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Cars: Freedom, Style, Sex, Power, Motion, Colour, Everything Hardcover – November 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Conran; Slp edition (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840915048
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840915044
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.2 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Have you ever heard of a Lincoln Zephyr? Turn to page 42 of this luxurious book, and see for yourself the 1935 model of that extraordinarily styled automobile. Style is what this oversized beauty of a book (which is itself the epitome of style) is all about. Accomplished automotive writer Bayley begins his breathtaking album of stunning black-and-white photographs with the bold statement: "Car design is one of the distinctive, even defining, art forms of the twenty-first century." Further, he argues, car design is "our age's singular contribution to cultural history." Each car [was] selected because it "changed the conventional wisdom, lifted the game, raised the bar" in terms of style... Check out, in particular, the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. Wow! American opulence at its most dramatic.

Brad Hooper, Booklist

About the Author

Stephen Bayley is one of the world's best known commentators on modern culture. In 1989 he was made a Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France's top artistic honor, by the French Minister of Culture. Since 1990 Stephen Bayley has been a design consultant working on imaginative communications projects for Ford, Jaguar, Fiat, Audi and BMW amongst others, and wrote the creative strategy for Mercedes-Benz' advertisements. He has written for Car magazine for the past 25 years. Stephen was awarded PPA Columnist of the Year for his car column in GQ (which ran for about eight years) and he wrote very popular regular car columns for The Daily Telegraph and Management Today. He is also well- known as an outspoken commentator on art and design and contributes regularly to The Times, The Daily Mail, The OBserver, The Los Angeles Times, High Life, as well as many trade and professional publications.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
58%
4 star
33%
3 star
8%
2 star
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See all 12 customer reviews
This is a great coffee table peice.
William M.
My dad just loves the details about the cars and the great pictures included.
Ima Shoppher
I would recommend this book for car lovers everywhere.
Robert B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Petterson on January 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book. It's well designed, the monochrome photographs are lovely; the text communicates a persuasive vision of the motor vehicle as an art form. But it is not what Mr Bayley claims it to be: "a book about the 80 or so greatest car designs ever".

This ambitious, not to say presumptuous, statement, is no doubt a deliberate provocation. Mr Bayley knows very well that there are millions of car nuts out here who all have our personal greatest cars lists and many of us could even put together a reasonably good justification for our choices.

What makes his 86 (to be precise) a more definitive list of great cars than mine? He doesn't precisely say. He makes a vague statement about them being ones that "changed conventional wisdom, lifted the game, raised the bar", but he doesn't say how. He's a style guru, so you might think he is talking mainly about design in an artistic sense (rather than engineering), but that is obviously not the case with many of his choices. As he says, the original Toyota Corolla was "plain of aspect and technologically unadventurous".

So it seems he also wishes to take into account standards of manufacture and quality control - where the Corolla did "lift the game" in its market segment.

OK, fair enough, but what are we to make of the NSU Prinz? A fine little car perhaps, even "a jewel"; but in the end just a Fiat 600 with Chevy Corvair styling, built to Volkswagen standards. Not enough, I would argue, to make the cut. And the Volkswagen management agreed when they took over NSU and ended its production!

The book is full of such lost causes and design cul de sacs, including the aforementioned Corvair. But the most egregious example is surely the Nash Metropolitan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ima Shoppher on April 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my dad for Christmas and it was a huge success! My parents have it displayed on their coffee table and look through it often! My dad just loves the details about the cars and the great pictures included. Excellent purchase for the price!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William M. on March 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my father for christmas, and for my grandfather for his birthday. They both really liked the book. I looked through it some and there are a lot of popular cars that shaped america over the years. The book lists the most memorable car of each year for the past 100 years or so, and somtime a couple of cars for some years. This is a great coffee table peice. This book will definitely stir up a conversation about cars.
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Format: Hardcover
I was given this little book for Christmas, it makes a nice coffee table book, the images are beautiful. It also has a brilliantly written 20 page or so introduction into the history of car design. The book doesn't talk about power, performance, luxury, speed, but instead focuses on capturing that elusive element of art in automobiles through automotive design. The author weaves some power words, excellent references, and great wit to capture that spirit. In some ways the author tries to capture not the essence of car culture or even art, but rather just the spirit of cars.

The introduction was worth the price of admission, it's an excellent essay in itself encompassing what cars mean to those who love cars and even those who don't. It also encompasses the importance of design: form and function integrated into a seamless design that fulfills the necessities and imaginations of people everywhere.

I would recommend this book for car lovers everywhere. Certainly some of the choices of cars that the author uses as his subject matter are personal. But since I view all cars as works of mechanical elegance blended with artistic beauty, even the simplest and plainest of automobiles is worthy of study in my opinion.

A must have for the coffee tables of passionate car enthusiasts everywhere.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Nes on January 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I gave this book as a present (to a car-lover), and he reported to me that he was stunned by the beautful pictures, and that he thought that they had featured very interesting models.
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Format: Hardcover
Bayley is a superb writer with a broad cultural outlook and a knack for the mellifluous turn of phrase, but there are many de facto innacuracies in his text. Some of them I would ascribe to hasty proofreading, but others strike me as arising from a certain glibness on his part. One gets the impression that Bayley feels so confident in his knowledge of the subject matter that he doesn't bother to check his facts. I do like the style of his prose and the gorgeous B&W pictures in this book, but after having caught several errors in it I am unable to accept much of its information at face value.
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More About the Author

Tom Wolfe said of Mr. Bayley, "I don't know of anybody with more interesting observations about style, taste and contemporary design."

Stephen Bayley is one of the world's best known and outspoken commentators on modern culture, art and design. He contributes regularly to The Daily Mail, The Times, The Observer, The Spectator, The Los Angeles Times, High Life, New Statesman, The Independent, and GQ. Cars are on of his many passions, and he has written extensively on automobiles and automobile design for 25 years for both car companies and numerous publications including Car Magazine. He was awarded PPA Columnist of the Year for his car column in (British) GQ.

As a design consultant his clients include: Ford, Absolut Vodka, Volkswagen, Audi, Foster Associates, BMW, the V&A Museum, among others. Former Chief Executive of the Design Museum, the world's leading museum devoted to contemporary design, he appears frequently on radio and television, and lectures at museums and universities all over the world. His numerous books include Design: Intelligence Made Visible with co-author Terence Conran, published by Conran Octopus.

Mr. Bayley has been a judge at many national and international design competitions, including Campaign Press Awards, RIBA Architectural Awards, The Building Awards, Louis Vuitton Concours d'Elegance at Hurlingham, Cartier Style et Luxe at Goodwood, and the BBC Good Food Awards.

In 1989 he was made a Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et Des Lettres, France's top artistic honour, by the French Minister of Culture.

He lives in London.