Collectables>> Reading Material

Where some strive for that perfect die cast collection or others endeavour to build the most accurate RC cars, my own personal vice is of the paper and hardback variety. Any show or event I attend, if there’s a stand selling books you can get your bottom dollar I’ll be there drooling over what’s on offer. I guess the reason why I pick up so many automotive related books is even though the internet is a great resource, you still can’t beat the highly detailed information on offer out there in print. Here are a few of my own personal favourites …

Written by my favourite design commentator, Stephen Bayley, the book looks at the life of Harley Earl and his influence on the modern motoring industry.

Back in the 1930s and ’40s, US car owners were quite content with their cars. This posed a problem for manufacturers simply because people had no desire to purchase new cars when their old one was working just fine. Along came Earl and his dynamic economy. Where previously the manufacturers sold their cars on their reputation and having the latest technology available to the consumer, they would now resort to selling their cars by making the previous models undesirable. With Earl cars became a status symbol and reflection of we are. It’s a fascinating read and well worth picking up if you can get your hands on it.

AJ Baime’s Go Like Hell depicts the infamous battle between Ford and Ferrari at Le Mans in the 1960s.

The book is written in a narrative style, telling the story of one of the greatest Le Mans battles in plain english but with plenty of factual references to back up its accuracy. Once you pick it up, it’s pretty hard to put down.

Graham Robson is a highly respected writer and his knowledge of Ford and their history in motorsport is second to none.

 The Works Escorts chronicles the evolution of one the most successful rally cars of all time and alongside the story of their success is an amazing reference guide to each chassis number and its success and history.

Earlier this year I wanted to learn more about the Porsche 917 and 956 but it took until September at the Goodwood Revival for me to pick up two books worthy of these amazing cars.

I’ve only had a chance to briefly flick through them both but I’m looking forward to indulging in them on a wet and dark night soon.

The Technique of Motor Racing by Piero Taruffi was recommended to me by an old mechanic that was working the day I was shooting a car at the same premises.

Although the technology in motorsport has evolved since the book was originally published in 1958, the basic principles have remained relatively unchanged. It’s an absolutely amazing read and has helped me become a better driver in so many ways.

Another by Stephen Bayley, Cars is a more recent title, released within the last few years.

In Cars, Bayley examines the cars which he believes to be the most important from a certain year. The accompanying photography by Tiff Hunter is breathtaking and that’s before you learn how he built a custom studio that he would construct on site to photograph each car.

Ford Escort Rally Preparation was a lucky find. I picked it up for £20 at the Ford Fair back in 2010.

The book basically shows you exactly how to and what you need to convert your Ford Escort into a car fit for the rally stages.

Christopher Hilton is reknowned as one of the foremost F1 authors. This hardback book published by Haynes celebrates the life of Ayrton Senna.

The book promotes itself as an interactive voyage through Sennas career …

… by including realistic replicas of handwritten letters, race agendas, circuit layouts (with gear indicators), team stickers and much more.

Finally onto what is for me at least, the most important book I’ve ever owned.

Rally by Reinhard Klein is a comprehensive photobook comprised of photos from the greatest years of world rallying. I can safely say that this was one of the biggest influences on me to chase a career in motorsport photography.

These are just a few of my own personal favourites. What are yours?

Paddy McGrath

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'Winning is Not Enough' - Jackie Stewarts autobiography, I first read it years ago and many times since.


speed secrets 1-5 I gave one book to a young driver and the very next race he was much much better - also Moto Gp technology even though it's for bikes it's incredibly detailed and worth the read.


Rally by Reinhard Klein <- i got this too and this is superdope to me..


The Driver by Alex Roy is also a great read.


Graham Robson's Performance Fords is right up there for me. I remember buying it back in '04-'05, and it's what rejuvinated my love for Ford.


The art of racing in the rain.... Its a little bit of a tear jerker and great for those of us that like "dags"


Speed secrets by Ross Bentley would be up there . no fuss , straight advice on how to make you a better driver.


Missing one of the most important books in that list, The Unfair Advantage by Mark Donohue.


Nice books. I looked up the majority of them including the Senna title and the Rally title and most of them are unavailable online. Any info in regard to the best place you could hope to purchase them in time for the holidays???


Naice .... a few books that im going to have to definitely add to the collection


Carroll Smith, To Win series. Should be mandatory.


I have both the Harley Earl and the Go Like Hell titles. Picked them both up at 1/2 price book store. I also scored Edlebrock and So Cal coffee table books along with the Cole Foster book. Go Like Hell is a good read.


I rather build kits than read books but it comes together when you search for reference and one of my favourites is GTR bros with calsonic R32 Gr.A inside


Loving this collectables series. I'm fortunate enough to own the last but one original Rally, i can back up everything you say about it. Awe inspiring book. The rest; i need to add to my collection.


The "Rally Giants" series, especially the ones with the Escort Mk I & II's, and the Group A Escorts are good.

"How To Make Your Car Handle" was a really good read for suspension dynamics.

Paddy, you need to get your hands on an Escort Mk II.


Rally Cars - Reinhard Klein

British touring car racing in camera - Graham Robinson

Mansell and williams - Derek Allsop

21st century performance - Julian Edgar

The British racing hero - Derek Allsop

Pole Position - Jon Nicholson

LeMans 24hours - Brian Laban

Motocourse 05/06

World of Rallying 8

Porsche 917 - Peter Morgan

Formula One, unseen archives.

Looking back, motorsport photography of - Terry Marshall

Revolution - Brad Lord

Kustom Graphics II - korero


Thanks for the suggestions everyone, there's definitely a couple I've added to my shopping list.

Another couple of books I'd recommend are the 'In Camera' series published by Haynes. One of my own favorites from this series is 'Formula 1 In Camera 1980-89' featuring some amazing photgraphy by Rainer W. Schlegelmilch.


It's PAINFULLY expensive at this point but if any of you guys get a chance to look at "Rally Cars" also by Reinhard Klein it is an UNBELIEVABLE look into the inner workings of pretty much any rally car that existed up to it's publication date. I mean they have a pretty expansive write up of the 323 GTX and no one cares about those things other than myself and like 15 other guys.


Heve you read Scarlet Passion? It is about the sports racing Ferraris of the 1960s and 1970s. I recommend it to anyone interested, it is the best book I have ever had


The Racing Driver. written by Denis Jenkinson.

As navigator for Stirling Moss while winning the 1955 Mille Miglia, this book recounts his experiences during that entire race in great detail while sitting beside one of the best drivers in history. Jenkins has been widely regarded as one of, if not the first navigator to create pace notes and used them with Stirling Moss during that famous victory.

Jenks was a legendary motorsports writer, won a world championship racing sidecars as a passenger in 1949 but was most well known for being a long time contributor to the British magazine "Motor Sport".

One of the best motorsport writers ever. This book is a classic.


Just an FYI, it's Tif not Tiff.


Revista FullPower & Revista Race Master


He crashed me, so I crashed him back - Mark Bechtel


Absolutely interesting books.


For the Porsche 917 you have to buy Walter Nahers book, even if it's in German only.

For Ferrari you buy Enzo's own Piloti che Gente.. published in various editions and when searching on the web you can find it at good prices (Euro 50-80)

Sportscar racing?? Janos Wimpffen published 4 books covering the years 1950-1980. When on a lower budget go for Paul Parker's in camera books.