Saturday, August 04, 2012

Corvette Sixty Years, by Randy Leffingwell

By the numbers
 5 chapters
129  pieces of paper between the covers

 Quality photos: about 378 (I may have miscounted a couple) 232 are color photos. Regardless of color or black and white, the images are outstanding and high quality

 Period ads: none, but plenty of period publicity photos. Good ones. Plus plenty of design sketches and drawings

Something that is important to remember when reviewing this book, the primary focus of it was information and photos NOT in the authors previous 4 Corvette books, and the other best Corvette books on the market. It makes it less simple to judge the book based on information you might be looking for but not finding, as that might be very well left out intentionally if published in "Corvette 50 years".

form and layout
Lots of photos per page to illustrate the text.

1 In the Beginning, the birth of the Corvette
    the design process, the prototypes, and the mistakes made

2 Domination to Disco, the 2nd and 3rd generation Vettes

3 Reclaiming the throne, the 4th, 5th, 6th generations

4 Racing, Beating the worlds best

5 Community action, the people and places

what do I know about Vettes not covered in the book
  Most expensive, most rare, and stats like that. This book has each model stat by engines, convertible vs hardtop, etc, and purchase price.

things I learned that I did not know
 The author, Randy, has 4 books previous to this on Corvettes. I'd say that makes him an expert. Randy has 130 Corvette books in his collection, and unknown amounts of magazines
  The breakdown of options that customers preferred, as in, the most ordered option, the most ordered color, the least desired option almost no-one bought.
 Duntov's rocky road and near firing when working at GM. Intriguing reading of how GM design, engineering, and management mishandled the Corvette.

overall impression
  Thoroughly well done, you're getting more than your dollars worth with this book. It's a damn good book, a damn fine written documentary, and exhaustively researched look at the Corvette history

  The last chapter on the Corvette specific car shows, websites, car clubs. Very cool to see this in a book, as most authors ignore the mundane reality of what happens when a car is in use, by it's owner. Randy did a great job of telling the history of the Carlisle event, the NCCC, etc plus websites dedicated to the Vette

 I had hoped the engine designations would be explained so they are understandable ie: L71, L79, L36, L68 etc etc
 The 4 sidebars of the V-8 engine, isn't that a good clue that you should have made a chapter on the engines, power trains, and engineering, instead of breaking into the chapter storyline like a news bulletin?
  Editing was not good (I'm self editting for years, and it's easy to criticize if you can tell how to improve it) and print on pages 98 and 103 was blurry (printed in China)
 The U-6S was mentioned once, but never explained, (so I still don't know if it meant the paint, turbo, or outsourced engineering)  page 135
an example of how Google book search works:

I don't like the "Continued on page ..." format when I'm reading. I read books, and that's not the way to make a good book. Take all the interruptions, and make a chapter of them. A chapter on Zora Duntov alone would have been a good editing choice, instead of interspersing information about his moments throughout the other chapters

In this book, the interruptions of the storyline are all the biographies of the guys, and some design sidebars, that made the Corvette happen in many ways, those are great. No complaint about the number, quality of research, editing, or plethora of information ... just the inappropriate locations that are out of context, and better off as a chapter to themselves


Bios: Sloan, Earl, Duntov, Mitchell, McLellan

Design: The Blue Flame engine, Corvettes in American culture (x2), fiberglas, the V-8(4 sidebars), fuel injection, 63 Split Window inspiration, acronyms of the body models, smog legislation, factory show cars, Callaway Vettes, production numbers by year chart, product change vs model longevity (engrossing and thought provoking), the 2013 model convertible news, CERV I, CERV II, Grand Sport, pace car editions, Le Mans,

For a terrific interview with the author, from the experts on Corvettes, Vette Magazine

Price, about 30 dollars from various retailers on Amazon

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