Key Takeaways

  • Go Like Hell: Ford & Ferrari is the best available book for gearheads to learn about a true story, get informed, and remain entertained.
  • The three most common types of books for gearheads include archive books, instructional books, and non-fiction books telling true stories about big names in the industry.
  • Gearheads should read books to learn new things without breaking the bank and as a way to test their curiosity to see what types of things they like most about cars.

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Any avid car-loving gearhead can only gain more knowledge by reading the best books. This is an easy way to level up and become an industry expert quicker.

There are plenty of fantastic car books, but these are the four best books for gearheads.

  • Go Like Hell: Ford & Ferrari
  • The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit
  • Car Science: An Under-the-Hood, Behind-the-Dash Look at How Cars Work
  • Built for Speed: The World's Fastest Road Cars

Books are the best way to learn about something. They can be read in a relatively short period, and they can be used for reference for a long time. Choosing the best gearhead books is hard, but we list some of the best options below.

Table of Contents

9 Best Books For Gearheads

For any new gearheads, books are the best way to get started. Whether it is to learn about the history of a supercar, find a tutorial about changing an engine, or simply a historical story about the Grand Prix, there is something for everybody.

The books in this list are handpicked for the gearheads who want to learn more about the fascinating world of cars.

It’s not just a book for gearheads, though - even if the reader doesn't want to build a sports car, these books are worth reading just for the sheer amount of knowledge they contain.

Below we list the nine best books for gearheads.

1. Go Like Hell: Ford & Ferrari

Go Like Hell tells one of the most famous stories ever about Henry Ford II rescuing the Ford Motor Company.

He took over the automobile powerhouse with little experience, causing internal controversy. And Ford saw competitors like Ferrari continue to surpass them in the sports car market.

This book is the true story of how Henry Ford II, Lee Iacocca, and Carroll Shelby teamed together to reinvent the Ford brand. This book teaches about innovation, courage, and the importance of taking risks in a cutthroat industry.

It’s an easy read of only 336 pages and details the dangers of racing at Le Mans.

This book was published in 2010 by A.J Baime and is now available on Amazon on Kindle, audiobook, and paperback.

2. The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit

The Limit is a detailed book about a down-and-out mechanic’s journey to compete and win the Grand Prix. He became the first-ever American-born driver to do so, and this book does a great job telling the story.

The book was written by Michael Cannell and published in 2012. It’s an inspiring story for any young gearhead interested in the world of high-performance cars and racing.

Phil Hill adventures through Europe and crosses paths with some of the most notable names in the industry, like Enzo Ferrari. It’s also one hundred percent based on a true story through the eyes of Phil.

It’s also a relatively easy read at 336 pages; copies are available on Amazon for Kindle and Audible. There are paperback and hardcover versions for those who prefer a physical copy.

3. Car Science: An Under-the-Hood, Behind-the-Dash Look at How Cars Work

For the younger gearheads with no real experience working under the hood of a car, Car Science: An Under-the-Hood, Behind-the-Dash Look at How Cars Work is the perfect book.

Richard Hammond has created this book as a children’s science resource to show how cars are made and work simply. The objective is to help the younger generation learn with lots of visuals and simplified explanations.

This book is available on Amazon in both hardcover and paperback models. It’s also an easy read for kids aged 7-12 at just 96 pages.

4. Built for Speed: The World's Fastest Road Cars

Built for Speed contains details, info, and reviews on 35 of the fastest cars in the world. The author is a car enthusiast who also happens to be a writer with over 20 years of experience reviewing cars.

This book is not just about some of the fastest cars in the world but also about how they got to be that way. The author provides an overview of relevant topics such as aerodynamics, engine technology, and materials engineering before discussing specific models.

The other great thing about this book is the photos included inside the book. They are high-quality and full-color to put the beauty of each car on display.

This book is only available in Hardcover on Amazon, with prices starting at $11.69 for a brand new copy.

5. 100 Cars That Changed the World

The 100 Cars That Changed the World is the perfect archive book that analyzes the most influential cars from the end of the nineteenth century to 2020.

The book includes vehicles that have impacted the world and have been a part of history. The author takes a close look at 100 cars to document their history, their design, and how they changed society in their own way.

This is a must-read for any car enthusiast or anyone who wants to learn more about how cars have changed our lives in recent history. It’s also an easy read at 144 pages with lots of high-quality information and photography.

We recommend this book for younger gearheads just getting into cars who want to build their historical classic car knowledge.

The hardcover version of this book is extremely affordable on Amazon for only $9.99 per copy, brand new.

