We are a group of automotive enthusiasts from around the globe who are passionate about researching and recording automotive history.  This website reflects our varied interests and has a “members only” component with digital records of past SAH publications as well as high definition photography of vehicles from around the world.  Nearly all significant automotive authors past and present have been or are members.

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Automotive Historians - Details of Books Written by Our Members

Karl Ludvigsen

Author Bio

In addition to his motor industry activities as an executive (with GM, Fiat and Ford) and head of a consulting company, Karl Ludvigsen has been active for over 50 years as an author and historian. As an author, co-author or editor he has some four dozen books to his credit. Needless to say, they are all about cars and the motor industry, Karl's life-long passion.

Since 1997 Ludvigsen has been drawing on the photographic resources of the Ludvigsen Library to write and illustrate books on the great racing drivers. His first title in this series was Stirling Moss – Racing with the Maestro. He followed this with Jackie Stewart – Triple-Crowned King of Speed and Juan Manuel Fangio – Motor Racing’s Grand Master. Fourth in this series for Haynes Publishing was Dan Gurney – The Ultimate Racer and fifth was Alberto Ascari – Ferrari's First Double Champion. Next came Bruce McLaren – Life and Legend of Excellence and Emerson Fittipaldi — Heart of a Racer.

Also in the field of motor sports Karl Ludvigsen has written about road racing in America, the cars of the Can-Am series, the AAR Eagle racing cars, the GT40 Fords and Prime Movers, the story of Britain's Ilmor Engineering. His introduction to At Speed, a book of Jesse Alexander's racing photography, won the Ken W. Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism.

Other motors-sports titles include Classic Grand Prix Cars, a history of the front-engined G.P. racer, and Classic Racing Engines, Karl's personal selection of 50 notable power units. Ludvigsen has written the story of BRM’s ill-fated Formula 1 V16 and the saga of the great 200 horsepower Benz racers, two of which were nicknamed “Blitzen Benz”.

Four of Karl Ludvigsen's books concern the Chevrolet Corvette, one of them an industry best-seller. He has written three times about Mercedes-Benz, twice about its racing cars. His books on the latter subject have won the Montagu Trophy (once) and the Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award (twice), both recognising outstanding automotive historical writing.

In 2001 Karl again received the Cugnot award from the Society of Automotive Historians for his book about the early years of the Volkswagen and its controversial factory, Battle for the Beetle, a Robert Bentley publication. In 2002 the Society gave him its highest accolade, Friend of Automotive History.

Karl Ludvigsen is also the author of the definitive histories of Porsche and Opel. His Porsche history, Excellence was Expected, is considered by many to be a model of the researching and writing of the history of an auto company. He has updated it in three volumes for Bentley Publishers for the new Millennium. A further update for 2008 is in preparation.

At the request of Ernst Piëch, a grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Ludvigsen has researched the early life and work of that great engineer. The result, a book titled Porsche — Genesis of Genius, is published by Bentley in 2008. It has won both the Montagu Trophy and the Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award. An accompanying book, titled Sublime Creations, describes cars in Mr. Piëch’s personal collection.

In 1997 Ludvigsen researched and wrote the catalogue for a special exhibition of Ferrari technological innovations on the occasion of the company’s 50th anniversary and contributed a major section to the company’s official 50-year history. For Ferrari’s 60th anniversary he was commissioned by them to research and write a major over-arching history of Ferrari’s technical innovations.

Ludvigsen’s understanding of the Ferrari world combined with his Library’s holding of the Rodolfo Mailander photo archive to produce Ferrari by Mailander in 2005, a Dalton Watson publication. Its launch was accompanied by major exhibitions in Turin and Pebble Beach of selected photos from the book.

The year 2008 sees the publication by Haynes of a history of the battles between Ferrari and Maserati from the 1940s to the 1960s, titled Red-Hot Rivals. Ludvigsen is also the author of a series of monographs on great Maserati cars.

In co-operation with publisher Iconografix, Ludvigsen has established the Ludvigsen Library Series of 128-page books drawing on the holdings of the Ludvigsen Library. The series now numbers 19 titles, including books on Indy racing cars of 1911 to 1939, the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the Indy Novis, Chevrolet’s Corvair and Corvette, Jaguar XK120, XK140 and XK150, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL of 1952 and 1954-1964, the 300SLR of 1955, two books on Porsche Spyders, the Porsche 917, the Ferrari factory and American sports-racers: the Cunninghams, Chaparrals and Can-Am racing cars. More titles are in preparation.

Karl’s Ludvigsen Library is also active in the provision of photographs and research material for authors, publishers of books and periodicals, and collectors and enthusiasts. It holds extensive original negatives and transparencies from the 1950s forward with special strengths in motor sports, American cars and sports cars. As well it holds original photos and glass negatives from the dawn of the automotive era.

