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SMMC BOOK REVIEWS

Art Of The Mustang 

Text by: Donald Far Photography by: Tom Loeser

Review by: Mitch Mitchell

First off, I really like this book. It is a large size, hard cover 240 page book that has some great photography showing off some fantastic Mustangs. The text is written by Donald Farr that most of you probably know from being the former editor of Mustang Monthly Magazine and who is now the editor of the MCA magazine Mustang Times. We have met him at several Mustang shows and he is a great Mustang guy.


The book features a wide selection of Mustangs from 64 ½ to the 2015 50th anniversary Mustang. Most all of the specialty mustangs built are featured too including vintage Shelby and Bosses but also includes later model Bullitt, Mach, Cobras, California Specials along with new Boss, Shelby and anniversary models.


I like that it isn’t just a coffee table book with amazing Mustang photography but it also tells the history of how the different models came to be and what the designers had in mind. Another thing I like is they tell the details on the individual cars pictured like if it is a restored car or an all original one and some of that particular cars history.


Get the book for the great pictures and as a reference for looking up 50 years of Mustangs, but you will also enjoy the reading because of Donald Farr’s writing style. 

The Essential Buyers Guide Ford Mustang fifth generation/S197 2005 to 2014

By: Matt Cook

Review by: Mitch Mitchell 

This is a smaller soft bound book that you could fit in a pocket and would be great to take with you when you go to check out a 2005-2014 Mustang you were interested in buying.


The book is basically designed as its title suggests as a buyer’s guide so it gives you pointers on what to check when looking at a used Mustang. It also gives details on what options were available and the best way to check over a Mustang including test driving before making a purchase.


The best part of the book to me was at the back of the book that gives some interesting stats on the different years. Total number of Mustangs built according to the book between 2005-2014=1,115,288 Mustangs! Lowest year for number of Mustangs made was 2009 with only 46,619. Highest is 2007 with 174,417. Another good thing was the listing of engine, transmission and rear end codes so you could decode the mustang you are looking at and determine if it has those great 3:73 gears that were an option.

How to Build A Car A high-speed adventure of mechanics, teamwork and friendship

Technical Tales By: Saskia Lacey Illustrated by: Martin Sodomka 

I received the above titled book to review for the club. Since it’s a children’s book I asked my cousins 2 boys to read & do the review. They both recently helped their dad take a 70’s Honda motorcycle & turn it into a modern café racer style (its impressive).Here are their review & thoughts on the book:
Ethan – age 11

How To Build A Car is about a mouse, frog and a bird who dream of building a car. I think people of all ages would like this book, but I think younger readers wouldn’t get the facts about engines and brakes and things like that. Older readers would get a better picture about what they’re doing in the story. It’s a fiction story that gives facts about cars while giving a fun story. How To Build A Car is sort of like a childrens book, but I think older readers would still enjoy it. The story is for younger readers but I think it gives facts that only older readers would understand.

Trent –age 10

The story is for younger kids ages 4-6
The pictures are more sophisticated ages 7-11
Both Karen & I read the book & agree with their comments. The story would work for a younger age while the illustrations (they are detailed & nicely labeled) might be understood by a little bit older child. However, I don’t think there are many things on the market to spur a child’s interest in the automotive world and it never hurts to start an early understanding. It would be a unique Christmas gift for a child from their Mustang loving person (no Mustangs in the book though).
To the girls taking Karen’s Mustang Training Course (started at the 50th) LOL – this would be a good book to give an overview of the workings of a car!!!

The Essential Source Book-Ford Small Block V8 Racing Engines 1962-1970

Author: Des Hammill

Review by: Mitch Mitchell

This is a great technical soft cover book on all the racing small block engines. Some I knew of others I had never heard of before. We all know about the solid lifter 271 horsepower Hipo 289s and Boss 302s but did you know they also built Indy racing engines? I was not aware that in 1963 Ford had a 255 cubic inch 8000RPM V8 aluminum head screamer. Also in 1965 was a DOHC V8 Indy engine.


