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

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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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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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: #1,802,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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This book highlights iconic, milestone automobiles from 1908 to 2003. If you love cars and love design, this book is a must-have bargain, and its compact size is a welcome relief from those coffee table behemoths. You might not agree with all of the selections, which is part of the fun, but who can argue with the timeless elegance of the Jaguar E-Type? Ok, then, how about the 1961 NSU Prinz? The photos are all current images from both restored and "survivor" cars. Check out the Lincoln Continental's pitted chrome hood ornament - kind of adds to the lustre.
The accompanying text provides very interesting and informative background information - even the committed car nut will undoubtedly learn something new. I love this book.
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Initially was a bit disappointed that all photos are black and white, but ultimately liked this. I have a similar book on animals that shows black and white photos on a white background. This is great because your focus can ONLY be on what separates this animal (or car) from others. An interesting assortment of cars, many not noted in most other compilations that I've seen.
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I originally saw this book in its full size format; the mini version is actually more comfortable - you can read it in bed without having worked out to hold it. The b&W photos are luscious and it was full of new information that made me feel like I was gaining deeper insight into the realm of cars. Like anyone Id quibble about a few of the choices but I look forward to continually dipping back into this book.
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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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