On motor-industry topics Karl Ludvigsen has written books about high-performance engines, the Wankel rotary engine and the histories of American auto makers. His latest book on power units is The V12 Engine, published by Haynes in 2005. He was editor of The Future of the Automobile, the report of the 1981-1984 study of the world auto industry by M.I.T. This was named one of the best business books of the year by Business Week.

In 1996 publishers in Britain and the United States launched Karl Ludvigsen’s book on motor industry management, Creating the Customer-Driven Car Company. It draws on his industry experience and in-depth research to advise industry personnel on customer-pleasing best practice.

From 1989 to 1998 Karl Ludvigsen edited and contributed to numerous studies published by Euromotor Reports Limited, a leading researcher of special reports and studies about the European motor industry and market. Resident in England since 1980, Mr Ludvigsen is respected as a close and knowledgeable observer of, and participant in, the world motor industry.

            Leading periodicals also publish Karl Ludvigsen’s writings. He is a former technical editor of Sports Cars Illustrated (1956-57), editor of Car and Driver (1960-1962) and east coast editor of Motor Trend (1970s). His articles about cars, companies and motoring personalities are published in America by Automobile Quarterly, among others, while in Europe he writes frequently for The Automobile. He is a regular writer and columnist for Hemmings Sports & Exotic Cars, 911 & Porsche World and  Just-Auto.com.

            Karl Ludvigsen’s personal website is www.karlludvigsen.com.

Bentley:

Bentley’s Great Eight: The Astonishing 50-Year Saga of One of History’s Greatest V8 Engines

Brief Description:

Mighty Machines from Mannheim Shattered Speed Records and Inspired Heroic Legends

Details:

            Number of Pages:       207      Number of Images:     NA

            Price:               $59.00             ISBN:  978-1-85443-241-4                            

            Publisher:                                Dalton Watson

            Link to Website:

Reviews of Book:

Bentley’s Great Eight? Wait a minute; I thought that was a Rolls-Royce V8 engine! That title is not going to go down well with Rolls-Royce enthusiasts. Since the publisher of SpeedReaders, Sabu Advani, is the editor of the US Rolls-Royce/Bentley magazine and was a contributor to the book in question, we asked him to explain:

“For much of their lives, Bentley and Rolls-Royce were one and the same company. Obviously author Karl Ludvigsen is aware of that and the omission of the Rolls-Royce name from the title is not an oversight but due to a complicated trademark issue that is not yet fully settled. For all practical purposes, when VW Group acquired the company it became the SOLE owner of ALL physical and intellectual assets and retained them even as it later divested itself of the Rolls-Royce part of the business (to BMW). In legal terms, the history of the engine—an intellectual asset—is thus solely a Bentley property. And so it goes throughout the book; while Rolls-Royce is very much a part of the story, the emphasis throughout is on Bentley. But, it is safe to assume anyone with an interest in reading a technical history of the Crewe V8 engine will be cognizant of the complexities of the name game.” (Also see Comment section.)

So now you know. Another thing you must know about this book is that the scope is limited to engines, and one in particular. At one point, Ludvigsen apologizees for having to explain the chassis changes brought about by the new Turbo-equipped Bentley, as it is not within the scope of the book to include such unrelated topics as chassis or body design and construction. He only refers to those disciplines when absolutely necessary.

Given the resources the company provided the author, some may fear that this book could be a public relations effort, but this is not so. For one thing, Ludvigsen casts a wide net and goes beyond the RR/Bentley world on a wonderful and informative history lesson of the British V8. Little is left out here, and 1/3 of the book is delightfully devoted to the development of the English Eight. He takes us from the promising 1924 Guy, through the ubiquitous Ford flathead, the Riley V8, Autovia, the Raymond Mays, and other V8 contenders up to the Daimler V8 of the 1960s. Second, the book is a deeply technical tome, which is anathema to PR types, who know that talking valve timing and aluminum alloys ain’t gonna play in Poughkeepsie.

After the initial rejection of a very advanced V8 in 1905 (although slated for series production, only three were built before the firm’s marketing strategy switched to a one-model policy), Rolls-Royce did not consider the V8 again until fifty years later, when in the mid 1950s the tried and true RR six was running out of steam. Straight eights and long hoods were out. Although that sounds counter to design efforts which tended to equate long hoods with power and luxury, RR Chief Engineer of Cars, Harry Grylls was more concerned with the “jelly effect” brought about by too much distance between the driver and the front wheels. “We need an engine that can fit within the bonnet of the present car. Go away and think around a 50% increase in power and torque,” was the brief given to Engineer Jack Phillips—who considered it a “dream assignment”—and that is the story Ludvigsen tells.

Bentley’s Great Eight is an engine/engineering technical tour de force from beginning to end and a page-turner at the same time—no mean accomplishment. Ludvigsen stops short of bringing math, formulae, or even too many numbers into his writing. In the hands of a less capable writer, the book might easily have become a miserably tiresome compilation of facts and numbers and obtuse technical descriptions. But bringing technical information to life is something Ludvigsen has excelled at since his days at Sports Cars Illustrated where his technical articles on sports and racing cars went far above the norm even for that magazine’s often sophisticated readership.

