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Gentlemen, Start Your Engines Hardcover – 1955

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Editorial Reviews

From dust jacket notes: "This is a book, first, for those millions of automobile owners who realize that the purpose of the automobile is to get somewhere fast now, and faster next year; and it is a book for racing enthusiasts of all ages, from the hot-rod youths to just plain grown-up men. And this is the autobiography of Wilbur Shaw, one of America's most colorful sports figures before his death in 1954 in, ironically, an airplane crash. 'Gentlemen, Start Your Engines' is an amazing, exciting, and human revelation of a vivid personality adventuring in one of the most stirring occupations known to man. There is agony and joyous laughter in Wilbur Shaw's story, warmth of friendship and love of woman, high adventure and earthy comedy. Above all, there is the story of a man's demanding search for competition against any and all odds. It is one of the most unusual stories of our times. For thirty-five years Wilbur Shaw had sought speed and danger, and found both in automobile, airplane, and motorboat racing. Three times he won the 'Olympics' of auto racing, this country's most popular spectacle -- the Indianapolis 500-mile classic on Memorial Day. Only two drivers since 1911 have equaled that feat and Shaw is the only driver to have won it two years in a row without relief. Indeed, within a period of seven consecutive years he was first three times, second twice, and seventh once, an unparalleled record. At his death he was president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and just previously he had finished his autobiography, the story not only of his life but also of the auto racing fraternity, composed of men who are a breed apart, living in a violent world of their own and governed by a code that is a curious mixtures of the Ten Commandments and the rules of mayhem. However, Shaw was much more than a racing driver. He was a top executive who, in interesting Anton Hulman in financing the speedway, saved it and turned it into a valuable and glamorous property...."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Coward-McCann; 1st edition (1955)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007E0DR4
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,920,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Simning on December 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Wilbur Shaw's autobiography is an engaging first-person account of life and auto racing in the first half of the 20th century. It is loaded with information about the men and machines of the era without reading like a technical manual. We cheer with him at his many successes, and mourn with him at his losses, both personal and professional. Race fans, gearheads, history buffs, and people who just enjoy a good story will all find something here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Mclerran on December 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story of the ONE man responsible for the preservation and rebuilding of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after WWII. (Although Anton Hulman supplied the money, persuaded by Mr. Shaw) The "will" of a man to see the place where he and others had so much success in racing, not be turned into a "housing track", or an "industrial complex"! His early years in racing, when men were MORE important to winning than machines. A time when there were NO safety rules and little protection from death. This book is the story of the TRUE SPIRIT of racing, told by one of its best drivers that "lived" through those perilous times, form the "drivers seat"!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roger Luekens on January 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Written in 1955, Gentlemen, Start Your Engines, has been out of print for quite a while. While searching for this book, I found that most of the copies available are old library copies with a variety of markings. I was happy to find this book in good condition. I received it ahead of the projected delivery date, just in time for Christmas. I could not be happier.
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