through a whirlwind of emotion that’s hard to shake off.  A New York Times Bestseller for 156 weeks straight, The Art of Racing in the Rain is the perfect encapsulation of love, passion, and turmoil that fuels a racing car driver – a truly profound tale that was later turned into a major film in 2019. 

4. Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business by Bob Lutz 

If there was ever a no-holds-barred kind of a tale about the mean but true side of the car manufacturing industry, then Bob Lutz’s 2011 book is the one. Lutz uses his vast experience as a veteran in the industry to take us through the entire production chain of the auto business, including its many politics, to give a valuable perspective on business in general. The book was nominated for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year award. 

5. How Cars Work by Tom Newton 

Tom Newton, a school psychologist, author, and illustrator, originally intended the book How Cars Work to be developed for teens so as to advocate the need for a hobby. But, over the years, the book became a bible to everyone across the board – from mechanics to automotive service managers, ‘How Cars Work’ is an amazing illustrated primer on all the technical nitty-gritty associated with cars.  

6. How to Build a Car by Adrian Newey

Adrian Newey is a resounding name in the international racing scene for one simple reason – he is arguably one of the greatest car designers from Britain. How to Build a Car is Newey’s wonderful memoir who chooses to share his inconsolable passion for the automobile with great candour and energy. The book contains many never-seen-before illustrations of his iconic designs and offers a proper perspective on the life and loves of the 10-time Formula One Constructors’ title winner. This one’s the real deal. 

7. Ultimate Speed Secrets: The Complete Guide to High-Performance and Race Driving by Ross Bentley 

Racing driver and performance coach Ross Bentley is possibly one of the best authors currently in publishing. Bentley was born into a racing household (both his father and brother were racing mechanics) and he has used his natural expertise to curate multiple bibles specific to both mental and physical aspects of the high-octane racing game. His 2011 book Ultimate Speed Secrets is a revered guide to some of the most poignant matters involved in racing – right from choosing the correct line on the track to finding a sponsor, it encompasses all. 

8. Drive On!: A Social History of the Motor Car by L.J.K. Setright 

A riveting and thoroughly informative book, L.J.K. Setright’s Drive On! traverses the international history of the car with great finesse. The author uses the social milieu and societal demand of the previous century to give us a clear perspective on how car manufacturing and design were nudged in specific directions – plus, he also offers fascinating ramblings on several intricacies like the origin of the “dashboard” or the maximum speed of a raindrop! 

So, immerse yourself in the exciting world of these riveting reads, and take your love for cars to a whole new level. 

Happy reading!