|Mr. Christie with his revolutionary front wheel drive race
The article written for Hemmings Classic Car profiling the pioneers of front wheel drive automobile development garnered a positive review that summed up most of my published work, “Jim Hinckley shines a light into dusty corners and exposes a myriad of treasures.” That review has become the cornerstone for every project as it is my goal to illuminate forgotten corners of history, to provide depth and context to the American experience, and to enhance adventures on the road less traveled.
In retrospect, I now see that it was my desire to preserve history, and to give forgotten people and places a moment in the spotlight that is the catalyst for most every piece written and published.
My first published feature profiled a junk yard lost in time located near Tombstone, Arizona. It was a near perfect time capsule of a wrecking yard circa 1955 where the stripped carcasses of Model T Fords crowned nondescript piles of rusty fenders, doors, frames and other components from the years between the world wars.
My second published piece told the fascinating tale of the pioneers of the American automobile industry who gained a dubious form of immortality with their last name recognized throughout the world but their accomplishments, and often even their first name, were shrouded by the mists of time. It was a story of the Stanley brothers made famous by their steam car that was financed with the sale of patents that served as the cornerstone for the founding of Eastman Kodak and David Buick, the man responsible for the cast iron bathtub.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=158388100X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrIt was the story of Henry Ford, the indirect founder of Cadillac, and Charles Nash, the orphaned child that transformed General Motors. It was also the story of the Dodge brothers, the men who made the success of Ford possible, saved Oldsmobile from ruin, and that enabled Buick to become the cornerstone for General Motors.
In the years that followed, I created a niche market by merely writing about what I found fascinating and what I felt was not being told about in the history books or travel guides. So, it really wasn’t a very big surprise to learn that I received the offer to write the first book to profile the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company because more seasoned writers felt the subject was to limited in scope, to obscure, and the available research material to thin.
The next book, The Big Book of Car Culture, written in conjunction with Jon Robinson, was a project tailor made for my proclivity to transform the odd and obscure into fascinating. In this volume I was able to chronicle the evolution of pavement striping and crash test dummies, of Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway, of legendary tourist traps and even the lowly gas pump.
The next projects, Backroads of Arizona and Route 66 Backroadshttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076032817X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr, allowed to me share my passion for the road less traveled and the wide array of wonders found along the way. Then came the book I had dreamed of writing for most of the past thirty years, Ghost Towns of the Southwesthttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760332215&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr.
The hunger for knowing the story of forgotten places such as Cerbat and Pearce, Kingston and Vulture City, and for sharing their story, began the moment I sat among the ruins of Goldroad, Arizona, and gave free reign to my imagination in the summer of 1966. This book served as a milestone in my career as an author for it was the manifestation of a childhood dream to become a writer that transformed the dusty and dead into the vibrant and living.
The latest publication is an extension of Ghost Towns of the Southwest. In Ghost Towns of Route 66, I was able to give towns where the resurgent interest in Route 66 came to late a brief moment in the limelight and, I hope, add depth and color to the experience of an adventure on legendary U.S. 66.
I derive tremendous satisfaction in seeing my work accomplish the goal encapsulated in that review from so many years ago. In my current project, a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas, I have been entrusted with the almost sacred task of chronicling the 85 year history of America’s most famous and most popular highway. This represents the ultimate opportunity for shining a light into dark, dusty corners.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760338434&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrAs final bit of shameless self promotion, I leave you with this review of
Ghost Towns of Route 66 posted by Ron Warnick of Route 66 News.