6. The Supercar Book For Boys

The Supercar Book for Boys: The Complete Guide to the Machines That Make Our Jaws Drop is exactly what it sounds like. Inside this book are the most advanced and sought-after supercars.

The book is written by Martin Roach, one of the biggest names in this industry with multiple best-sellers. There is tons of info about supercars, but he also has excerpts from people like David Coulthard.

Expect to see tons of amazing pictures, too, as there are over 200 full-color photographs with accurate statistics to back up each claim. The best place to find this book is on Amazon as a hardcover or paperback version.

We recommend this book for anybody new to supercars. It has a ton to offer and is a great way to become more familiar with these cars.

7. The Science of Supercars: The Technology that Powers the Greatest Cars in the World

To learn more about how cars work and what powers some of the fastest supercars,  The Science of Supercars is the perfect book to read.

The book begins with a detailed introduction from David Coulthard, outlining what to expect and why the information in this book is so valuable.

This book is for those interested in cars, engineering, and technology. It is a comprehensive overview of the most important aspects of the car industry.

This book talks about the science behind cars and how they work, from the materials used to their engineering and design. It also provides an insight into how cars are made and the different types of engine technologies available today.

It is also one of those books that explains what goes on behind the scenes of car manufacturing and all that technology that powers some of the greatest cars in the world. This book is available on Amazon for Kindle or as a hardcover version.

8. Fast Forward: Concept Cars & Prototypes of the Past

Fast Forward: Concept Cars & Prototypes of the Past is a lesser-known book about some of the most interesting classic car designs between 1951 and 2018.

This book is a collection of concept cars and prototypes from the past. The design of these cars is often futuristic, and some are even more advanced than today’s models. It’s a short book, but there is plenty to learn about where these vehicle inspirations come from.

This is a relatively new book published in 2018, and it’s currently available on Amazon in hardcover versions only for $12.00. We recommend this book to anybody new to classic cars with no knowledge about concept car designs.

9. How to Build a Car: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Formula 1 Designer

Reading How to Build a Car: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Formula 1 Designer requires time, as it’s the longest book on this list. However, it also provides the most in-depth knowledge about building a car from scratch.

Even for those with no desire to build a car, there is still plenty to learn about the parts involved in car-building. This helps understand vehicle engineering and the way race cars work.

The book also contains tons of detailed pictures and sketches to make learning easier. It’s available today in multiple formats on Amazon.

Types Of Car Books For Gearheads

Books about cars can be classified into different categories. For example, some books are for gearheads, and there are books for those who want to learn more about the history of cars.

Some people like to read books that teach them how to fix their own cars, while others just want to learn more about cars in general or specific models. We categorize cars for gearheads in three primary categories.

Archive Books

Archive books are best used as a way to track history, look up old cars, and much more. They aren't the typical book most would expect, but they are extremely useful and the most popular book type to keep as a collectible.

For example, 100 Cars That Changed the World doesn’t tell a story and has no tutorial or instructional foundation. Instead, it just keeps an archive of the 100 most influential cars in history.

This is the perfect example of an archive book. Depending on a gearhead's objective and reading preferences, a few archive books on the shelves don't hurt.

Instructional Books

Next, instructional books are excellent tools for any vehicle repairs or restorations. But due to the increased value on websites like YouTube and Google, these books have become less popular.

However, many readers and gearheads prefer a book to learn about a new technique. This is when instructional books come in handy, and there are many things to learn from this type of book for gearheads.

Non-Fiction Books

Non-fiction books based on some of the true stories of amazing races, cars, and drivers are the perfect way to jump into life as a gearhead. Many of the books listed in this guide fit into this category.

Not only are they factual and true, but they entertainingly tell a story, so it serves as a way to escape a bit while still becoming more educated about the industry.

For example, Go Like Hell: Ford & Ferrari is a non-fiction book, so there is plenty to learn. But it’s also one of the most entertaining stories too.

Why Gearheads Should Read Car Books

First and foremost, reading about cars can be fun. They can also teach readers about both their own driving skills and those of other drivers on the road.

Car books also give in-depth insight into how other people feel about cars and how they think about driving them.

But perhaps one of the most important reasons why car enthusiasts should still read car books is that it gives them a sense of community with others who share their passion for cars and inspires new projects or designs they may come up with in their spare time.

Whether reading about the history of a set of vehicle types or an instructional book about engine repairs, there is always something to learn to feed the curiosity of a gearhead.

Best Books For Gearheads

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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