Sunday, 15 January 2012

Book Review: My First Car by Matt Stone, absolutely engaging and riveting throughout

That introduction nails it. So much that I had to post it... so you'd understand what I love about the reason for this book, which I hope is the first of a series.

by the numbers
5 chapters
116 pieces of paper between the covers, 232 sides, only 3 blank

The form and layout are nice, good presentation, with medium quality photos due to the fact they are vintage photographs scanned and transferred to digital. Some black and white, mostly color

the only thing I'd say in a negative way is the "magazine style" call out quotes that fill half a page to get your attention. What is that for? It's a book! The reader is already engrossed and hooked! Magazines need it to get you to buy the copy, books are a thing you are already committed to, and this book doesn't need to screw around, it's terrific and you'll just be reading the small print and ignoring the callouts

Photos: 89 color images, 32 black and white.

the chapters divide the book into types of people, so you could skip right to the type of people that interest you most... Racers, Titans of the Auto Industry, Stars of stage screen sound, Athletes, Journalists artist and others

The only things that might make this book better would be if the author took more time to talk to every one with an interest in cars, and published more stories. This book is primarily the first cars of celebs and famous people you may not have heard of, but will agree are well known for their accomplishments. I don't know why the same interesting stories wouldn't come from people who aren't famous, or from specific genres of vehicles, like the first 4 x 4, race cars, Vespa, Harley, etc etc

Cost, starts at about 11 dollars on Amazon that is a bargain deal for the enjoyment you'll get for a book this full of interesting stuff

Things I learned from this book:
If you want to score big bucks, find the cars these stars once had, they want them back badly
Patrick Dempsey (tv and movie star) had a Porsche that was the sound source for the Top Gun scenes with Kelly McGillis' speedster
Mario Andretti's first race car was a Hudson Hornet
Sir Stirling Moss' first car was a Morgan 3 wheeler
John Glenn's first car was a 29 roadster
Chad Knaus was crew chiefing at age 14 for his dad, and went on to be the first crew chief to win 4 consecutive NASCAR championships (driver Jimmie Johnson)
Enzo Ferrari bought his son a Morris Mini partly from admiration for the designer, Alec Issigonis (photo of Alec and Enzo
Barry Meguiar and Mario Andretti had 57 Chev Bel Airs as their first car
McKeel Hagerty's sister had a Corvair Lakewood station wagon for a first car that Augie Pabst used to ice race, and McKeel's first car was a 1967 911S that he was driving in high school.
Bill Warner (Amelia Island Concours founder and chairman) used to try beating his time from Charelston to Jacksonville, and was going so fast he passed a state trooper who was already in pursuit of another car
Jay Leno's parents once dropped everything to get to where Jay had parked at school to put a tarp over his truck to prevent the rain from ruining the interior (What cool people!)
A kill switch to stop the car while driving a date home is a cool trick to get some extra cuddle time
Robert Wagner (Hart to Hart actor) had a deuce roadster that he ran on the dry lakes in the late 40's at 109mph
Andy Warhohl never had a first car til age 56
NBC found Johnny Carson's first car, had it restored and gave it to him for a birthday present
Steve McQueen entered motorcycle races under the pseudonym Henry Mushman so no one would know ahead of the race that he'd be in it
Paul Newman's first car was a 29 Ford, followed by a 37 Packard, but just as cool... hopped up a vw bug with a 1800cc Porsche engine for his daily commuter from Connecticut to New York
Dan Ackroyd used to have fun with friends pulling each other behind a car on snowy roads
Eric Bana will be getting the Beast in action again, it's been fixed and is ready for paint
the TV shows "Rides" and "Overhaulin" are both the creation of Bud Brutsman, who left home at age 15, just after his dad had tried to get him involved in a father son car project, a 1969 Mach 1
Boom Boom Mancini is the nephew of musician composer Henry Mancini
Bruce Jenner (76 Olympics decathalon gold medalist) had a 54 Caddy hearse as hid first car, and raced professionally for Roush on the IMSA circuit in the 80s, and had a GTO class win at Sebring in 86
Morgan Freeman ran into the side of a bus with his first car, decided to never drink and drive again, but he did in 2008, big news event

Here is the list of people that Matt got stories from

The author, Matt Stone, also wrote other auto books of note, McQueen's Machines (still waiting for me to get it reviewed) The Ferrari Phenomenon, and Winning (The racing life of Paul Newman) is interviewed by a local tv station

Or you can stop by his website and learn that he has been in auto journalism since 1990, worked at Motor Trend for a long time, also freelanced a lot (I've seen his name in many of the Source Interlink magazines I think) and was editor of the superb first run of Motor Trend Classic (you really would love to have those!) and just started a blog two weeks ago

For more first car stories:


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