Do you want a complete and comprehensive guide to almost every single car release of the 21st century? If you answered yes, then the A to Z of 21st Century Cars by Tony Lewin is the book for you. Actually come to think of it, even if you answered no to that question this book could still be for you, as it provides even the smallest of petrol heads with a bewildering array of easy to access, show off to your mates at the pub, facts.
Let’s be clear though, this isn’t just another book about some cars from the new millennia written about in a forgettable manner. No, what it is in fact, is a comprehensive encyclopaedia of pretty much every manufacturer known to mankind with a page or more dedicated to 300 of their most important models. Each car featured, be it the Skoda Yeti or Lamborghini Gallardo is explored in amazing detail, with information ranging from how it progressed from concept to reality, to controversies and trivia surrounding its release. The book even makes note of the impact some cars made to the automotive industry as a whole upon their release.
As well as the brief synopsis given about a particular car there is also a handy box which lists all the important need to know facts about a specific engine and trim, for example everything from the 2010 Focus 1.6 TDCI to the Ferrari 458 is listed. The car’s specific dimensions, layout, engine, power, speed and C02 emissions are all printed in a clear easy to read box, usually next to a superb quality picture of the car in question, of which the book has 1500.
A to Z of 21st century cars does not just focus solely on the centuries automobiles, but also looks at some of the most influential car designers and design houses who first scribbled their forms on paper. Everybody and every house from the walking controversy that is Chris Bangle to the sublime beauty created by Pininfarina is meticulously explored. A dated timeline is provided detailing some of the designers and the companies most important designs accompanied of course by some of those aforementioned 1500 pictures.
By far and away the best part of the book for me was the relatively small section named “Who owns whom” found on pages 532 – 533. The section lists the majority of the planets car manufacturers and as the title suggests who owns them as of when the book went to press in May 2011. Speaking as a bonafide car anorak I cannot stress enough what a useful source of pub trivia this section is. For example have you ever wondered who owns the rights to some of Britain’s best loved defunct manufacturers like Triumph, Hillman and Sunbeam? This book tells you, and some answers might come as quite a surprise.
As the title suggests the A to Z of 21st Century Cars is arranged in an easy to navigate alphabetical and colour coded order. Making it really easy to lose hours immersed in all the facts you never thought you needed to know but would feel lost without, had you not read them. It makes perfect reading for any self-confessed car geek or motoring novice alike. However I’d imagine that by the time most novices reach the letter Z they’ll be experts too. This book is definitely a must buy as it makes even the dullest of cars seem interesting.