For those of you who like to get your 90-weight-coated paws on some car-themed reading material, we're continuing with this book-review thing. Today we're checking out a weighty slab of a coffee-table book.
Hot Rod Garages poses something of a dilemma for the intended audience, because it really ought to live in the garage, where you can thumb through it while digging deep for motivation to work on that rusty '61 DKW Munga Hell Project… but you'd feel a twinge of guilt the first time you dropped a torque converter on its snazzy three-dimensional cover (the windows in the cover's garage illustration are actual holes cut through the cover, an effect that doesn't show up so well in photographs but is pretty cool in person).
The concept behind the book is quite simple: Vincent visited the garages and workshops of 18 builders of vehicles that fall within the hot rod and/or custom tradition and documented what he found. Some are big names and some aren't; all create some pretty serious machinery, and their shops range from primitive to palatial. Here's the list, for those of you who might be interested in particular car builders:
The Rolling Bones
Vern & Keith Tardel
I cracked open this book hoping to see hundreds of obsessive closeups of battered tools and weird engine parts on scarred workbenches, which wasn't what I found; most of the photographs show entire cars, many of which aren't parked in the garages in which they were created. That's not really a problem, however, because plenty of the non-garage photos were shot on the Bonneville salt flats and just about all the cars are serious gearhead pr0n.
You get a generous helping of text for a coffee-table book, including interviews of car builders and the author's reminisces of his experiences with them. Best of all is the fascinating history of the Moal family's operations in East Oakland, written by Michael Dobrin, and the extensively documented buildup- practically a how-to guide- of the Rolling Bones' George Poteet '34 coupe.
The verdict: a Three Rod Jalopnik book rating. An enjoyable book for the average car geek, a big improvement over the tedious stuff that sits on most coffee tables… and pure un-stepped-on crack for those hooked on the traditional hot rod aesthetic. Murilee says check it out!