Smith s selections range from the guys known to any gearhead (Vic Edelbrock) to those known only by devoted students of hot rod history (Nick Brajevich and Wayne Horning among them). Unlike previous efforts to illuminate such figures, Smith spends a good deal of time and space on each subject, shortchanging nobody. Smith also illustrates the book with well-chosen photos (250 total black and whites, spread over 240 pages) that show the subjects in their natural habitats their shops, the dragstrips or the dry lakes --Hemmings Weekly newsletter, Oct, 2009--Book of the Week! The pursuit of speed and the hot rodding industry have always been popular topics amongst racers and muscle car fans, and through the years many have played vital roles in tuning up the performance engine industry. The 240-page hardcover book examines some of the men behind the performance industry including Edelbrock, Hilborn, Weiand, Evans and Offenhauser among others. --National speed Sports News, September, 2009--When we open the BangShift.com Gearhead University, this book, Merchants of Speed by Paul D. Smith, will be first semester required reading. Magazines have been delivering more and more great history in recent periods, but this is on an entirely different level. Christmas is coming. If you are a history junkie and want to learn of the great people on whose shoulders we now stand you owe it to yourself to either score the book or plant a bug in someone's ear to score it for you--Bangshift, September, 2009--It s one of those rare multi-purpose books that will occupy equal time in the Studio being cracked open for research, as well as being brought out for some additional inspiration in those late-night bench race sessions --Motorburgh, September, 2009....Just like Britain, the post-war US spawned a plethora of small racing workshops taking stock components and refining and developing them to produce more and potent racing equipment. Smith painstakingly documents the challenges they faced and the solutions they found as these resourceful men became the nucleas of America's 'speed shop'industry. Many of the great names are here: Crane Cams, Evans Speed Equipment, Offenhauser, and many good stories told. The type of racing involved may have been different, but the same spirit can be found on both sides of the Atlantic--Classic Cars, december, 2009--There are plenty of hot-rod titles that focus on the cars and culture, but few that celebrate pioneer tuners. canadian Smith has changed all that with this super, top-value title that draws on lengthy interviews with key specialists. The great exponents are all there, such as Fred Offenhauser, Ed 'Isky' Iskenderian and Vic Edelbrock. Stylishly designed, this 240-page hardback features many photographs form tuners personal collections. As well as hot-rodding and drag-racing, stories cover Indy, speedboats and record attempts. Fascinating nuggets include Hap Sharp's ill-fated Llin sports coupe and the saga of Stu Hillborn's fuel-injectd streamliner. essential reading for anyone interested in california speed culture-- -- --Classic & Sports Car, December, 2009
If you have a hot rod in the garage or dream of owning one, then the names Crane, Edelbrock, Spalding, Offenhouser, and Hilbourn will mean something, as will all the other names in this book, which profiles the men who founded the speed-equipment industry that made hot-rodding popular. Smith writes for enthusiasts. --Virginian pilot, December, 2009 Let's get something out of the way first: this is not a coffee-table book. it's the right size, and its got the heft, but you leave this out for visitors to puruse at your own risk. if you're on your way out to catch a game with some buddies and they start reading through this while waiting for you, there's no way you'll make it before half-time. The sheer volume of information contained in this book is truly intimidating. Paul smith has done a remarkable job of catalouging the histories of 22 of hot rodding's most infuential companies and the men behnid them. Each chapter is packed with the events, innovations, cuccesses, and setbacks of these men as they put together the foundation for hot rodding and, really, for all performance modificaton today. This is not dry history, thoguh, as he pepers in anectodes and quotes to give more of a face to the stories. Smith has definatley done his homework in puttinghis material together; to call this a history book woud be like calling the Sears Towers a building. it's true, sure, but the sheer scope is beyond words. That said, if you're not interested in the history of your engine, you're probably not going to be interested in this book. it's not as thoguh there are pages and pages of large, glossy images to space out the text, if you decide you don't have the attention span for reading. The book does contain over 200 period photos, which helps give it a rich, imersive flavour, but you're not really buying this book for it's photos. A look at the table of contents will show a host of familiar names which would draw in history buffs at the outset. No doubt, you'll skip ahead to chapters on Fred Offenhauser, Phil Weiland, Vic Edlebrock Sr, or Ed Iskenderian. That's understandable, but you'll definatley wnat to check out the names you don't recongize; you're bound to learn something interesting. For example, did you know Chcuk potvin of Ptvin racing Cams used to buy dynamtine to extraxt the nitroglycerine, whcih he would combine with alcohol to make his own racing fuel? This is not the sort of book that you can flip through quickly, but if oyu're looking for a thorough history of the performance industry, i don't think you'll find a more comprehensive account. Skip it if you're looking for oversized shots of glossy paint jobs, but for hot rod histroy buffs, this impresses in both quality and quantity. -- -- --Kustom and Hot Rods, October, 2009
Now, if you're one of those who preffer ogling pretty pictures, then this book isen't for you. Where many of the books we review in CC are little more tan auto porn, this is a very different concept - words, lots of 'em. As a first book from the author, it is a tour de force - a fantastically researched and through study of the American speed parts industry, covering such luminaries as Ansen Automtoive, Eagle Cams, Hilborn Fuel Injection, Sharp Speed Equipment, Potvin Racing Cams and more. There are 22 chapters in total, each one dedicated to a different manufacturer. It dosen't cover wheels and shny trinkets, but concentrates on those who made parts to make your car go faster. The balck and white photographs are supplementary to the text, but there are plenty of period shots of the engines and race cars and of the often innocuuous-loking premises where the American aftermarket performance industry took shape, as well as some great ones form inside, showing people working on machine tools, surrounded by piles of freshly cast parts. If you want to know why it's now possible to pick up the phone and have a new set of cylinder heads or a luumpy cam for a 50-year old engine delivered to your door within days then it's all in this book. These guys were the pioneers that gave us the industry we know and love today, and it's fitting that they should be remembered in such a great way. A top read indeed. --Custom Car, January, 2010
This book takes an appreciative look back at the early hot rodders who designed and manufactured the parts that made hot rodding possible. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted with the founding fathers of hot rodding, Paul Smith tells the stories behind two dozen speed equipment manufacturers and the go-fast parts and machinery they designed and developed. Illustrated with more than 200 period photos, this book is a truly fitting celebration of the names that became synonymous with speed.
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