The author gives us a unique inside look (here looms slightly the dreaded PR but totally necessary for the access) at the process of designing and engineering one of the great engines of the 20th century, whose progeny will extend well into the 21st. Privy to materials from the hallowed halls of Crewe, where the engine was conceived in 1955, using documents written by the engineers responsible for the development of the V8 and interviews with as many engineers as possible, the author brings to light the many critical issues faced by automotive engineers. The history of the Crewe V8 parallels the history of the postwar V8 in general, but with a qualitative difference; Rolls-Royce engines had to be the best, smoothest, and quietest in the world, and do so on a budget so small it would make GM roll over in laughter. Documents show how the Crewe engineers compared their work to other car companies, to what degree they were influenced by Detroit but how they were not allowed to learn the latest lightweight cast iron technology from US makers, which resulted in the decision to use an aluminum block rather than cast iron. “At the time, however, the new foundry techniques weren’t being disseminated by the Americans, who viewed them as a competitive advantage,” writes Ludvigsen. The Brits would learn much but not, it seems, the whole nine yards.

Nevertheless, it was and remains a remarkable powerplant, and today still uses aluminum for the block and heads. From the V8 revolution in the early 1950s to the emission challenges of the 1960s, the gas crisis of the 1970s, to the sudden replacement of carburetors with fuel injection to the era when turbocharging became the only way to increase horsepower without losing economy, the Crewe V8 grew from 183 hp at 4000 rpm on S.U.s to 505 hp, still at 4000 rpm with fuel injection and twin turbochargers. It has had only one increase in displacement, from the original 6322cc to 6752cc in 1971. This motor has been through it all, missing the bullet marked for its demise several times, and its aluminum bottom end has survived much more than just high stresses from the reciprocating masses.

For anyone who considers engineering a passive, not particularly exciting activity, this book will set one straight in a hurry. The decisions and the calculations engineers make can make or break a project and even a company. In fact, I would highly recommend it to any teenager thinking about becoming an engineer, for, as Ludvigsen shows, being an automotive engineer is a high-risk, fascinating, exciting, often dangerous, and ultimately fulfilling career. Perhaps more than anything else, one gains an appreciation of the unusual problems facing engineers. A good example might be the reluctant adoption of aluminum for the engine block based on the premise that the typical Rolls-Royce buyer would not like to wait the extra time for the water to warm the car heater (aluminum dissipates heat faster than iron). Did you ever think the warmth of wingtipped toes might be a showstopper when designing an engine block?

On the downside, if one is not given to enjoy lines like ”Eschewing the drillings to the small ends shown in the 1950 layout, the forged steel rods had a shank cross section, said Phillips, ‘where the fillet radius is large enough to satisfy even the most intransigent forge master,’” the book might be a tough go, at least in parts. Fortunately, the author always looks at the lighter side of life and keeps the prose going valiantly and interestingly even to those who may not have much technical expertise. In addition, the book is superbly illustrated in every important respect, with photos, diagrams, cutaways, charts and drawings that amplify and clarify the text. “How many automobile engines have been granted the honour of a book limning their story?” asks Ludvigsen in the Introduction. Far fewer than one might think, and the Crewe V8 deserves that honor. So, to reiterate, this is not a flashy PR effort destined for the coffee table or the bargain bin. Technical books tend to be set properly on a sturdy bookshelf and used for reference or pleasure and in this case, a good dose of both.

Copyright 2010, Pete Vack (speedreaders.info)

           

Benz:

The Incredible Blitzen Benz

Brief Description:

Mighty Machines from Mannheim Shattered Speed Records and Inspired Heroic Legends

Details:

            Number of Pages:       165      Number of Images:     200

            Price:               $99.00             ISBN:  978-1-8544-3223-0                            

            Publisher:                                Dalton Watson

            Link to Website:        

http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/the-incredible-blitzen-benz.html

BMW:

BMW Racing Cars

Brief Description:

Type 328 to Le Mans V12

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128

            Price:               $59.95             ISBN:  978-1-5838-8201-6                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

            Link to Website:        

http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/bmw-racing-cars.html

Chaparral:

Chaparral: Can-Am Racing Cars from Texas

Brief Description:

Few sports-racing cars have captured the imagination as did the Chaparrals, menacing white machines out of the Texas oil country that cut a swathe through American sports-car racing in the 1960s and even won at the Nürburgring and Brands Hatch. Created by Jim Hall and Hap Sharp, with the help of GM and Chevrolet, the Chaparrals pioneered such innovations in racing as the wing for aerodynamic downforce and the automatic transmission.

