Gear: January Book Roundup: NART Ferraris, Seinfeld’s Porsches, And BMW-Alpina

January Book Roundup: NART Ferraris, Seinfeld’s Porsches, And BMW-Alpina

By Benjamin Shahrabani
January 27, 2016

The beginning of the year has brought a distinct chill with it in some parts of the world. In many cases, that means you’re likely buried under a pile of snow—with your classic hibernating for the winter.

It’s the season for curling up with a good book while you wait for better weather to arrive, so check out these recent titles that arrived at the Petrolicious offices. From vintage hood ornaments to the latest Mercedes-AMG sports car, we’ve reviewed these books so you don’t have to.

As always, please let us know below if there are any new books you’ve enjoyed recently that you would recommend.

Title: N.A.R.T.: A concise history of the North American Racing Team 1957 to 1983
Author: Terry O’Neil
Publisher: Veloce
Pages: 256

The North American Racing Team (or N.A.R.T.) was created by former Italian racecar driver and Ferrari concessionaire Luigi Chinetti to promote the marque in the United States through success in motorsports. It would race until 1982, at which point it had participated in over than two hundred races with some of the most revered drivers behind the wheel. In 1965, the team’s 250 LM in the hands of Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory became the last Ferrari to win Le Mans outright.

Here, veteran motorsport author Terry O’Neil gives the reader as good a vantage point of this era of sports car racing that might reasonably be found if you weren’t there in period. There are plenty of photographs to ogle over, both in black and white as well as color. This is a book that any motorsport lover should have on their shelf, whether they love Ferrari or not.

Title: Dino: The V6 Ferrari
Author: Brian Long
Publisher: Veloce
Pages: 224

Brian Long’s new book from Veloce is a complete history on the model, including the 206 GT, 246 GT and 246 GTS. All the expected information is included in the 224 pages—including original factory drawings, schematics, period advertisements, as well as archive photography, and rare pictures of prototypes. The author thoughtfully also includes the model’s competition exploits, as well as related models (such as the Lancia Stratos, which used the Dino’s V6). The well-written text includes an enormous amount of well-researched information, as well as three appendices at the end that include specifications, chassis and production numbers, and—perhaps optimistically—a buyer’s guide.

If you’re a Dino owner, or just a fan of these (once affordable) “junior” Ferrari’s, you’ll want to add this book to your collection.

Title: Porsche – Origin of the Species
Author: Karl Ludvigsen, Foreword by Jerry Seinfeld
Publisher: Bentley
Pages: 356

To know where you’re going, you have to know where you came from. Automotive historian Karl Ludvigsen (Excellence Was Expected) writes of the genesis and early history of the marque in Porsche–Origin of the Species.

Utilizing Jerry Seinfeld’s 356/2-040 Gmünd couple as a jumping off point (Seinfeld also wrote the book’s foreword), the origin if you will, the author details the how, what, where and why’s of the first Porsches with rich detail through interviews, and memories of the people that were there. This information is supplemented with archive and contemporary photographs, letters, and technical drawings.

Seemingly no stone was left unturned, and an important part of the story conspicuous by its inclusion is the emphasis on the business side of the company—why the 356 made economic sense—a facet often omitted in books about cars as uninteresting or banal, but here it adds an additional dimension that makes the story all the more complete. Heck, the book even sees fit to include a reproduction of the original 1949 356 workshop manual.

Beautifully produced and published, it is a must have for the libraries of all Porsche enthusiasts.

Title: Mercedes-AMG GT: A Star is Born
Author: Markus Bolsinger, Marco Brinkmann, Tom Ising
Publisher: Delius Klassing
Pages: 160

Mercedes-AMG GT: A Star is Born was produced to commentate the eponymous car of the title, the 2015 Mercedes-AMG GT, the successor and little brother to the SLS. There’s not a lot of technical detail in the text of this book, but there are some fairly dynamic pictures, and a nice history of the AMG company.

In essence, this tome is published in the style of an uber-brochure. Written in both German and English, this book may appeal to the Mercedes-AMG GT owner, or someone who aspires to be.

Title: OAL-BB 50: 50 Years of BMW Alpina Automobiles
Author: Paolo Tumminelli
Publisher: Delius Klassing
Pages: 464

While Alpina has been recognized by the German Federal Ministry of Transport as an automobile manufacturer since only 1983, the company’s history dates back to 1965. In that year Burkard Bovensiepen would start his tuning business in an outbuilding of his family’s original Alpina typewriter factory. For Alpina’s 50th anniversary, Delius Klassing produced this book containing 50 chapters on the history of the company. History, specifications, interviews with the people that made it all happen – it’s all there in blue and green. This is a bilingual book; German is in blue and English is green, just like Alpina’s favored colors.

An oversight and criticism is that one wishes for more pictures. For such a storied history, and weighty volume, there is a relative lack of images to look at. A pity. Nonetheless, this book would be a good addition for a BMW fan who enjoys to read.

Title: Automotive Jewelry, Volume One: Mascots, Badges
Author: Michael Furman with Robert Strand
Publisher: Coachbuilt Press
Pages: 288


Title: Automotive Jewelry, Volume Two: Bespoke Mascots
Author: Nicholas Dawes, Michael Furman
Publisher: Coachbuilt Press
Pages: 280

Car mascots, commonly called hood ornaments, were originally created to dress up the exposed radiator caps of cars in the early days of the automobile. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy, also known as the Flying Lady, which first graced a hood in 1911. Made of metal, and even glass, many of these mascots were essentially miniature works of art that would continue to adorn the front ends of many cars even as radiator caps disappeared from the automotive vernacular.w

Over the decades, the popularity of these mascots waned due to cost and later safety concerns, in favor of the more discreet badging we see today. Over two lushly-photographed volumes, Michael Furman’s Coachbuilt Press documents these small, but not insignificant embellishments to a car’s body.

Both volumes include wonderful color pictures by Furman, and each mascot or badge is photographed up close and personal with rich detail so the reader can see every nuance from the sometimes-complex curves of the mascots to the simple but evocative typography of the badges.

The second volume, Bespoke Mascots, concerns custom ornaments not originally offered by car manufacturers. Artists could be hired to craft a truly unique and sometimes one-off design for the car owner in metal or glass. Among the most beautiful (and delicate) are Rene Lalique’s car mascot creations. While produced in a limited series, Lalique’s glass jewelry—because that is what it is—included eagles, rams, boars, peacocks, and frogs – are collected not just by car enthusiast, but also general glass collectors.

Whichever book you may decide upon purchasing (we’d buy both!) the photographs in either of these books are lavish, and the text is informative and crisp. Take a journey through a bygone era.

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Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago

Yay ! Y’all are finally recommending the ” Porsche ;Origin of the Species ” book I’ve been ranting about . Suffice it to say Seinfeld plays a minor [ but important ] role in the book … with the main emphasis being Porsches history

But … once again …. yet another DK book [ the Alpina book ] I’d jump on in a heartbeat thats too much of a pain to jump thru the hoops [ and $$$ ] to try and purchase .

So again I say to the fine folks at DK ….. please please please … get some US/NA distribution … pretty please ?

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