May/June 2019 edition
Issue #5 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
“Collectible” and “valuable“ needn’t be prerequisites for adding an item to your collection. In the case of books, the aspect of “value” can be as important as the quality of the material or its rarity. In this issue, I would like to bring two books to your attention whose monetary value is wildly different based primarily on their availability. Yet in my opinion, both have a common value, based solely on their content. Here is the story of these two stories, but first a little of my backstory….
David Halberstam was one of America’s greatest contemporary writers. It was said that “David Halberstam wrote books that fused narrative storytelling with investigative reporting.” The result: stories that hummed with energy and authority and reads as well as -- if not better than -- some novels. High praise indeed!
I had the honor and pleasure of meeting David Halberstam after he had written a book entitled The Reckoning. The book was about the crisis in the American car industry caused by Japanese manufacturers, introducing better quality automobiles to the American public who were eagerly welcoming change. He traced the actions of the Ford Motor Company, who were studying Japanese manufacturing concepts, in order to determine what they could adopt and introduce to a proud American workforce, and its customer base. It was well researched, and he was making a presentation to the American “aftermarket” industry about his observations.
After listening to his presentation, I realized that he had unquestionably been briefed on who his audience was, but he had absolutely no idea what we did, or how we did it.
The automobile in America is a romantic story full of exciting products, life and death motorsports events and larger than life characters in boardrooms, shop floors, and at race tracks from coast to coast. And the story has always been better told by people who lived it.
Stand On It was written by two automotive racing journalists, Bill Neely & Bob Ottum. It is loosely based on the life and adventures of one of American motorsports most outrageous and talented personalities, Curtis Turner. Their protagonist, Stroker Ace, emerges from the dangerous life of the hillbilly “moonshine” runners, risking life and jail to outrun the dreaded Federal “revenooers”. NASCAR decried that image for fifty years. Today they embrace it as “romantic.”
In Buddy Palumbo, author Burt Levy has created a real character, who though at times portrayed as a little too roughhewn, nonetheless has heart and character, and both serve him well as he negotiates situations which will be eerily familiar to many lower middle-class kids of the fifties and sixties. The cars, scenes, and adventures are exceptionally well painted and thoroughly researched. Unlike Stand On It, this one is still in print and not expensive. $30 new, available on TheLastOpenRoad.com website or you can find a used one for less, with a bit of a look around. Shortly to be available as an Audio Book, too.
To read more great columns like this one from Peter Bourassa...
The Incidental Collector