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INDY's Wildest Decade Hardcover – September 15, 2004

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INDY's Wildest Decade + Indy Cars of the 1960s (Ludvigsen Library Series)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 190 pages
  • Publisher: CarTech Books; 1st edition (September 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884089712
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884089718
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,293,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Profusely illustrated with more than 330 photos (over half of them in color), this book is sure to become a classic among Indy racing fans. --CarTech Books

Tired of spec cars? This great new books if for you. Extensive coverage of the Brickyard from 1961 thru 1971. It started innocently enough when Jack Brabham brought over a rear engined Cooper Climax, intensified with Colin Chapman's nimble little Lotus 2 yearsf later, then went completely bonkers with Andy Granatelli's turbine cars. Drivers turned manufacturers Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones and Bruce McLaren brought their new designs and a fellow named Penske came on the scene. Great photos! --The Motorsport Collector

Subtitled Innovation and Revolution at the Brickyard, this lavishly illustrated book tells the story of Indycars in the 1960s. At the start of the decade they were all front engined roadsters, then Jack Brabham turned up with that funny little Cooper and within 10 years, race goers were seeing turbo-charged winged monsters. Along the way there were plenty of interesting experiments with gas turbines, 4-wheel drive, and twin engines. Most of the more extreme machines are featured in some detail with plenty of photos. Although the majority of the book is dedicated to the '60s, the early chapters prove that nothing ever new and highlight the more innovative machines from earlier decades. A fascinating read and valuable library addition. --Four Small Wheels

About the Author

Alex Gabbard is a well established automotive historian with hundreds of magazine features and 17 published books to date, three of his books receiving "Book of the Year" recognition in International competition. In addition to lifetime interests in auto racing, the author is a mechanical engineer and career physicist at a National Laboratory.

More About the Author

Following my interests has become my writing, achieving both continued learning and story telling that has resulted in 19 published books, among them 3 receiving "Book of the Year" awards from international judging ("Vintage & Historic Racing Cars" that also received a Moto Award for photography, "Fast Fords" for automotive history, and "Gaspee" for Mainstream Literary Fiction awarded by Writer's Digest magazine), another of my books being a "Freedom Book of the Month" selection ("Blood of the Roses" that also reveived Henry Hazlett Foundation recognition, now a Kindle selection), and "Return to Thunder Road" that has become multi-printing favorite (all available from Amazon).

With a lifelong interest in expression by the written word, ranging among hundreds of published magazine and newspaper features covering current events to international travel, and books of illustrated non-fiction ("INDY's Wildest Decade" and "NASCAR's Wild Years" both available from Amazon), pure fiction ("Checkmate" and "Stories: Fact and Fiction" both Kindle selections) and historical fiction ("Gaspee" also an Amazon and Kindle selection), I have achieved my personal goal of continued learning while I currently have several more books in process to continue my life's quest. "Stories: Travel USA" is my 2nd volume in my "Stories" series and "Stories: Travel" (outside USA) is the 3rd book in the series. The 4th book in the "Stories" series is currently in compilation and planned to be another Kindle release.

Much has been written about my various works, ranging from science (now a retired physicist and past Top Secret nuclear weapons operative - "Adventures of an H-Bomb Mechanic, The Story of a Top Boomer" available from Amazon) to book reviews, all quickly found with a Google search. Currently a speaker on many topics and continuing to compose on topics of genealogy, Civil War, ancestry, travel, and works of both fiction and non-fiction, I forecast active years to come producing works for wide readership along with the potential of books to film, an exciting prospect.

My short bio reads: farm boy who grew up in the Southern story-telling tradition who went off to college (Mechanical Engineerig); then was drafted into the Viet Nam conflict at twenty to become a Top Secret Q-Crypto cleared nuclear weapons expert by twenty-one; returned to college afterwards (Physics); spent a career doing research in civilian applicatioins of energy at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; wrote lots of stuff along the way; and now enjoys retirement restoring his old cars and writing about interests.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Stephen Miller on December 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I recommend this great book if you are an Indy racing enthusiast. The more I get into it the more interesting it becomes. I have seen and read many books on the history of Indianapolis racing cars. While I first thought from the title and descriptions that it was about the 60's, on cracking it open it became apparant that it reviews many decades of innovation at Indy. What is also unique is that, although other books have covered these Indy eras, this one bring new pictures, annecdotes and some spin that brings new perspective to a subject that has been covered before in other titles. What is also apparant is that there probably exists even more material for even more indepth review of any of the eras presented; in particular not only the famous vehicle and engine designs that were successful, but also the more novel ones founded on apparantly sound principles(at least to their designers and supporters) that were never able to realise their supposed potential.
What it really brings to life however is a different time when "the cars were the stars", when innovation and trying different solutions was part of the competition. It was a much different time than the current era of limited technology in chassis and secret leased engine designs.
Lets hope that perhaps Indy might exercise some vision as it moves into its next engine formula to rekindle automotive creativity in racing that can be shared and appreciated by racing enthusiasts. How about Hybrid methanol/electric powered racing cars?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Randall Tripp on July 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent coverage of the waning yet most prolific years of creativity at the 500. The apparent passing of the indomitable Offy to Ford and the 4-banger's turbo reincarnation. The transition from and the last hurrah of the roadsters as they succumb to the rear engine revolution ushered in by the Cooper-Brabham & Lotus. Early NASCAR names and dragracers try their hand with innovation. Granatelli brings the roar of the Novi the futuristic whine of the underhandedly outlawed turbine and finally get his Indy win with a Ford to close in 1969. Well covered in photos and detailed text.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jose Lopez on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Thanks to a Inter-Library Loan I was able to check out the book first,It is a great read and Would compliment Dave Friedman's Indy Car Pictorial(Although Gabbard's Has more Photos/Coverage of Cars I am more interested in That Are not Ford Powered,Such as The ROLLERSKATE Chevy-powered cars,Thompson Buick,Thompson Chevy,Sadly There is no SDP ROADSTER CHEVY IN this one Either)Great photos,color and b&w,great reading of a bygone era especially for those who weren't around then. I only wish There was A Chevy At Indy/GM at Indy Book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wideangle on October 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent summary of the great period of racing at Indianapolis, when the transition from front engine roadsters to
rear engine creations took place. I still recall the 1961 "500" when Jack Brabham, with his rear engine Cooper competed against the roadsters and finished a very respectable seventh, although his car was significantly underpowered, but its advantage was superior handling characteristics. This event and many others from this era are detailed in this book which is very complete with excellent photography and text.
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