After a few false starts and a couple of delays, I am ready to initiate the weekly presentation of book reviews and gift ideas. If all goes as planned this should be something you can look forward to at the end of each week. Unless otherwise noted, clicking on the title of the featured book will take you to the Auto Books-Aero Books (my favorite automotive book store) website. Clicking on the description of a featured product will take you to the ordering site for that item. Ordering books on line from Auto Books-Aero Books is easy and safe. However, if at all possible my suggestion is that you stop by the store to make your purchase. I guarantee a visit, especially on Saturday morning, is well worth the trip. In either case please say hello to Chuck and Tina for me. Lets kick this off with a review of the book I am currently reading. Chrysler’s Turbine Car, subtitled The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation. The sterile title masks the story of one of the most fascinating endeavors by a major auto manufacturer in the past sixty years. The subtitle is a gross understatement. Author Steve Lehto weaves a masterful, informative tale that reads as a novel written by an insider. However, it is the subject matter that you will find riveting. The Chrysler turbine powered automobile project spanned more than thirty years but the high water mark for this astounding concept came in 1964 with the creation of a fleet of Ghia bodied, turbine powered automobiles test marketed in the most unique way, they were loaned to ordinary families from all walks of life to test in real world conditions. The fleet eventually logged more than one million trouble free miles in all manner of weather conditions. The engines would run on any fuel from tequila to perfume, gasoline to diesel, with cleaner emissions than a standard piston engined automobile and deliver more miles per gallon with performance equal to or surpassing any thing available at the time. Maintenance was another marvel as the engines had more than 20% fewer components. Additionally, these cars never needed an oil change, had no radiator, and no fan belts!What went wrong? Why were such amazing cars stillborn? That is the rest of the story, that is what makes this a must read book. Next on the list is a fascinating and inspiring true life story by Dan Rice, the vice president of the California Route 66 Association, and proprietor of 66-Cali, Inc. End of the Trail (Barnes & Noble link) chronicles Dan’s amazing eight year odyssey from injury to recovery. Traumatic Brain Injury affects an average of 1.5 million Americans annually and is the number one combat injury of returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. If you know someone suffering from this injury and want to better understand the trials they face on the road to recovery, this book is for you. If you simply need inspiration for the daily battles of life, this book is for you. If you just need a good book for these cold late fall evenings, this book is for you. In addition to Barnes & Noble, the book can be purchased directly from Dan. He maintains a small Route 66 shirt shop on Santa Monica Pier and can be contacted through his website for 66-to-Cali for signed copies. While we are on the subject of Route 66, I want to suggest the most informative, easy to use, and interesting Route 66 guide for deciphering the labyrinth of the legendary highways course in the L.A. area. I tested the book, Finding The End of The Mother Road, Route 66 in Los Angeles County by Scott Piotrowski, on my last visit to L.A. and give it my seal of approval.
Now, for the owners of Ford built products powered by gas guzzling, raw horse power, small block V8 engines, a great “how to” book by CarTech. This detailed, heavily illustrated manual is ideal for the master mechanic or the beginner intent on keeping his Ford running as new. If you like the idea of a weekly review of books and gift ideas, please let me know. Additionally, I would like to hear from you in regards to the books promoted. On a final note, for 2011 we are taking Route 66 Chronicles to the next level. So, if you have a publishing company, a Route 66 related business or museum, an automotive restoration shop or parts business, salvage yard that specializes in vintage automotive parts, or a real estate business with Route 66 related properties for sale, contact us to discuss advertising opportunities.