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Glory Days: When Horsepower and Passion Ruled Detroit Paperback – April 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0837602080 ISBN-10: 0837602084

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Glory Days: When Horsepower and Passion Ruled Detroit + Pontiac's Greatest Decade 1959-1969: The Wide Track Era (An Illustrated History)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Bentley Publishers (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0837602084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0837602080
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,009,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A genuine inside story well told is always welcome. Which is why I had a great time reading "Glory Days" by Jim Wangers.

Wangers was the man who gave us the Pontiac GTO, the Judge, and marketed horsepower unashamedly. He craved the action of the auto industry, yearned to sell cars, create mad desire in the consumer heart. And Wangers was also a bit of a scalawag who was not above switching engines - or whole cars, for that matter - to win a race and get a leg up on the competition.

Wangers offers insight into where Detroit went wrong with passionless interchangeable executives running the business. And perhaps intentionally, perhaps not, Wangers also gives us insight into what goes wrong when the marketing whizzes have it all their way.

He spent 45 years in the business and had a pretty good time, it would seem. You can relive it in a couple of hours and have a pretty good read. -- John R. White - Boston Globe, November 21, 1998

If you read stories in The [Shreveport] Times, USA Today, or many national publications about GM, periodically you're gong to run into Wangers' name and quotes. The reason is simple: He is one of the most respected automotive marketing professionals in the country. If you are looking for a good read or . . . interested in either marketing or the automotive industry, this just might be your gift. -- The Shreveport Times, 11-29-98

This book has received the prestigious MOTO award presented by the International Automotive Media conference for the Automotive Book of the Year (1998). Perhaps never was a copywriter more born to write about the topic he ended up with than Wangers . . . This book is filled with fascinating portraits of a variety of personalities [and] fascinating trivia . . . It is filled with the wisdom of someone who knows the game better than most. -- Northwest Motor Magazine, January 1999

To some of us, there was only one GTO built in the '60s. Others acknowledge that Pontiac built a car called by the same name. To that second group of enthusiasts, the name Jim Wangers is well known. His work as an advertising executive at Pontiac spanned the "glory days" of the '60s when horsepower numbers went up as quickly as the quarter-mile times came down. Glory Days is an interesting chronicle of Wanger's involvement with and passion for automobiles while employed at Kaiser-Frazer, Chevrolet, and Pontiac. Wangers takes us inside the boardroom, to the dragstrip, and to the marketplace in a way that few auto books ever have. It's almost required reading for any student of the domestic muscle car market in the '60s and interesting reading even for those of us who don't often put Pontiac and GTO in the same sentence. -- Sports Car Market - March 1999

Within the pages of Glory Days is an extraordinary account of an individual at the executive level who helped reshape the American automobile of the late '50s, '60s, and '70s as well as a look into GM's top management - its successes and failures . . . interesting reading for any automotive enthusiast." --High Performance Pontiac - February 1999


