Top 10: Books for petrolheads

We're aware that going on the internet to find out what books to read is a bit ironic, however, some of the best things you'll read about automotive history, motorsport stories and general guides for anyone who loves to tinker under the bonnet of a car can be found on paper. A few in this list are available on Kindle, too.

Top 10: Films for car enthusiasts | Top 10: Gifts for £10 or less

1

Fifty Cars that Changed the World

Fifty Cars That Changed the World explores the top 50 cars that have made a substantial impact in the world of design today. These cars are icons, as sculptural objects, products of avant-garde industrialism, remarkable pieces of engineering or as symbols of national prestige. The cars in this book demonstrate the playful, emotional, seductive and technical aspects of design.

From the 1908 Ford Model T to the 1998 smart car, the Lamborghini Miura to the Toyota Prius - this book encapsulates a century of car design and allows you to explore the special place cars hold in design history. With stunning photography selected by the Design Museum, Fifty Cars that Changed the World is the perfect gift for design lovers and motoring enthusiasts of all ages.

Buy it now

Fifty Cars that Changed the World: Design Museum Fifty

£9.35
2

Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans

In the 1960s, Enzo Ferrari emerged as the dominant force in sports cars, creating machines that were unbeatable on the race track. In America, the Ford Motor Company was quickly losing ground as the pre-eminent brand. Thus, Henry Ford decided to declare war on Ferrari, to build a faster car than anything Ferrari had brought to the track and to beat him at the world's biggest race: Le Mans.

With practically no safety regulations in place in the European Grand Prix races, horrific accidents were routine with both drivers and spectators killed in many races. The stakes were incredibly high, money and men were thrown at the competition and neither Ford or Ferrari would accept anything but victory. The book also makes a great read if you want to know more behind the 2019 film Ford v Ferrari - featuring Christian Bale (as pro racer, Ken Miles) and Matt Damon (as Carroll Shelby, American automotive designer and engineer).

Buy it now

Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans

£9.99
3

Faster, Higher, Farther: The Inside Story of the Volkswagen Scandal

When news of Volkswagen’s clean diesel fraud first broke in September 2015, it sent shockwaves around the world. Overnight, the company long associated with quality, reliability and trust became a universal symbol of greed and deception. Consumers were outraged, investors panicked with the company facing bankruptcy.

In Faster, Higher, Farther, Ewing describes VW’s rise from “the people’s car” during the Nazi era to one of Germany’s most prestigious and important global brands. With unprecedented access to key players and a ringside seat during the course of the legal proceedings, the book reveals how the succeed-at-all-costs culture prevalent in modern boardrooms led to one of corporate history’s farthest-reaching cases of fraud.

Buy it now

Faster, Higher, Farther: The Inside Story of the Volkswagen Scandal

£9.99
4

How to Build a Car: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Formula 1 Designer

The author, Adrian Newey OBE, is arguably one of Britain s greatest engineers. How to Build a Car explores the story of Adrian's unrivalled 35-year career in Formula One through the prism of the cars he designed, the drivers he worked alongside and the races in which he's been involved.

While his career has been marked by unbelievable triumphs, there have also been deep tragedies - most notably Ayrton Senna's death during his time at Williams in 1994. Beautifully illustrated with never-before-seen drawings, How to Build a Car encapsulates precisely what makes Formula One so thrilling. A must-read for any F1 fan.

Buy it now

How to Build a Car: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Formula 1 Designer

£15.70
5

The Limit: Life and Death in Formula One's Most Dangerous Era

At the boomerang-shaped racetrack at Monza in 1961, half a dozen teams were preparing for the Italian Grand Prix. Phil Hill, the first American to break into the top ranks of European racing, and his Ferrari teammate, Count Wolfgang von Trips, faced off against one another in a race that was set to decide the winner of the Formula One drivers' championship.

A must-read for anyone who remembers the dangers and deathtraps of 1950s and 60s F1 racing.

Buy it now

The Limit: Life and Death in Formula One's Most Dangerous Era

£8.99

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6

Lonely Planet: Epic Drives of the World

Buckle up for the next installment in Lonely Planet's 'Epic' series and the follow-up to Epic Bike Rides of the World. Epic Drives of the World showcases 50 of the greatest road trips on Earth, from classic routes in America, Australia and Europe to incredible adventures across Asia and Africa.

Organised by continent, each route features a first-hand account, photographs, illustrated maps and practical advice on when to go, how to get there, where to stay and what to eat. From Hawaii's Hana Highway and Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh Road, to Utah's National Park Circuit and Germany's Black Forest High Road, Epic Drives of the World will inspire any motorist to hit the open road. This book is also where the main picture for this Top 10 comes from...

Buy it now

Epic Drives of the World (Lonely Planet)

£17.49
7

James Hunt: The Biography

James Hunt was a towering personality, a hugely glamorous public figure who brought Formula One motor racing to the attention of a whole new audience. Triumphing against all odds to become World Drivers' Champion with McLaren in 1976, Hunt is one of the most well-known figures in F1 history.

You can also watch Chris Hemsworth's depiction of Hunt in Ron Howard’s wildly over-the-top biopic about the ’70s rivalry between Formula One racers Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and James Hunt - Rush. The butting heads of the hedonistic playboy from Britain, James Hunt, and the stern Austrian Niki Lauda makes for very entertaining watching, in addition to the glamorous and often dangerous world of racing.

>> Top 10: Car Films

Buy it now

James Hunt: The Biography

£10.99
8

The Mechanic: The Secret World of the F1 Pitlane

Join McLaren's former number-one mechanic, Marc 'Elvis' Priestley, as he tours the world, revealing some of Formula One's most outrageous secrets. Whether it be parties on luxury yachts in Monaco or elaborate photo opportunities in gravity-defying aeroplanes, this is a world which thrills on and off the track.

The Mechanic is an enjoyable account of the day to day life of an F1 mechanic, however, it isn't exceptionally technical or focussed on particulars. It's a great read for the casual F1 fan.

Buy it now

The Mechanic: The Secret World of the F1 Pitlane

£6.89
9

One Off: The Roads, the Races, the Automobiles of Toly Arutunoff

In One Off: The Roads, the Races, the Automobiles of Toly Arutunoff, the amateur road racer and raconteur recounts some of his favourite stories. From his participation at the Targa Florio to winning the SCCA runoffs in his Morgan 4/4 - there are intriguing family moments, the exuberance of youth and brushes with greats such as Redman, Clark and Moss.

Written in a light-hearted style, the book's unpolished finish won't suit everybody's taste - but it's ideal for those car and race enthusiasts who love a good story.

Buy it now

One Off: The Roads, the Races, the Automobiles of Toly Arutunoff

£40.32
10

Porsche 911: The Practically Free Supercar

While this title isn't as well-known as the books that follow the lives of glamorous F1 drivers and infamous rivalries, it's a great read for anyone interested in owning a Porsche 911 - a car that author Robert McGowan aims to prove isn't as expensive as one might think.

If you dream of owning a Porsche, this book should help you to narrow it down to which models would suit you best, what to look out for and what to expect. A genuinely interesting read for Porsche enthusiasts, but not as polished as most others in this list.

Buy it now

Porsche 911: The Practically Free Supercar: The Complete Beginners Guide to the Smartest Route into Porsche Ownership

£12.87

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