Great photos from the Ludvigsen Library by Karl Ludvigsen, Stanley Rosenthall and Max Le Grand show the exotic Chaparrals at rest and in action, including the first front-engined cars, the 2, 2C, 2E and 2G sports-racers, the 2D and 2F endurance-racing cars, and the wildest of all, the 2H and the 2J, the first car to use a fan to generate suction downforce. The book is a rare treat for fans of the exciting and popular Can-Am racing series.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128

            Price:               $24.95             ISBN:  978-1-5838-8066-1                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

            Link to Website:        

http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/engineering-and-motorsports/chaparral.html

Chevrolet:

Corvette: America’s Star-Spangled Sports Car

Brief Description:

The Corvette community has long been asking for an update of Karl Ludvigsen's Corvette - America's Star-Spangled Sports Car, published in 1973 and last refreshed in 1978. Ludvigsen has taken that task to heart. Covered in no less than 52 chapters, the essential elements of the original Corvette bible are still here, but it has been fully revised, reorganized, and expanded, including the addition of hundreds of new photos and illustrations.

The Corvette legend is full of larger-than-life personalities, corporate politics, and several attempts to cancel the Corvette program outright. Ludvigsen's complete history of the C1, C2 and C3 generations explores it all-from the tactical maneuvering of Harley Earl, Ed Cole and Maurice Olley to get the first Corvette Motorama cars built in the 1950s to the power struggles between John DeLorean, Ed Cole and Zora Arkus-Duntov over a mid-engined Corvette in the 1970s. GM's various marketing strategies for the Corvette are also outlined in detail.

The star player, of course, is the car itself. Ludvigsen painstakingly traces the evolution of its design, its structural engineering, and its power and performance-including extensive coverage of Corvette racing at both the amateur and professional levels. Technical drawings and colorful promotional photos of each production model are wonderfully balanced with superb shots of racing Corvettes and their drivers in action.

Also new for this edition are the author's insights into competitors like the Bricklin and Pantera. Newly researched sidebars describe the influential LaSalle II concept cars, Bill Thomas's Cheetah, Zora Duntov's European years, custom bodies on Corvettes, the St. Louis plant, the author's impressions of CERV II and Bill Mitchell's personal views on the Corvette.

When it was published in 1973, Star-Spangled Sports Car broke new ground as the first book devoted entirely to a single car model. It has since been credited with helping to kick-start the exciting Corvette hobby. Four decades after its original publication Classic and Sports Car declared, "Karl Ludvigsen's Corvette history remains the bible."

What makes Corvette - America's Star-Spangled Sports Car: The Complete History, 1953-1982 unique is the fact that Ludvigsen does not stop at recounting what happened or cataloging model-year changes, equipment options, etc. (though these facts are well covered). He has added depth to the Corvette story through his desire to understand why the Corvette evolved as it did. Drawing on his many years in the industry and his expertise as an automotive historian, Ludvigsen takes the reader behind the scenes to reveal an insider's view of the people and events that gave rise to America's favorite sports car.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       784      Number of Images:     989

            Price:               $54.95             ISBN:  978-0-8376-1659-9                            

            Publisher:                                Bentley Publishers

            Link to Website:        

http://www.bentleypublishers.com/chevrolet/history/ludvigsen-corvette-americas-star-spangled-sports-car.html

Reviews of Book:

SAHB Times - Winter 2014

Karl Ludvigsen's biography was recently published in The Automobile where it is revealed that over a period of five decades he has had published some 48 books on a wide variety of subjects to include Porsche, Ferrari and Mercedes to name but a few in addition to several biographies of racing drivers. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the Corvette and indeed the American motorcar should be sufficient to place a five-star rating against this truly massive work. It is, of course, and the book with the author's depth of research, which is indicative of his vast erudition when it comes to automotive history, makes this one of those special titles that becomes a bible to other historians. The work benefits from the fact that Karl was closely associated with the Corvette whilst serving with GM as well as his tenure as editor of Car and Driver before another term working with GM, in this instance with styling Vice President Bill Mitchell.

What is so entertaining and informative about the book is the author's journey into the history of the American sports car and how it was partly influenced by those vehicles from outside the USA, such as Jaguar's XK-120. Anyone who is inspired by speed, and obsessive styling cannot but be enthralled by the images sought out by Karl and his easy way of setting out the complex narrative to his chosen subject. So wide is the spectrum of the book that in addition to cars it is the small and highly manoeuvrable ships, i.e. Corvettes that come under the microscope in addition to the production Corvettes that were raced at Le Mans. Stingrays and the coachbuilt cars are also examined as are all the personalities involved in producing and engineering the cars over three decades. To tell you that the book contains 52 chapters and a substantial number of appendices merely illustrates what a superb volume this is.

Corvette: The Exotic Experimental Cars

Brief Description:

While working at GM and afterward as the author of the authoritative Corvette history, Karl Ludvigsen was close to the behind-the-scenes development of Chevrolet's Corvette. As a result, his collection contains many rare and unusual photos of the experimental Corvettes built both for the road and racing exotic chassis, engines, styling concepts and designs.

