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Happy Birthday to a great publishing house

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Jan 10, 2016

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


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Happy Birthday to a great publishing house! … Motorbooks is celebrating 50 years in the business of publishing an incredible array of books on our very most favorite subject, transportation. Beginning in 1965 in a tiny Minneapolis, Minnesota garage, Motorbooks actually started out as importer of motoring-oriented books from England … selling them via mail order. It seems sort of quaint now, but, back then, sending away to Motorbooks was pretty much the only game in town if one wanted to learn the latest about European motorsports or read serious books about the history of the motorcar. In 1973 Classic Motorbooks, as the company was named then, began its real work, publishing books under its own name, and the rest is a whole world of great books (as we said) about our favorite subject. We’ve reviewed many Motorbooks offerings for LACar in the past few years, each of them weaving their own magic mix of words and illustrations about motoring (and mostly about racing in my case). My own bookcase has hundreds of books and I estimate that close to a third of them were published by Motorbooks. Of course today, there are many excellent motoring books publishers and the competition that Motorbooks fostered a half-century ago has only made the whole field better. In spite of (hell, maybe because of!) all of the electronic entertainment out there … books, particularly books with knowledgeable authors, with powerful stories and amazing photos (like the one Motorbooks publishes on a regular basis) are still very important, still wonderful objects that have a certain breadth and depth that just isn’t just there for me on a flat LCD screen no matter how many damn pixels they have. Besides, you can line your bookshelves with these hardcover works of art and, perhaps, pat yourself on the back for buying a Motorbooks classic like Preston Lerner’s classic “SCARAB Race Log of the All-American Specials 1957-1965” for $39.95 in 1991 when it was published; since a copy of that book (if you can find one) is now going for a few bucks north of $600. (And, sorry, mine is NOT for sale). But hey, I sure don’t suggest buying ANY books as a financial investment … leave that to those musty antiquarian book stores in North Hollywood. Please buy books because you love them and because they are tangible expressions of your passion. Our friends at Motorbooks have been building* great, keepable, books about our favorite subject for a long time and I, for one, appreciate it. On behalf of everyone at LA Car: Here’s to 50 years of great publishing and to 50 plus 50 more! -Doug Stokes, Editor *About that word “build”: I’m pretty sure that most of us understand that books like the ones that Motorbooks publishes do not come into their hands perfectly ready for the presses. Writers write, photographers photograph, and illustrators illustrate, and the talented team of editors and designer at Motorbooks take those elements and make literary and visual sense out of them for us … Exactly as screen writers, producers, directors, actors, cinematographers, and editors can take a script and make an engaging story out of a stack of paper. And so for 50 years now Motorbooks has set the standard for books about our favorite subject that entertain and explain with equal parts of knowledge and enthusiasm. For more information about Motorbooks and their array of motoring titles go to: In the Los Angeles area Burbank’s famous Autobooks-Aerobooks “brick and motor” store features a wide selection of Motorbooks titles. Got something to say about this article? Add your Facebook comments here.


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