So, we wrote an eBook: Jalopnik’s Book of Car Facts and History Even Gearheads Don’t Know. Snappy title, right? It’s available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, and Google Play. Just in time for National S’Mores Day! Buy it now and change your life forever.
There are a lot of stories we’ve gathered over the years that we thought were worth re-telling and we’ve collected them in one volume. Perfect as a gift for a loved one or a veiled threat for an enemy, our book is in digital form so you can surreptitiously read it on the toilet while you’re at work.
Car history is world history and the world is a strange place full of weird people.
The same spirit that has built empires has driven people to create small boxes that go very fast around twisty ribbons of pavement. Cars have spent most of modern history on the frontier of technology, and the development of something new often inspires genius. Sometimes it inspires insanity.
We’re interested in those stories that lie somewhere on the line between the two.
The disturbed writers of Jalopnik — the world’s greatest car website — have collected all the stories that Big Auto Journalism is afraid to tell. Did you know Cadillac built a mid-engined sports coupe with Luigi Chinetti and Zagato? You know Felix Wankel as the inventor of the rotary engine, but did you know he was a Nazi who was kicked out of the party? Twice.
Everyone knows that all of Henry Ford’s original cars were black, the Jeep was developed for the military, and that the turn signals on the ‘57 Chevy are timed to the rhythm of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Suede Shoes.”
But did you know the modern Buick wouldn’t exist if the company’s founder hadn’t made his fortune designing the white ceramic bathtub? Before Buick, most bathtubs were black. Were you aware that car tail lights are red because early gearheads took their lights from trains?
When would you guess the first fatal car accident was? Maybe the early 1900s? Nope. 1869.
Have you heard of the Dunkley Self-Charging Gas Motor Car? It’s the only a automobile designed to steal its own fuel. There are thousands of cars that are not the Volkswagen Beetle that deserve to be talked about. Although, now that I mention it, did you know the original Beetle GSR was denounced in the German parliament as a car for hooligans? It had a society-warping 50 horsepower.
This is our history and as the true automotive believer or the casual car fan it’s important to not let this history be forgotten. Car culture risks being hijacked by press release mills and idealess TV production crews who keep churning out the same faux-reality show about a shiny tattooed troll who has to get some car flipped for some amount of money or “risk losing the garage!”
It’s fake and it’s dumb and we should do everything in our power to resist it.
If you buy this book it proves to me that you also care. And I hope that you, too, have a thirst for the kind of car knowledge that only a discerning gearhead or an escaped mental patient would ever need.
Impress your friends at the pub with your tales of the Faegol twin-engined race car. The friends that don’t run screaming from the bar are your real friends.
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