The Shelby 289 and Trans Am Boss 302 engine section of the book was very interesting to me.

There is also a cool section that shows period hop up parts from the Ford catalog and a vintage Ford reprint on how to tune your Boss 302 for track use. Step one: unhook factory rev limiter.

So that’s where all those $ rev limiters went and why so many Boss 302s don’t have their original engines any more.

An interesting 112 page reference book that you can use to win a bet with the most diehard Ford motor head. The photos in the book all appear to be vintage Ford black and white from the time period.

Top Muscle-The rarest Cars from America’s Fastest Decade

Author: Darwin Holmstrom

Review By: Mitch Mitchell

ThWide-Open Muscle: The Rarest Muscle Car Convertibles by Randy Leffingwell and photography by Tom Loeser. Review by: Mitch Mitchellis is a large hardcover book with tons of great full color, detailed photos that covers part of a collection from The Brothers Collection. Unfortunately, they are not all Fords but you will find them all interesting and each car is described in detail. Some books like this only give you a general overview of the vehicle without telling you specifically about the car in the photos. This book gives the interesting details like how many were built, where the car was found and in some cases it says this was the last or first one built. Killer collection of cars with excellent photography by Randy Leffingwell.


Hemi Cudas, Yenko Camaros, 442s and even a one of 100 red, white and blue Javelin are in the book but the last part of the book is the best, it’s the Ford part! 427 Fairlane, Galaxy, Shelby KR, Boss 429 Mustang and more, even a 427 Cougar, have you ever seen one of those?224 pages with 217 color photos. Very interesting and easy to read short stories about each car.

You will even find the GM section interesting! Nice looking hard cover book your wife may let you keep out on the coffee table.

Wide-Open Muscle: The Rarest Muscle Car Convertibles

By Randy Leffingwell and photography by Tom Loeser.

Review by: Mitch Mitchell


Just in time for Father's Day shopping is a new book for the guy that loves convertible (Mustang preferred, of course); this just released book covers them all.

The large hard bound coffee table book is full of great photography of some of the rarest muscle car convertibles. That’s one of the things that makes this book different than other muscle car books; it has nothing but rare, high performance drop tops.  


This book has 3 parts divided into Chrysler, Ford & GM vehicles. The best part, of course, is the Ford section featuring eight beautiful high performance convertibles. Included with the excellent photos are technical specs and production numbers. Some have particular stories about the cars featured which is always an interesting feature. A must have book for a convertible fan.

Find your copies online at Motorbooks | Quarto Publishing or ask at your local bookstore if they have or can carry more automotive books.

New to the Mustang book library is Ford Mustang Red Book: 1964 ½ - 2015 by Peter Sessler.

Published: February 1, 2015 Retail Price: $24.99

This book covers 1964 ½-2015 Mustang specifications, factory options, production numbers and data codes including coverage of specialty & limited edition Mustangs. It has an easy to follow format for decoding and year by year facts making this the perfect book for any Mustang enthusiast. If going to an auction or shopping for a Mustang, this would be great to have with you & the 5X8 size makes it pretty handy for that. I recommend adding this book at your library & keeping on hand even if just to learn more about Mustangs (so you can win at SMMC Trivia games!).

I like that each year covers specific changes from the previous year. If you are not up on all the model changes it will help you to be able to tell a 1972 Mustang from a 1971 Mustang; Mustang II differences; Fox bodies, etc. I knew the early years pretty well but if you want to be an expert on particulars for the later years this book will help.


This is pretty much the most comprehensive book currently on the market covering all years, models & all information. I did see a couple typos like $100,000 grand added to the price of a Mustang Mach 1, some of us owning a Mach 1 wouldn’t argue with that. I did find a couple facts I wasn’t aware of as well.  


Thanks to Quarto US & Motorbooks for continuing to promote & offer great automotive books. Please remember to ask your local bookstores to carry more automotive titles. www.motorbooks.com