I'm looking for some good history books that cover the history of the early American automobile(not just the model T), in as much depth as possible. Ideally, it would be a reference-type book (as opposed to light reading/pop history)that looks at automotive trends in the US up until the outbreak of WWII.
I'm awaiting your recommendations!
A good place to start is the basic index of all cars written by Henry Austin Clark / Beverly Rae Kimes. It is the Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942.
After that, try to collect as many volumes of Automobile Quarterly as you can find. They are magnificent, giving in depth examination to hundreds of marques, hundreds of gorgeous period photos intermixed with photos of restored examples.
Here's a pretty good start - again Henry Austin Clark is the person primarily responsible :
Thanks Royce, I think my Dad has a pretty large collection of AQ books. I need to get a hold of the index, though. It can be a little tricky trying to figure out what marque was covered in what issue. I'll also take a look at the "Standard Catalog of American Cars;" although I was looking for a book with some narrative, this seems like it would be a helpful companion.
attached in the link are great books from consumer guide, they published a history of nearly every model for each decade. 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s. It's a great set, used to be $10 at Borders a few years ago on the clearance rack, now it seems they want an arm and a leg for them. Maybe get them used on ebay. They are an interesting set and help you identify any model!
Thanks for another good recommendation Brian. It looks like they don't have a volume for the teens, twenties or the Edwardian period, but the volume on the 1930s might be worth checking out.
"Birth of a Giant" covers the history of the early US auto industry and the US car - the 'giant' is Detroit and the industry. A wonderful read and a great resource.
I can't seem to find the book. Do you know the author?
This is OT, but for a fascinating account of how the postwar US auto industry shot itself in the foot see The Reckoning by David Halberstam. Juxtaposing the stories of Ford and Nissan, the author tells how the Japanese companies rose to challenge Detroit. A great read.
I've got that book, I read it over the summer. A fantastic (and somewhat depressing) read. I'm glad that Ford's been able to bounce back as well as it has.