In this book Ludvigsen opens his files and takes the reader behind the scenes of Chevrolet R&D and Design Staff to show the rare and spectacular machines conceived by Bill Mitchell, Zora Duntov, Larry Shinoda and others in the car-crazy Corvette world at GM.

  •   Concept Cars & Test Vehicles
  •   Cut-away Drawings
  •   Chassis & Engines
  •   Clay Cars
  • Designers' Sketches

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $19.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-017-3                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

            Link to Website:
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/chevrolet/history/corvette-exotic-experimental-cars.html

Cunningham:

Cunningham Sports Cars: American Racing Legends 1951-1955

Brief Description:

Time magazine cover hero and America's Cup yachtsman Briggs Cunningham cut a wide swathe through the post-war sports-racing scene with his magnificent Cunningham sports cars. He burst into view in 1951 with his Chrysler-powered C-2 sports-racers. Following up with the CAR, C-5R and C-6R, Cunningham's sports-racers performed well at Le Mans and were all but unbeatable in American racing.

Fabulous unpublished pictures from the Ludvigsen Library show these great cars on the track and at rest. They carried the American flag at home and abroad with style and panache.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $24.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-109-5                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/engineering-and-motorsports/cunningham-sports-cars.html

Ferrari:

Alberto Ascari: Ferrari’s First Double Champion

Brief Description:

A measure of the towering stature of Alberto Ascari, the first-ever double World Champion, is his record while driving for Ferrari. By mid-1953 Ascari had won nine Grands Prix in a row, a staggering achievement that has not even been approached since. He also broke all records by setting the fastest lap in seven successive races. Neither of these feats will easily be surpassed.

Astonishingly, for a nation that has given so much to motor racing, Alberto Ascari remains the last Italian to have won the drivers' crown.

Quintessentially Italian in his style and habits, Milan-born Ascari was the son of an outstanding race driver, Antonio Ascari. Both had a fatal accident at the age of 36, the son living only three days longer than his father. Antonio's reputation and his own lack of a father were burdens Alberto would bear all his life.

Karl Ludvigsen reveals to a new generation the supernatural skill and calm, bourgeois character of a racing genius in this first dedicated biography of Ascari. He evocatively depicts the tense pre-war period in which Ascari first raced, his hesitant return to the tracks after the war, the guidance he received from 'Gigi' Villoresi, his role in the overthrow of Alfa Romeo by Ferrari, and the total dominance of his championship years 1952 and 1953.

Ludvigsen discloses the reason for Ascari's sudden break with Ferrari at the end of 1953, a divorce that shocked all of Italy and the racing world. We experience his frustration in 1954 as he waits for his new Lancia and then his struggle to make the radical racer competitive. And we are in the cockpit with him in 1955 as he grapples with the Ferrari sports car during his deadly last ride.

An enthralling text is accompanied by mono and colour images many published here for the first time from the world's finest photographers including Rodolfo Mailander, Guy Griffiths, Bernard Cahier, Günther Molter, Franco Zagari, Geoff Goddard and Corrado Millanta.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       208      Number of Images:     NA     

            Price:               $49.95             ISBN:  978-1-85960-680-3                            

            Publisher:                                Haynes Publishing

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/engineering-and-motorsports/alberto-ascari.html

Ferrari The Factory: Maranello’s Secrets 1950-1975

Brief Description:

Few people have had the opportunity to visit the Ferrari factory. Now these previously unpublished photos take you behind the scenes of the foundry, machine shops, engine assembly, testing and car assembly lines at Ferrari. Included as well are rare photographs of the racing department and the magnificent Ferrari sports and racing cars under construction.

Commentary by Karl Ludvigsen provides insights into the creation of these legendary cars.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $24.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-085-2                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/ferrari-the-factory.html

Red Hot Rivals: Ferrari vs. Maserati – Epic Clashes for Supremacy

Brief Description:

Few people have had the opportunity to visit the Ferrari factory. Now these previously unpublished photos take you behind the scenes of the foundry, machine shops, engine assembly, testing and car assembly lines at Ferrari. Included as well are rare photographs of the racing department and the magnificent Ferrari sports and racing cars under construction.

Commentary by Karl Ludvigsen provides insights into the creation of these legendary cars.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       336      Number of Images:     480     

            Price:               $54.95             ISBN:  978-1-84425-412-5                            

            Publisher:                                Haynes

            Link to Website:        

Reviews of Book:

More than 10 years before Enzo Ferrari ever built a car under his own name, Maseratis were a thorn in his flesh. They were so uncatchable that after three years of provocation he was seriously thinking of buying some himself. “If you can’t beat them, join them!” The time is 1933/34, Enzo has been running his own Scuderia since 1929, fielding Alfa Romeos—and his best drivers keep defecting to Maserati. This is the spark that ignited the fire that would smolder for decades and that is the topic of this book.

