11 of Our Favorite Books About Cars 

Must-have reads for the auto lover’s library.

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 

Car Tales

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.

Tiny Cars

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.

books about cars

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.

books about cars

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.

books about cars

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

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.

car repair manual

Repair Manuals by Chilton and Haynes 

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

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

Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans” by A. J. Baime 

“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 and his car

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.  

comedians in cars

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!  

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AAA members can save money at the pump with Shell’s Fuel Rewards program. Plus, you can save on automotive replacement parts and accessories at NAPA.

Do you have a favorite book about cars? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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3 Thoughts on “11 of Our Favorite Books About Cars 

  1. THERE IS A BOOK CALLED , “CAR TREK” IT HAS THE HISTORY OF A BOY THAT LOVED TO DRAW CARS. ITS SCOPE TAKES YOU THRU 400 CARS DRAWN BY THE SAME BOY FROM AGES 6 TO 56. SEE THE PROGRESSION OF THE BOYS ABILITIES GET BETTER FROM JUNIOR HIGH, HIGH SCHOOL, PRATT ISTITUTE AND HIS PROFESSIONAL YEARS. ITS VERY IMAGINATIVE AND UNIQUE. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT FOR YOUR YOUNG AT HEART READERS!

  2. There is a new book, just released: “THE CAR: The Rise and Fall of the Machine That Made the Modern World,” by Bryan Appleyard – rave review in the NYTimes.

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