The top automotive Christmas books for 2022

Autocar books for christmas

We’ve picked our favourite motoring titles for the best way to unwind after driving this Christmas

You can’t go wrong with a good book at Christmas. So the Autocar team decided to compile a list of Christmas page-turners with a motoring theme. Just add a log fire, mince pies and mulled wine and you’re ready to go. 

Rally – Reinhard Klein

Annoyingly, this book is so good it has become collectible, pushing prices ever upwards, but if you can find one to suit your budget (and remember it is big and lavishly printed), then you are in for an absolute treat. The pictures are sensational and the accompanying text adds enough layers to please everyone from the diehard enthusiast to the casual page-flicker, no doubt lured in by that oh-so-amazing cover picture.

Jim Holder

The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone – Tom Bower

In a life as remarkable as Bernard Charles Ecclestone’s, it should come as no surprise that this biography of him has the ability to make the reader’s jaw drop on almost every page. Bernie gave author Tom Bower access to him, his inner circle, friends and, most intriguing of all, his enemies to tell the whole life story of how he went from an impoverished childhood to a billionaire. Bower takes full advantage with a book of staggering depth, detail and research, and thus the full picture is painted of how Bernie divided and conquered Formula 1 (and the used car world in London before any of that). Does he come out of it well? The big title on the front of this must-read is a bit of a giveaway…

Mark Tisshaw

Fast Lady – The Extraordinary Adventures of Dorothy Levitt

Dorothy Levitt, born in 1882, quickly made her mark on the automotive world, having graduated from being a typist at a firm selling cars such as De Dion-Boutons and Napiers to becoming the first woman in Britain to win a competitive motor event after she entered the Southport Speed Trials. She mastered not only speed but mechanics too, writing the handbook The Woman and the Car. One piece of advice has stood the test of time: the need for a hand mirror to check on the traffic behind, today known as the rear-view mirror. Another not so much: keeping a Colt 45 pistol in the glovebox… Her life story, which also includes multiple motoring offences, a stint as a chorus girl and plenty of illicit gambling before her abrupt death at 40, makes for a compelling read.

Rachel Burgess

All Arms and Elbows – Innes Ireland

Innes Ireland has never been one of the headline stars of the 1960s Formula 1 circus, so it’s good to read more about him and from his own hand. In typical fashion, the book starts off with a nervous moment, as Ireland feels he’s about to befall a ‘big one’, and it immediately brings to mind just how dangerous that era was. Anyone imagining the storytelling might be a bit dull because Ireland wrote this needsto think again. There’s a wonderful raw element to the prose, with plenty of light-hearted moments that seemed to pepper that era of F1. Nostalgia done well.

Piers Ward

Demon Tweeks Catalogue: Professional Motorsport Equipment 2022 – Demon Tweeks

I have been embarrassingly slack when it comes to reading car-related books this year, with the exception of some technical ones about my own cars. Bar workshop manuals, then, and they’re too specific to be of general interest, the one I’ve thumbed the most is the Demon Tweeks catalogue, wondering if a pair of low-backed classic seats (p403) would look the part or whether a throttle-body conversion (p301) would sort the fuelling.

Matt Prior

The Official DVSA Theory Test for Car Drivers – Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

I won’t wax lyrical about how keeping on top of the Highway Code is an essential skill, because you’ve heard it all before. Nor will I attempt to feign a morsel of enjoyment. I’ve only persisted with this tome because I’m a total swot, especially when the exam in question (a) holds the key to freedom at long last and (b) has proved harder to book than a ticket for the British Grand Prix. At least I’ll strut into the test centre with an air of confidence, I suppose…

Charlie Martin

Group A: When Rallying Created Road Car Icons – Reinhard Klein and John Davenport

Yes, another rallying entry, but this one features at least one evocative image of François Delecour flat out in a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4×4, so it gets a free pass. Many consider Group B the ‘golden era’, but we all know it was actually Group A, not least because, as the title points out, it also delivered ‘road car icons’. Filled with lush photography, it covers each season that this formula was at the top of the WRC tree, plus it takes an in-depth look at the various stage stars. If this book is under the tree this Christmas, then consider yourself lost to the family for the rest of the festive period.

James Disdale

Car Guys vs Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business – Robert A Lutz

This amazing book, published in 2011, tells the story of the return to the top rung of General Motors management by Bob Lutz, the legendary US car industry guru who had already worked for BMW, Ford, Chrysler and GM in previous lives. It gives a superb insight into the way car company managements of the time could “hit every target” without actually producing good or saleable products, and presents Lutz’s product-focused solution to the problem. The greatest joy of this book is Lutz’s own direct, no-prisoners writing style, which must have riled dozens of the book’s protagonists at the time. His account of the launch of the “youth-oriented” Pontiac Aztec, a huge and expensive flop, is especially enjoyable. Few management books are gripping page-turners, but this is one.

Steve Cropley

Buy Autocar’s front cover as your very own poster…

There’s a new way to get even more of your favourite car magazine, because a company is now selling some of the greatest Autocar front covers as posters. It’s all part of the Great British Car Journey ( buy-merchandise), and if you visit the website, they’re available to buy in various states of finish. Not every single cover is there (we have quite a lot from 127 years…), but if it goes well, the range will be expanded. Your study wall has never been so grateful.

Source: Autocar

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