25 August 2010

Review: 'The Corvette in the Barn,' by Tom Cotter

Corvette In The Barn 

Since I love to run, my mileage often takes me through new neighborhoods where I'm constantly on the lookout for an abandoned Triumph TR4A in a side yard, perhaps, or maybe even a Cobra 289. Apparently I'm not alone in my quest. Like previous books from author Tom Cotter, "The Corvette in the Barn" is a captivating series of vignettes about people finding cool cars in forgotten places.

The book’s eight chapters are grouped by topic, such as "Hibernating Hot Rods" and "Hollywood Machines." Within these chapters lurk powerfully intriguing tales such as "The Cornfield Hemi ‘Cuda," "Striking Carrera Gold" and "A Healey in the Shadows" that fully redline the imagination. The vignettes range from two to 15 pages, with the longest, “The Corvette Sleuth,” chronicling the amazing finds of restorer Kevin Mackay.

A particularly gripping story, "The Junkyard Ferrari," is found in Chapter Six, "Veterans of the Tarmac Wars," about old racecars. Cotter documents the discovery of an old 1953 Ferrari V12 in a Northern California junkyard in 1979. Tattered and rusty, it belongs to eccentric junkyard impresario Lou Brero Jr. – but as history later reveals, it had won the Mille Miglia and been raced by the likes of Alberto Ascari, Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby.

Despite the occasional slipup, the copy is lively and upbeat, and plenty of dialogue makes the read even more personal. Two wrenches up for this one. $26.00 from motorbooks.com.

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