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These 10 car books should be on every Christmas wish list

We’re so wrapped up in our fast-paced, digital worlds that at Christmas time, there’s nothing better than switching off and unwinding with a good, old-fashioned book. These are the 10 automotive tomes we’d love to find beneath the Christmas tree…

Ruf – The limited one 

This beautifully designed two-part book about the life and work of Alois Ruf will grace your coffee table for a long time. Part one highlights the personal side of the cult Porsche tuning company, documenting founder Alois Ruf’s story with countless nostalgic period photos. Part two is all about the cars, from the legendary Yellowbird to the carbon-bodied SCR 2018. If you’ve never understood the global faszination of this tiny German company, this book has all the answers. There’s an extra-limited-edition version, too, whose luxury slipcase is trimmed in Ruf’s houndstooth fabric and can be embroidered with your name. 

Type 7

One of the most popular social media accounts to emerge in 2019 has been Type 7, an Instagram-only magazine dedicated to the world of Porsche. Backed by the marque itself and edited by the ubiquitous photographer-slash-influencer Ted Gushue, Type 7 mixes personal Porsche stories with mid-century architecture to create a feed that never gets old. There’s now a slick 270-page hardback volume compiling all the best stories from Type 7’s first year. 

Beautiful Machines

After the great success of our concept car anthology Fast Forward, we once again teamed up with the Berlin-based publishing house Gestalten to celebrate the classic Grand Tourer. Beautiful Machines, which features a preface by Classic Driver and some of our finest photography, is a tribute to the golden age of car design. You’ll certainly not lack inspiration after poring through this beneath the Christmas tree. 

Bentley – A Century of Elegance and Speed

The Bentley Continentals from the 1990s are certainly among this year’s most discussed collector cars. And we’re proud to say this book played a big part in that. Launched on the occasion of the first Fuori Concorso at Lake Como, Bentley – A Century of Elegance and Speed was published by the Milanese fashion entrepreneur Guglielmo Miani to celebrate Bentley’s centenary. It features words by Marco Makaus, photos by Ted Gushue and a preface by Classic Driver’s Jan Baedeker. Grab one of the few copies left in the Classic Driver Market. 


 Tom Tjaarda is one of the most creative and influential automotive designers of the 20th century. But instead of writing a conventional biography, our friends Giosuè Boette Cohen has taken a different and highly entertaining route. In his new book L’Americano, the author, journalist and historian takes his readers on a journey from 1958 to 2017. The book reads more like a novel than a designer’s biography and we guarantee you won’t be able to put it down. 

Pass Portrait – Gotthard 

After the Stelvio and the Grossglockner Hochalpenstraße, photographer Stefan Bogner and Classic Driver’s Jan Baedeker have closed their Pass Portrait trilogy with a 348-page coffee table book on the famous Gotthard Pass in Switzerland. Illustrated with fascinating photos of the curvy alpine road, the book takes its readers on an exciting journey through the 800-year history of one of Europe’s most important travel routes. 

The Aston Martin V8: 1969–2000 

Here at Classic Driver we make no bones about our love for the V8-engined Aston Martins hand-built at Newport Pagnell between 1969 and 2000, from the V8 Vantages and Virages to the final Le Mans and Works Coachbuilt special edition V550s and V600s. Following its definitive works on the DB3S and DB4GT, Palawan Press has just published The Aston Martin V8: 1969–2000, an exhaustively researched two-volume tome that tells the comprehensive story of the V8 models and the chequered story of their charismatic maker during their 31-year production run. 

Niki Lauda: His Competition History 

The motorsport world was rocked earlier this year when the three-time Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda sadly passed away, aged 70. While the saga of Lauda’s heroic recovery from a fiery accident at the Nürburgring in 1976 is now well known thanks to a Hollywood adaptation, this new book examines the Austrian’s exemplary career, which wasn’t limited to Formula 1. Each of his 328 races from 1968 to 1985 is documented, illustrating his dogged determination and supreme talent. 

The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356 

While this is the third edition of Brian Long’s seminal work on the Porsche 356, it has been comprehensively overhauled to better explain why the Beetle-derived model was one of the most important sports cars of its era. The 256-page tome covers every 356 from the Gmünd cars to the last production models and really is a must for enthusiasts or collectors of the model. The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356 is available only as a leather-bound collector’s edition and appropriately limited to 356 individually numbered copies. 

Classic Car Yearbook 2018–2019 

Adolfo Orsi and Raffaele Gazzi’s annual overview of the year’s collector car auctions is an invaluable reference book t0 have on the shelf. The 24th edition of the Classic Car Yearbook provides analysis on 931m US dollars of turnover from the 2018–2019 season (Monterey to Monterey). Its findings are as detailed as they are interesting. For example, there was a 23-percent decrease in overall sales this year, though wider analysis of certain models shows strong long-term gains. To find out which cars are bucking the trend, you’ll have to pick up the latest book in the ‘bible’ of the collector car market.