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How to Make Your Car Handle Paperback – January 1, 1987


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How to Make Your Car Handle + Chassis Engineering: Chassis Design, Building & Tuning for High Performance Handling
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: HP Books; Paperback edition (January 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0912656468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0912656465
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.4 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book covers all the basics in detail.
Heather Walton
I suspect that anyone that works on an older vintage race car has a copy of this book.
Elderly Person
A very handy reference that comes off my shelf quite often.
Stephen F. Fixx

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Stephen F. Fixx on April 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
I believe this book would be worth the price if it was just a pamphlet on how to do your own alignment. And on this point it does an excellent job of explaining the process to a shadetree mechanic. It explains in detail, step by step, how to measure and set up a four wheel alignment, as well as how to check your chassis for square. You will be able to set camber and toe at all four wheels using simple tools. I bought a camber guage from Racer Wholesale to confirm the settings but you will only need masons string or fishing line, a jack, a carpenters tape measurer and the patience to follow directions and measure with extreme exactness. The rest of the book is excellent reading too, especially for 70's hot rodding and sports car modifications. A very handy reference that comes off my shelf quite often.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Allen Cramer on December 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book covers almost all the basics of suspension tuning, from chosing spring rates to sway bars to lowering to alignment settings. If you want a car that handles well, this should be the first part you buy.
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123 of 151 people found the following review helpful By Mike Blaszczak on June 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book based mostly on its review score average. I'm very disappointed in my purchase.
The book has two major flaws.
First, it's horribly outdated. The copyright date is 1981, and the I have the 32nd printing; but it seems like the book was never revised since its publication. I began amusing myself by guessing which companies and suppliers mentioned in the book were no longer in business, and finding which products were no longer manufactured.
The book mentions some specific measurements and values, but discusses no car newer than 1979 or 1980. Some tables (such as the list of wheel bolt patterns) don't mention a car newer than 1975! While the hard statistics and tables which discuss specific models might be interesting to someone doing restorations or who is a vintage racer, they're of no use to anyone who's racing modern cars. Even if an older model of your car is listed, it's probably been redesigned enough to make dimensions (if not the advice itself) obsolete.
There are some innovations that the book doesn't even mention. For example, the section on tires doesn't discuss metric tire sizes (where the section width and aspect ratio are explicitly given, like 255-50R15) and instead includes tables that show the depricated tire size codes (where the section width is designated by a letter, as B50-15).
The book includes between zero and little advice on modern suspension tuning techniques. There's no mention of corner-balancing and cross-weighting in the book. The section on pyrometer use for diagnosing a car's handling is less than half a page long and includes a couple of flaws.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Heather Walton on June 5, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was recommended this book from a friend at the i-club. I love to drive and am looking to modify my car for better handling. This book is an excellent source for that! A major part of the fun in driving is a good handling car. This book covers all the basics in detail. It is easy to read, yet, has a Physics/Engineer depth to it as well. It is not just a matter of buying better suspension parts and installing them, this book goes into depth about understanding the nature of a good handling car and exactly what that entails from good tires, alignment, lowering the ride height, springs, anti-roll bars, shocks, brakes, etc. It emphasizes balance and that there is no magical part for better handling, but all the parts must work together in harmony and how making one change effects others parts in the car. Once you gain an understanding for the reasons of poor and good handling, you will then be able to truly understand what will work and what will not to achieve your goals. Changing one part of the design often has far reaching effects and it is rare that one part will do you any good. Just as I thought adding a stiffer anti-roll bar to the rear of my car alone would work! Tires are the source of contact and are vital to good handling, so an entire chapter is dedicated to tires and exactly what they do. This information is relevant to the everyday driver with no mechanical knowledge (like me) who simply wants to increase the fun factor in the driving experience, and also to rear gear heads with chapters on chassis modifications and designing your own parts as well! An excellent source for anyone who values good handling characteristics in their car as I do.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
The book begins by explaining why your car handles the way that it does in the first couple of chapters. The author gets into a lot of physics formulas building up on everything as it goes. It feels a little dry after a while, but the explanations make a lot of sense.
Then he gets into explaining how to tweak your car and modify the chassis. It's best to read the "whys" in chapter two before attempting to read the "hows" in the later chapters. Otherwise, you won't have a good understanding of why he's recommending changes or if you *should* make the change.
The book is a little old, but is still applicable to any modern car.
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