November 30, 2010
Weekend Projects for your Mustang, 2005-Today (top); Weekend Projects for your Classic Corvette, 1953-1982. Click image to enlarge
By Russell Purcell
Minneapolis based publisher Motorbooks has established itself as the pre-eminent source for automotive related literature dedicated to the automotive hobby. The company has quietly been delving deeper into the how-to segment of the genre and to further this move, has established a series of books dedicated to those readers who like to tinker with their vehicles as much as they enjoy reading a good book. Books from the Motorbooks Workshop series generally focus on a single marque or model and offer consumers maintenance tips, project ideas (and instructions), technical details and specifications, and usually a wealth of charts, tables and photos to help navigate through the material. These soft cover books are broken into concise, easy-to-read chapters that have been organized with coloured page blocks to help you find your place with ease should the book slip out of your greasy hands.
Weekend Projects for Your Mustang, 2005-Today
The Ford Mustang is the most popular collector car on the planet. This should come as no surprise when you consider that the model has been in production for the better part of five decades. Author Dan Sanchez is an expert when it comes to the venerable pony car, and in his latest effort, Weekend Projects for Your Mustang 2005-Today, he focuses on 52 performance projects that in his opinion, the average enthusiast should be able to accomplish in their own garage (with the benefit of this well-written book of course).
All the projects include a quick introduction explaining what performance gains you can expect should you perform the work, and most include step-by-step instructions, a barrage of photographs, and a list of tools, parts and suppliers. Sanchez has thoughtfully included an estimate of costs, for both time and money, as well as an indication of what skill level is required to complete each job.
There are six sections – Engine; Suspension; Brakes, Wheels and Tires; Drivetrain; Body and Exterior; Interior – and each one is broken into separate chapters, one for each project. A friend of mine is currently modifying his Mustang, and when I showed him this book he was ecstatic, as it covered the entire car from bumper-to-bumper and all the information was current. He especially liked the abundance of photographs which are numbered in step-by-step series and have been shot so as to show intricate details. Drew Phillips, the book’s photographer, is a Mustang enthusiast, and his knowledge and interest in the model comes through in the images.
Weekend Projects for Your Classic Corvette 1953-1982
Few cars will ever reach the iconic status held by Chevrolet’s Corvette. While the Corvette is still in production today, it is the first three generations of the fibreglass sports car that are considered to be classics. Author Tom Benford has written several books dedicated to Corvettes, but his latest, Weekend Projects for Your Classic Corvette 1953-1982, will prove popular as it offers Corvette enthusiasts a year’s worth of projects designed to keep your car healthy, running strong, and looking good.
Much like the aforementioned Mustang book, this book kicks off each project chapter with a summary of expectations, tools, and costs (time, money and effort) to get the job done. There are fewer sections, but only because some categories have been combined – Engine; Interior; Exterior; Brakes, Tires, Wheels and Suspension – and the subject vehicles are much less complicated. The focus of most of the projects is restoration rather than customization, as the Corvettes in question (C1, C2 and C3) tend to be collector cars cherished by their lucky owners.
Benford’s writing style is easy to follow and engaging, and his extensive use of photography makes each task look much less daunting. I must say I am impressed with how thorough the book is, especially when you consider that the subject matter comprises a 30 year time span.
An infatuation with an automobile can be a costly thing, especially if you need to take your pride-and-joy to a professional for service. The mere idea of working on your own vehicle can be quite unsettling, but after flipping through these books it is apparent that many of these projects are quick, easy, and very inexpensive. Plus, there is the great feeling of satisfaction that comes with getting a job done. Motorbooks offers a wide selection of titles in this series and unless you drive something very obscure, they probably have a how-to book that will allow you to further bond with your four-wheeled mistress.