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Customer Reviews

Jim Wangers was part of the Pontiac culture during Pontiac's best years.
Angelo Mandato
All aspects of the auto industry are covered in an easy to read format and writing style.
Brian Little
The Book is a must read for anyone interested in the Automotive industry.
Jose Lopez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob Davis on January 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book takes you back and gives you a private look at the planning and development of the car that started the whole Muscle Car Craze. From figuring out how to get this car built around GM's policies on horsepower to weight ratio, to fighting off the compitition in 1969 with the introduction of "The Judge"! How they developed the Royal Pontiac cars, and how they had to fight every step of the way with the EPA, and other government agencies! Lots of photos, and history here!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book follows marketing guru Jim Wangers from his beginning with Kaiser and Packard, through the sixties with Pontiac, to his independent business ventures through the seventies to today. Wangers began working with Pontiac in the early sixties, when the "Wide Track Pontiac" marketing theme was turning the division into a raging success. Wangers was instrumental in shaping Pontiac's racing image, and even drove a Pontiac in the NHRA Championship. Wangers was also there when, in 1963, a group of Pontiac engineers led be John Delorean "invented" the signature car of the era, the GTO. A major section of the book is devoted to the integrated marketing program, built around the GTO, that propelled Pontiac's dominance of the musclecar days of the late sixties. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the car culture of the sixties (of course, Pontiac takes center stage). As an MBA student, I must say it's also an excellent marketing text on building and maintaining brand identity. Glory Days is a very easy read, with some great action photos and reproductions of classic advertisements.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert T. Dillon on October 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Jim Wangers' book about the birth of the Pontiac GTO and other famous Pontiac musclecars is loaded with insider information about the political infighting it takes to get a new concept to market. It was surprising to me that, even after the GTO and it's other Pontiac supercar brethren were proven runaway successes with baby boomers, bean-counting auto executives who looked at autos as just another product had to be sold and re-sold on the concept. Wangers was obviously perfect for this job, as a true "car guy" who not only understands how to move metal, but has obvious love and respect for the cars themselves, not only as cultural icons, but as metal sculptures that happen to move quite quickly. Few ran as quickly as Jim's beloved Pontiacs! While the most interesting parts of the book for me referred to his days working with Pontiacs, I was also interested in the jobs he held with various automakers and ad agencies. A fine effort by Wangers. Recommend for all "car guys" and especially us Ponchophiles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Mccarrier on September 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the best book ever written about marketing and promotion in the auto industry. It is also one of the best books ever written about the birth, life, and death of the muscle car era - from a guy who was in the thick of it all.

Instead of a assembling a self promoting ego trip, Wangers gives an excellent warts-and-all look into his career in the auto industry. He presents his failures along with his triumphs. His experience is so varied that he gives the reader insights into the entire U.S. auto industry for 40 years.

This is not the story of "How John Delorean and I invented the GTO," but of one person's involvement in a glorious era of U.S. automotive history.

The best part of the book is what is not there. Wangers does not discuss the juicy details of how and why John Delorean left GM or what he did afterwards. He certainly knows a lot about Delorean's failures but that is a distraction and not part of his story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Paley on March 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. Having worked for Chevrolet Engineering div. of GM in the mid-60s, I can say that Wangers' biography rang true to me all the way through. His depiction of the corporate suits at GM, their conformist, play-it-safe, don't rock the boat attitudes sure brought back memories. On a personal level, it brought back to me the reasons why I left that stifling work environment. Wonderful reading about the many successes he had when he was left free of obstructions and able to use his talents to do what he was paid to do, i.e. increase sales (particularly at Pontiac). Great read for anyone wanting to gain insight into the automotive industry of those mid 20th century years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert R. Longpre on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Glory Days is an insiders view of the years when Detroit ruled and muscle cars were born. This is the history of the Pontiac GTO. The car that gave birth to the "Muscle Car". If you love the car, you must read the book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By acefocal@aol.com on December 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
Mr Wanger's book is an interesting historical perspective on the development of the muscle car era at the Pontiac division. It seems to be a very complete history of the development of the GTO with details that can only be known by a industy insider.My only critisim is that that while he alludes to the real bad boy Super Duties in several places he never really spells out what they were "bad to the bone dual quad, 12to1 compression ratio 421's" These were truly Pontiac's finest hour. He also does not do justice to the great Malcom MacKeller whos genious was reponsible for the development of a whole series of camshafts used at Pontiac includ- ing the Super Duties. Wangers remembers lots of racing in the book and the cheating that often took place;he does not recount the night that after bragging that he had the fastest" GTO on Woodward " he ran a race against a 1962 white Catalina with a real 421 Super Duty not a consumer version with three two's. The outcome of that encounter very well could be be deeply reperessed as the Catalina led him by a football field at a 110 mph. This encounter happened in 1967 and it might be called Wolf in Sheep's Clothing or The Night Encouner with Super Duty #3 vin#16373. All in all I would recommend this book to anyone in Pontiac history but its not the last word on on the subject.
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