“The reader is entitled to ask whether the author of a book about a rivalry favours one side or the other. I hope it doesn’t show, but I’d have to confess to an affection for Maserati.”

Ironically, both marques are now owned by the same parent, Fiat Group. In fact, between 1999 and 2005, Maserati was merely a division of Ferrari S.p.A. Enzo, the self-described “agitator of men,” would have found that only good and proper but the reasons the stars aligned themselves this way go far beyond anything he could engineer, both in the physical and the metaphysical sense.

This book, however, is directly related to that merger. The US Ferrari magazine Forza began to devote ink to the new stablemate and Ludvigsen, who contributed to it, volunteered himself to write a series of articles entitled “Home Town Rivalry.” Having witnessed quite a bit of it personally, chronicling this particularly juicy era had long been on his mind. That work has been expanded, and blossomed into this book.

Back in the day, Ludvigsen visited the respective factories, knew the principals and key personnel, and attended the races. Moreover, in the 1960s he owned—be still my heart—a 1952 A6GCS Maserati and raced it in VSCCA events. Add to that his engineering and writing background and you have strong odds that this book won’t disappoint. From boardroom to workshop, his story covers all angles. As in so many of his historically themed books he begins by creating context, a grand sweeping establishing shot that takes the reader back to Roman days and Italian geography, the area’s arts and crafts roots, and the histories of the Maserati and Ferrari families and their respective offspring’s automotive activities.

Fifteen chapters then juxtapose a pair of cars, one from each maker, that did battle against each other between 1948 and 1967, from sports cars to Formula One. Ludvigsen favored this approach over a strictly chronological one, the trade-off being a certain degree of overlap for a more focused take on the cars themselves. Interestingly, the chapter titles only list the cars’ model numbers and not the maker (always Ferrari first, then Maserati) which, if nothing else, is an incentive for the new reader to get up to speed with model designations. A closing chapter briefly touches upon historic racing and a bit of modern corporate history regarding each marque under the Fiat Auto and Fiat Group umbrella.

Cars being “machines” means that the text touches upon matters mechanical and technical, in the form of fluidly written narrative—no tables, charts, diagrams. About two dozen b/w cutaways and technical drawings are as scientific as it gets. Most of these are credited and show whole cars or engines and specific assemblies. The cars are mostly 1/3 of a page—just big enough to show that you can’t see everything! The vast majority of photos are from the period; a few show the cars in modern times and settings. That even the period photos seem purpose-made and a perfect fit for the text speaks to the staggering depth of the Ludvigsen Archive (which has absorbed entire photo collections—Mailander, Rosenthall, LeGrand to name a few, and archives—Posthumus, Dalton Watson) and also the abilities of the photo researcher who must have superhuman memory and/or sophisticated search tools. The photos themselves are not credited except in bulk at the end. They are thoroughly captioned and every person is identified, which is such a small but important thing to do and yet missing from so many books.

The endpapers show two fabulous illustrations of the 1957 German GP by the hand of the late German artist Walter Gotschke.

In terms of presentation, this is in every regard the typical Haynes book (meant as a compliment!): glossy paper, proper binding, task-oriented typography and design (i.e. no design orgies merely for the sake of showing how many fonts the designer has on the computer), and crisp, sharp photo reproduction. Also typically Haynes and something one could really do without is that all color photos are bundled into stand-alone sections, four each of eight pages. The Bibliography is splendidly thorough, as is the Index which is divided by cars/teams, circuits/races, and people.

Even in 2008 money this book was uncommonly cheap. That you can still buy existing stock now at that price won’t last forever. Run, don’t walk!

PS: In the larger scheme of things, the later years of the Ferrari/Maserati tug of war have direct bearing on a later development in Ferrari history: the “Cobra war,” which, as this book makes so compellingly clear, in terms of historic meaningfulness is a mere side show compared to the Maserati situation.

Copyright 2010, Sabu Advani (speedreaders.info)

Ford:

Ford’s Feisty Capri: European Sporting Coupes: 1969-1987

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $59.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-251-1                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

                Link to Website:              
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/ford-s-feisty-capri.html

The Inside Story of the Fastest Fords

Brief Description:

The first Ford ever to race at Le Mans was built in Britain. It was a rakish machine, a roadster, an abbreviated version of the 10 h.p. Ford De Luxe. In 1937, the year of Bugatti's first victory, this cycle-fendered Ford with its windshield folded flat was driven to a 14th-place finish by M. K. H. Bilney and Miss J. Richmond. That, until 1966, was to remain the only achievement by a Ford car at Le Mans, the world's best-known endurance race for sports cars. Ford started late, but it traveled fast. Its achievement of providing the race winner four years in a row from 1966 through 1969 catapulted it into the front ranks of the titans of Le Mans. And those ranks were already occupied by some respected racing names. When the Le Mans race was still young it had been dominated by Bentley, with five wins in all and a string of four in a row starting in 1927. Immediately afterward Alfa Romeo took up the tradition with a series of four wins ending with the 1934 race. After the War Jaguar matched Bentley with five victories in the French 24-hour race, its longest sequence of wins being a triple beginning in 1955. In spite of wins in 1949 and 1954, Ferrari wasn't taken seriously in those days. Aces like Ascari and Castellotti were fast at the start in the red cars but were seldom around at the finish. Phil Hill changed the image with his 1958 win. Then in 1960 Ferrari forged the first link in the longest chain of victories any car maker has ever made at Le Mans, six in a row.

