No car lover’s home (or garage) is complete without at least a manual or two and a few cool car reads for the coffee table. From technical guides to pages filled with stunning pictures, we pulled together some of our favorite books about cars, including recommendations from AAA Car Doctor John Paul, and Nicole Wakelin, auto journalist and judge at next year’s New York International Auto Show.
If your collection isn’t quite complete or you’re looking for the perfect book to give your favorite car enthusiast, keep reading.
For the Car Collector and Historian
“Tom Cotter’s Best Barn-Find Collector Car Tales” by Tom Cotter
From a $3,000 Ferrari to other junkyard treasures, car collector Tom Cotter chronicles some of his best barn discoveries in these pages, which are “well written and have great photographs of the cars and locations,” according to Paul. Buy it here.
“The Big Book of Tiny Cars: A Century of Diminutive Automotive Oddities” by Russell Hayes
If you’re looking for a fun book about cars that will entertain even the auto ambivalent, you’ll enjoy this look into the history of the world’s smallest cars. It’s fun to read, and the pictures are entertaining too. Buy it here.
“Classic Car: The Definitive Visual History” by DK Publishing
Featuring over 250 classic car models, this is a must for any car historian. “One part coffee table book and one part historical primer, this is a beautiful book with fantastic information that is sure to appeal to the car enthusiast,” Wakelin said. Buy it here.
“The Complete Book of Porsche 911: Every Model Since 1964” by Randy Leffingwell
Get to know the Porsche 911 inside and out. Complete with illustrations, photos from Porsche’s historical archive and behind-the-scenes info, this book will delight any fan of of the beloved sports car. Buy it here.
“Built for Adventure: The Classic Automobiles of Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt” by Clive Cussler
Clive Cussler brings his New York Times bestselling Dirk Pitt series to life with this photographic journey of vehicles featured in the novels, all of which are from the author’s own collection. Enjoy the striking pictures and commentary on classics like the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Touring and the Cadillac V-16 Roadster. Buy it here.
For the Mechanic and DIYer
“How Cars Work” by Tom Newton
“This one is for the gearhead who wants to understand what all those parts under the hood actually do and what happens when things go wrong,” Wakelin said. For those looking to learn the ins and outs of car mechanics, “How Cars Work” breaks the information down simply, and includes a glossary, index and test after each chapter. Buy it here.
Whether you’re looking to restore that 1982 Camaro or want to service your newer vehicles, the model-specific instructions in Chilton’s Total Car Care series and Haynes repair manuals can help, providing step-by-step instructions for everything from engine maintenance to car repair. Paul explained that thorough explanations and pictures are important in repair manuals, and you’ll find both in these.
“Physics for Gearheads” by Randy Beikmann, Ph.D.
Written by an automotive engineer with a Ph.D., mechanics and DIYers can trust this book to give detailed and accurate information about the physics behind the vehicles they love to work on. Buy it here.
For the Pop Culture Fan
“Go Like Hell” follows the story of how Henry Ford II sought to build a car that could outrun Ferrari. “If you saw the recent ‘Ford vs. Ferrari’ movie, this is that story but better,” said Wakelin. Buy it here.
“A Man & His Car: Iconic Cars and Stories from the Men Who Love Them” by Matt Hranek
For people who love cars, a car is much more than just a piece of metal. Every vehicle has a story, and this book celebrates the bond between a man and his car with stories from the likes of Ed Burns, Shaquille O’Neal and Jay Leno. Buy it here.
“The Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Book” by Jerry Seinfeld
Have a laugh and ogle at the vehicles in this hardcover highlight reel of Jerry Seinfeld’s favorite moments from his show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Pre-order here.
If you want to learn about how different parts work or you’re more interested in admiring the full picture, there’s no shortage of great books about cars. “Car books are like anything else – once you have more than one you become a collector,” Paul said. If you haven’t already started your collection, now is a great time to start!
|Even More Books About Cars|
|100 Cars That Changed the World: The Designs, Engines, and Technologies That Drive Our Imaginations||Prime||Buy Now|
|Dream Cars: Chronicle of Design and Performance||Prime||Buy Now|
|Built for Speed: The World's Fastest Road Cars||Prime||Buy Now|
|My Dad Had That Car: A Nostalgic Look at the American Automobile, 1920-1990||Prime||Buy Now|
|The Car: The Rise and Fall of the Machine that Made the Modern World||Prime||Buy Now|
|Cars, Trains, Ships, and Planes: A Visual Encyclopedia of Every Vehicle||Prime||Buy Now|
When you make a purchase through a third-party link, AAA Northeast could receive revenue. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Do you have a favorite book about cars? Tell us about it in the comments below!