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Old Cars Book Reviews: October 2020

Old Cars' staff reviews new automotive books.

Billy F. Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead

Cars and guitars go together like fins and Cadillacs or rocker arms and cylinder heads, and you’ll find all of them inside “Billy F. Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead.” The hardcover book is lush with professional images of famous ZZ Top front man Billy F. Gibbons’ tools of his trade (guitars) and righteous rides, many of which were made famous on the band’s album covers and in its music videos.

Cars covered are Gibbons’ incredibly famous Pete and Jake-built 1933 Ford Eliminator coupe that appeared on the cover of ZZ Top’s “Eliminator” album plus the band’s music videos, toys, model kits…you name it. The book also features Cadzilla, that 1948 Cadillac fastback that Craig Naff and Boyd Coddington’s shop famously chopped and sectioned to the delight and dismay of gearheads everywhere. Gibbon’s rides in the book also include, but are not limited to, his famous Kopperhed, a 1950 Ford customized into a three-window coupe; 1961 Cadillac Coupe deVille; 1936 Ford three-window; lowered 1962 Chevy Impala SS; Larry Watson-esque 1958 Thunderbird; and 1932 Ford roadster; ‘80s Chevy El Camino; and ’51 Willys wagon.

For each of the featured cars, Gibbons shares insight into why he digs it and its build, offering nuggets of cool perspective into some of the hobby’s most famous custom and hot rod building personalities. Gibbons does the same for his custom guitars featured in the last third of the book, and many of these instruments have automotive themes and will appeal to the equally musical hot rodder.

The slick 224-page book was published by Motorbooks and was co-authored by Tom Vickers and David Perry; it retails for $50 and can be found at your local book seller or at


How to Restore Your Chevy Truck: 1967-1972

Almost anything with a bed is hot these days, and the always good looking 1967-1972 Chevy trucks remain among the hottest haulers around. For its legions of fans, CarTech Books offers “How to Restore Your Chevy Truck: 1967-1972.”

Author Kevin Whipps breaks the restoration and rebuild process down into chapters on body repair; paint; engine removal and installation; transmission selection and ID; drivetrain covering axle ID, ratios and differential rebuild; brakes; suspension; electrical system; and interior. There’s even a section on converting a long bed truck to a short bed.

The all-color paperback book has 500 color photos and charts across its 176 pages and is a great starting point to the Chevy truck builder. Order for $36.95 plus shipping and handling from , call 800-551-4754 or find it at your local book seller.


1001 Steve McQueen Facts: The Rides, Roles & Realities of the King of Cool

Everything you need to know about the “King of Cool” — specifically 1001 facts — is included in the new book “1001 Steve McQueen Facts” by Tyler Greenblatt. Over the 280 pages, Greenblatt enumerates tidbits of McQueen information in chapters broken down by era which are then further broken down by his car collection, his racing experience, his film career and his personal life during that time period. The softcover book includes 50 black-and-white images of McQueen and his cars and other loves.

Order for $29.95 plus shipping and handling from, call 800-551-4754 or find it at your local book seller.


Junkyard: Behind the Gates at California’s Secretive European-Car Salvage Yard

Salvage yard owners have a reputation for being as bent, rusty and crusty as their inventory. Some deserve that reputation for being eccentric and notoriously difficult to work with, some do not. The late Rudi Klein earned his place in the former group, and thank goodness.

Klein owned a wrecking yard in Los Angeles focused on recycling German automobiles, and from the early 1970s onward, he began saving the wrecks and relics of discarded Porsches, Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs and the like in his yard. He also obtained other exotic and interesting European cars, too: Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces, Aston Martins, Alfa Romeos and others, but Porsches and Mercedes were the majority of his inventory: Desirable Porsche 356s and 911s, and very desirable Mercedes 300 and 300SL models.

Across 174 pages, circa-2000 scenes of Rudi Klein’s collection are lavishly spread across the big, glossy pages. Klein’s story is told across just seven pages, so the remainder of the hardcover book’s pages are dedicated to the inventory collected by Klein. A dented Jensen here, a dirty Miura there, a nearly stripped Ferrari 330 GTC still tightly holding onto its prancing horse emblem, a crunched 35 atop a finned Mercedes sedan…all scenes that leave any true gearhead awestruck — if they had ever been given a chance to glimpse them.

Now that Klein is gone and the collection’s inventory has been reduced in the last 20 years, “Junkyard” is a rare opportunity to go where few but Klein, Rebmann and Lowisch had ventured. The cost of admission to this salvage yard lost to time is $40, and “visitors” can revisit the experience every time they open the pages to “Junkyard.” Order from publisher Motorbooks via or find the book at your local bookseller.  

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