Russell Hayes, like all automotive industry book authors, is passionate about his subject matter. Hayes’ interests cover several iconic carmakers, including his latest effort celebrating the 75th and 70th anniversaries of the Volkswagen Beetle and Bus.
For enthusiasts as interested in vehicles as the author, Hayes’ coffee-table sized volume is among three varied books ideal as the holiday season approaches.
Hayes, whose books range in topics from auto shows to Lotus to several offerings on Volkswagen, just released “Volkswagen Beetles and Buses: Smaller and Smarter.” (Quarto Publishing Group, $40).
As Hayes explains, no carmaker’s history is as unique as Volkswagen — its association with the Nazi movement to the Hippie generation.
Auto Books: VW to Jeep to Corvette
More than 23 million VW Beetles have been manufactured since 1945. The book examines and celebrates all aspects of the vehicles as cultural symbols for more than 70 years.
Hayes looks back while focusing on the classic air-cooled VWs that ran into the late 1970s. He discusses, with accompanying photography, the Beetle and Bus at work and play.
Plenty of cars and trucks have had starring roles in film, but none likely as varied as VW, with its presence in films like The Love Bug, Little Miss Sunshine, Footloose, Fight Club, The Big Lebowski, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
And there were roles in television shows like “Lost” and “Once Upon a Time” and on the covers of the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Bob Dylan’s “Freewheelin’” album.
Hayes covers all things VW and pop culture. He writes about the New Beetle and plans for the VW Buzz, a modern electric version of the iconic Microbus due in 2022.
Patrick Foster knows as much as anyone about automaker Jeep. With more than 30 years in the automotive industry, Foster is a prolific journalist, particularly when writing about the long history of the utilitarian, four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Foster’s latest book is Jeep: Eight Decades From Willys to Wrangler Motorbooks $32.99.)
Accompanied by more than 200 photographs, the 192-page paperback is described as “the definitive book on the greatest four-wheel-drive vehicle ever.”
Foster details his vast knowledge of Jeep, and he gives an insightful account of the stories behind its design and production. The automaker’s well-known World War II presence to current models are all covered.
Military-issued Jeeps, as well as the first post-war JC and now-classic SUVs, are all included in Foster’s impressive chronicling of the enduring machines.
The new volume updates Foster’s previous Jeep books. It includes five years of new model editions and prototypes, Jeep’s return to the pickup market, and recent marketplace successes.
The book’s color and black-and-white photographs are complemented by unique Jeep advertisement material from throughout its tenure.
Foster’s latest book, as well as his collection of previous works, are also available on his website www.oldemilfordpress.com. New buyers receive author’s signed copies.
The Complete Book of Corvette, a coffee table-sized volume detailing the first seven generations of “America’s Sports Car” (Quarto Publishing Group, $55), continues Mike Mueller’s prolific writing career.
Showcasing more than 60 years of Corvette history, the book was published in cooperation with General Motors. It’s illustrated with 500 color and black-and-white photos from GM’s exclusive Design and Media Archives.
Development, tech specs and visual prowess of the Corvette lineup are all covered in Mueller’s second book on the iconic sports car.
The book’s title is a slight misnomer. It was released before the recent debut of the Corvette’s eighth generation, the mid-engined C8. But that’s OK. A third book about the iconic sports car may be warranted since the new Stingray has disrupted the auto industry.
Article Last Updated: November 25, 2020.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.