Was Ferrari a formidable opponent when Ford came on the scene? Of course it was. Ferrari was so formidable that Ford negotiated seriously in 1963 to buy him rather than have to try to beat him. Failing in that, Ford decided to build its own Le Mans winner. The job took much longer, and proved far more difficult and costly, than anyone could have dreamed at the outset. This book is the record of that time, that effort, and that expense. Why did Ford want so badly to win Le Mans? This question allows no simple answer. Early in the Sixties Ford sought to make its name in every possible racing field. The successes of Jaguar and Ferrari there had made Le Mans a goal worth attaining. Henry Ford II favored the continental atmosphere of long-distance sports car racing, and Lee Iacocca liked the exotic spark Le Mans could give to Ford's production cars. He hoped it might eventually provide Ford with quantity-built sports cars of its own. Of course, Le Mans was not the only track where the GT Fords ran. They raced and won at many other circuits around the world, just as the C-Type and D-Type Jaguars did in their day. But like those cars, the Fords were Le Mans specialists at heart. They were planned and tested to conquer that curious 8.36-mile ring of roads west of Paris, to streak down its endless Mulsanne Straight, to stop at the end of it, to negotiate White House and The Esses with aplomb, and to keep on doing it for 24 hours, in some of the world's worst traffic.

Competition between Ferrari and Ford caused the engineering escalation that left the record race speed at the astonishing level of 135.483 mph, set in 1967 by the 7-Liter Mark IV. Ford had not only won Le Mans; it had annihilated it. But the full story of this achievement has not until now been told. Ford itself described the Mark IV in an excellent series of papers before the Society of Automotive Engineers. So sudden was the change in regulations that barred the Mark IV from future races, however, that Ford never told the world the details of the car that still held the distance and lap records at Le Mans two years after it last raced there.

Astonishingly, it all took only five years. Could anyone in 1962 have looked at the Mustang I, a pleasant but hardly aggressive car, and imagined it as the seed from which the mighty Mark IV would grow so rapidly? It's an amazing story, one it's been as interesting and rewarding to discover as to describe.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       80        Number of Images:     NA     

            Price:               $52.95             ISBN:  978-1-903088-12-8                            

            Publisher:                                Mercian Manuals

                Link to Website:              
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/engineering-and-motorsports/inside-story-of-the-fastest-fords.html

Jaguar:

Jaguar XK120, XK140, XK150 Sports Cars

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $59.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-150-7                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

                Link to Website:              
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/jaguar-xk120.html

Land Rover:

Land Rover: The Incomparable 4x4 from Series 1 to Defender

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $44.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-179-8                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

                Link to Website:              
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/land-rover-the-incomparable-4x4-from-series-1-to-defender-.html

Lotus:

Colin Chapman: Inside the Innovator

Details:

            Number of Pages:       NA      Number of Images:     NA     

            Price:               $89.95             ISBN:  978-1-84425-413-2                            

            Publisher:                                Haynes Publishing

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/colin-chapman-inside-the-innovator.html

Maserati:

Red Hot Rivals: Ferrari vs. Maserati – Epic Clashes for Supremacy

For Coverage of this Book, See the Same Title Under Ferrari Above.

Mercedes-Benz:

Mercedes-Benz 300SL: Gullwings and Roadsters 1954-1964

Brief Description:

In 1952 Mercedes-Benz astonished the racing world with the successes it achieved with its 300SL, exploiting an advanced space-type frame and aerodynamic body with gullwing doors. The racing 300SL inspired the creation of a production version, which first took flight in 1954. The 300SL stunned critics and experts alike with its fabulous performance?more than 150 mph?exotic looks and superb build quality. Not just a pretty face, the 300SL was also extremely successful in competition on both sides of the Atlantic. The original coupe was followed by a roadster version in 1957; in all 3,258 were made.

Drawing on his unmatched archive of Mercedes-Benz photos, including coverage by Rudy Mailander and Edward Eves of the 300SL "production line," Karl Ludvigsen presents the 300SL in all its glory. He also draws on his own experience as an owner of one of these great cars.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $29.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-137-8                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/mercedes-benz/owners-manuals/mercedes-benz-300sl-1954-1964.html

Mercedes-Benz 300SL: Racing cars 1952-1953

Brief Description:

In 1952 Mercedes-Benz astonished the world with its 300SL sports-racing cars, sleek coupes with their startling gullwing doors. Based on the 300S production model installed on a radical tubular space frame, the 300SL was a tour de force of lightweight aerodynamic design. While the later production 300SL has been well chronicled, the 1952 racing model is less well-known.

