Did you ever wonder what Rod & Custom writers read when we're not writing Rod & Custom? Not really? Well, we'll tell you anyway. We like reading the same stuff you do-books about hot rods and custom cars. When we find one we really like, we usually tell you about it in the "Roddin' Around" pages, but there have been so many really good books published this year that we've been getting backlogged. So, we've selected a handful of our favorite recent releases we think you would like, too.
To call Gene Winfield a founding father is a clich, but it's the truth. Since modifying his first car, a '29 coupe, at the age of 15, he's done it all. He competed in every form of hot rod racing, including "drags, dry lakes, and dirt tracks" (the title of Chapter 3). He owned the famous Winfield's Custom Shop. He worked for AMT models, and with the Ford Styling Department. He built vehicles for Hollywood. He was the first person to appear on a cover of R&C, and he helped us build our first project, the Dream Truck. He built the Jade Idol, Solar Scene, the King T, the Reactor, and many other famous custom cars. He set custom-painting standards that have not been surpassed. David Grant's new book (with a foreword by our first editor, Spence Murray) tells the whole story, illustrated with hundreds of archival photos.
The Legendary Custom Cars and Hot Rods of Gene Winfield
By David Grant
Hardcover * 176 pages * $40
Everybody's familiar with the '50s style of customs, but there's also a '50s style of custom photography. You know the look-bright sun, high-angle shots, chopped and channeled late-model cars dressed up with wide whites, Lancer caps, and crazy graphics. The owner in cuffed jeans and slicked-back hair, or a leggy young lady in a tight sweater standing nearby. That was the signature style of freelance photographer James Potter, who shot for Hot Rod, Car Craft, and R&C. Thom Taylor resurrected a lot of Potter's photography, much of it never republished, to create Kustomland. The book opens with the history of the era and ends with a chapter on Larry Watson's House of Style (the epicenter of the whole brief movement), plus a bio on Potter. The bulk of the book is devoted to car feature stories on the best examples of the L.A. kustom scene that James Potter made famous.
Kustomland: The Custom Car Photography of James Potter, 1955-1959
By Thom Taylor
Hardcover * 128 pages * $24.95
Have you ever noticed that many traditional hot rodders don't do a lot of talking?
Unlike your typical long-winded magazine writer, these silent types seem to prefer expressing themselves creatively through a piece of machinery. Automotive photographer April May's talent lies in hearing and understanding what they're trying to communicate and translating it through her amazing images. This, her first published collection of photographs, is a tribute to the beauty of today's traditional hot rods and custom cars. After a very short introduction on page 3, there's not another word of text in the book. The photos do all the talking.
May doesn't shoot in the typical automotive photo-book style. She shoots just enough to give you a taste-sometimes in color, sometimes in black and white, but always with the perfect detail and the perfect angle.
True Art Has Four Wheels: Vol. 1
By April May
Hardcover * 38 pages * $55
Softcover * 38 pages * $35