Check it out: ‘Ultimate Guide to Muscle Cars’ a gearhead’s best friend

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Review

“The Ultimate Guide to Muscle Cars”

By Jim Glastonbury; Chartwell Books, 441 pages

"Get your motor running, head out on the highway …” If these words don’t automatically make you hear “Born to be Wild” in your head, don’t worry. You don’t have to be a fan of or even familiar with Steppenwolf, a rock band popular in the 1960s, to appreciate this week’s book.

I have to admit that before I got married, I had no idea what a “muscle car” was. An automobile was simply a mode of transportation. The thing that mattered to me most was that whatever I was driving didn’t break down every few miles.

Then I met this wonderful guy who owned a 1966 Chevelle. The next thing I knew I started to share his passion for classic American cars. Don’t ask me anything mechanical because I still can’t tell an alternator from a distributor, but I do get a thrill out of hearing the “lumpity-lump” of a muscle car motor idling next to me at a red light.

For a thorough overview of the all-American tradition of muscle cars, take a look at Jim Glastonbury’s 400-plus page guide. According to the author, the concept of a muscle car was a simple one: take an average American sedan, add the biggest V8 you can possibly fit under the hood, and watch the beast growl down the road. You’ll read interesting facts about the Pontiac GTO, considered to be the first true muscle car, the Ford Mustang introduced in 1964, the Camaro, Chevrolet’s answer to the Mustang, and much much more.

Until you can get your hands on this book, you might want to cruise on over to the Portland Expo Center today to catch the last day of the West Coast’s largest auto parts swap meet. Whether you’re a shade-tree mechanic, or just an admirer of all things automotive, this event is a gearhead’s dream come true. Would I steer you wrong?

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at readingforfun@fvrl.org. She blogs at youbetterreadnow.blogspot.com.