From my bookshelf Holidays 2016 Edition

If you’re like me, you’re cogitating on unique auto related books for gifts. Here are some picks from my bookshelf for the 2016 Holidays.


How about a book written in August 1916 about a road trip from New York City to Indiana? In A Hoosier Holiday Theodore Dreiser colorfully documents his journey in a new Indianapolis-built sixty-horsepower Pathfinder to his old Indiana haunts in Warsaw, Terre Haute, Sullivan, Evansville, and Bloomington.

One of the stories is of meeting Indiana auto pioneer Elwood Haynes at the Haynes Automobile Company plant in Kokomo. He begins by describing the workers and sights during his plant tour. “After inspecting the factory we came into presence of the man who built up all this enterprise. He was relatively undersized, quite stocky, with a round, dumpling-like body, and a big, round head which looked as though it might contain a very solid mass of useful brains. He had the air of one who has met thousands, a diplomatic, cordial, experienced man of wealth. I sensed his body and his mind to be in no very healthy condition, however, and he looked quite sickly and preoccupied. He had a habit, I observed, contracted no doubt through years of meditation and introspection, of folding both arms over his stout chest, and then lifting one or the other forearm and supporting his head with it, as though it might fall over too far if he did not. He had grey-blue eyes, the eyes of a thinker and organizer, and like all strong men, a certain poise and ease very reassuring, I should think, to anyone compelled or desiring to converse with him.” Haynes told Dreiser of building his first automobile in 1894 and his recent development of Stellite, a new metallurgical alloy patented in 1912 and still in use today.

Dreiser’s travelogue describes their 2,000 mile, two-week pilgrimage to his boyhood home. He paints you into the story of the people, the journey, and the destinations.

Peruse A Hoosier Holiday at


I am interested in stories about hunting for automobiles. The next two selections fit that genre. The Cobra in the Barn: Great Stories of Automotive Archaeology is the first book in the series of tales of the elusive search for the ultimate “barn find” automobile that started in 2005.

This book in the series explores a gathering of over 50 cars, including seven different Cobras. Passionate sleuth Lynn Park of Pasadena, CA, has owned nine Cobras, and he’s still on the lookout for more. Park’s obsession started one day when an acquaintance showed him a copy of Road & Track magazine with a Cobra on the cover. The next day he visited Carroll Shelby’s shops in Venice, CA, to see one for himself. He was immediately hooked. Being just out of high school, the $5,000 price tag was beyond his budget. So, he purchased an A.C. Aceca coupe and converted it to 289 Cobra specifications himself. His main emphasis is non-restored original automobiles. One of these is the 289 Cobra found under a canvas cover in Temple City, CA, with 33,000 miles on the odometer. Park has respectfully conserved the car, which he drives more than any of his other Cobras.

Author Tom Cotter shares how some of these dream searches might start out as part of an urban legend, but through what he calls automotive archaeology, the details of the actual “barn find” come to reality.

Peruse The Cobra in the Barn at


It has been said “You never forget your first car.” I know that the saying is true for me. I still remember my Canyon Coral with India Ivory top 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop. That’s why I wanted to read My First Car: Recollections of First Cars from Jay Leno, Tony Stewart, Carroll Shelby, Dan Ackroyd, Tom Wolfe and Many More.
Motor Trend executive editor and motoring author Matt Stone compiled 60 stories of these “firsts” from titans of the auto industry and other celebrities. The interviewees share what drew them to, how they enjoyed, and other remembrances of their first car.

The first thing I wanted to checkout was how many claimed 1957 Chevrolets Bel Air “firsts” like me. I’m in good company with motorsports legend Mario Andretti and well-known auto care product manufacturer Barry Meguiar.
I enjoyed how Stone presents each of these stories. First he offers a short background on the individual. Then he weaves the tale of acquisition, use, misuse, and separation from the revered vehicle. There are many stories of how these vehicles helped to build a life-time bond with someone close.

Stone’s motor journalist experience yields a thorough look at the topic. His love of automobiles adds interest and draws you into the story.

Peruse My First Car at

So, if you’re looking for some different books this holiday season, I invite you peruse these. See you the next time over by my bookshelf.

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