The Best Gift Book Ideas for Car Buffs
Whether you’re shopping for the holidays or planning a birthday surprise, a book is one of the best gifts you can give. If you’re buying for a car buff, though, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of titles you can find on shelves and online. Here are some ideas to help you sift through all your options and find the perfect read for the auto enthusiast on your list.
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A lavishly illustrated book from DK
DK is best-known for publishing oversized, beautifully designed books loaded with gorgeous photos, and these four titles for car lovers are no exception. Best of all, they’re also well-written — meaning they won’t just sit unread on the coffee table.
- Car: The Definitive Visual History of the Automobile
- Classic Car: The Definitive Visual History
- Drive: The Definitive History of Driving
- Tractor: The Definitive Visual History
An auto repair manual
Does the person you’re gift-shopping for like to do his or her own vehicle repairs and maintenance? The perfect gift book just might be an auto repair manual. Two of the most popular auto manual publishers are Chilton and Haynes. Both offer printed books about specific vehicle generations and models, and they also sell subscriptions that provide online access and video tutorials for a wide range of vehicles. Another great gift option would be a more general repair guide like Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care, Maintenance, and Repair by Michael E. Gray and Linda E. Gray.
A road-trip adventure
If your auto enthusiast loves to get behind the wheel for long journeys (or just likes to daydream about the ultimate getaway), spark his or her imagination with a road-trip adventure. Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson, The Routes of Man by Ted Conover, and American Nomads by Richard Grant are five excellent starting points. For armchair travel or practical trip planning, gift a title like Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways, National Geographic Drives of a Lifetime, Atlas Obscura, or Epic Drives of the World (reviewed here on The News Wheel).
A book about a specific model, brand, or automaker
If your car lover is especially enamored of a specific model, brand, or automaker, you can probably find a gift book specializing in that interest. Here’s just a sampling of the options out there:
- Chevrolet Trucks: 100 Years of Building the Future by Larry Edsall
- Corvette – America’s Star Spangled Sports Car: The Complete History, 1953-1982 by Karl Ludvigsen
- The Complete Book of Ford Mustang by Mike Mueller
- The BMW Century: The Ultimate Performance Machines by Tony Lewin
- Porsche 70 Years: There Is No Substitute by Randy Leffingwell
An automotive history narrative
If your car buff is also fascinated by the past, consider buying him or her a book on automotive history. One of this holiday season’s most popular gift choices is sure to be A.J. Baime’s riveting Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans — the basis for the hit movie Ford v Ferrari. Other fascinating titles for history enthusiasts include Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500 by Art Garner, Drive! Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age by Lawrence Goldstone, and Fins: Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors, and the Glory Days of Detroit by William Knoedelseder (which was recently reviewed on The News Wheel).
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A longtime editor/writer and recently transplanted Hoosier, Caleb Cook lives in Xenia, Ohio. His favorite activities are reading and listening to music, although he occasionally emerges from the heap of books and vinyl records in his basement to stand blinking in the sunlight. Once fully acclimated to the outside world again, he can be observed hanging out with his wife, attempting a new recipe in the kitchen, attending movies, walking the dog, or wandering into a local brewery to inquire about what’s on tap. See more articles by Caleb.