Based on extensive unpublished photography at the Mille Miglia, Berne, Nürburgring and Le Mans, superbly and intimately captured by Rodolfo Mailander, this book portrays the amazing achievements of these tough cars and their epic victories at Le Mans and in the Carrera Panamericana. Rare Daimler-Benz archive photographs also show the prototype, never raced, designed and built for the 1953 season. Every fan of racing & Mercedes-Benz will relish the pictorial revelations of this book.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $24.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-067-8                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografiix

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/mercedes-benz/history/mercedes-benz-300sl-1952-53.html

Mercedes-Benz 300SLR: The Fabulous 1955 World-Championship Sports-Racer

Brief Description:

When Mercedes-Benz returned to motor racing in the 1950s it did so with an aggressive attack across the board. It planned to launch both its Grand Prix cars and its new sports-racing cars in 1954, but delays with the latter meant that the sports-racers didn't appear until 1955. When they did, the results were sensational.

With unique and rarely seen images, Karl Ludvigsen presents the dramatic story of these racers with their tubular space frames, inboard brakes and fuel-injected desmodromic-valved eight-cylinder engines. Featured also are secret tests at Hockenheim, the never-raced coupe version of the 300SLR and the new design that was being prepared for 1956 a season that these cars never experienced.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $29.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-122.4                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/mercedes-benz/history/mercedes-benz-300slr.html

Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix W196

Brief Description:

Spectacular Silver Arrows: 1954-1955

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $59.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-250-4                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/mercedes-benz-grand-prix-w196.html

Porsche:

Ferdinand Porsche: Genesis of Genius

Brief Description:

In Ferdinand Porsche - Genesis of Genius, author Karl Ludvigsen reveals a dynamic young innovator who helped to chart the course of the automobile through the first decades of the twentieth century. As early as 1900, at the age of 25, Ferdinand Porsche pioneered hybrid technology to power his automobile designs. Once gasoline gained dominance as the power-source of choice, Porsche became relentless in his goal to design the fastest and most durable automobiles in Europe.

Porsches engineering brilliance did not stop at the automobile. He also made significant contributions to the early development of airplane engines and military transport vehicles. And in addition to his hands-on style of engineering, Ferdinand Porsche was a tireless managing executive in the automotive industry.

Ferdinand Porsche - Genesis of Genius explores in depth the unique combination of ambition, determination and genius that were the genesis of an automotive dynasty which has continued to thrive and expand for over a century.

 

Details:

            Number of Pages:       496      Number of Images:     570

            Price:               $99.95             ISBN:  978-0-8376-1557-8                            

            Publisher:                                Bentley Publishers

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/porsche/history/ferdinand-porsche-genesis-of-genius.html

Awards:

  • 2009 Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot Award – Society of Automotive Historians
  • 2008 International Automotive Media Award - Best of the Year
  • 2008 International Automotive Media Award - Best of Books
  • International Automotive Media Award - Best Design of 2008
  • 2008 Mercedes-Benz Montagu of Beaulieu Award

Reviews of Book:

"So, the man who had such influence on our abiding passion is brought vividly to life, thanks in no small part to the huge amount of new material that Karl Ludvigsen has so painstakingly unearthed through sheer hard slog and weighty research. . . . This book meets all the criteria of written greatness and is without parallel." - Porsche Post

Porsche 917

Brief Description:

Zuffenhausen’ Le Mans and Can-Am Champion

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $59.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-180-4                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

                Link to Website:              
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/porsche-917-ludvigsen.html

Porsche 956 and 962

Brief Description:

Immortal Endurance Racers: 1982-1994

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $62.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-269-6                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

                Link to Website:              
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/porsche-956-and-962-ludvigsen.html

Porsche by Mailander

Brief Description:

Among the many holdings of the Ludvigsen Library are the works of Rodolfo Mailander, who photographed races, motor shows, new-car introduction and other events in Europe from 1950 through 1955. This handsome portrait-format book presents Mailander’s photography, selected and with commentary by Karl Ludvigsen, of Porsche cars and people through these years.

In a scant six years from 1950 through 1955 Porsche transformed itself from a back-woods builder of Beetle-based specials to a giant-killing racing powerhouse on the worlds great circuits and an esteemed manufacturer of fine sports cars. One man, Rodolfo Mailander, was on the scene with his Leica, capturing for all time the men, machinery and moments of this astonishing ascent to fame and success. For this sumptuous book Dalton Watson asked Mailanders life-long friend, Karl Ludvigsen, to choose and comment on the most illustrative and evocative images from the photojournalists oeuvre. Prize-winning author Ludvigsen, one of the worlds great Porsche experts, also limns Porsches decade-by-decade progress toward eminence. In Simon Loxleys superb design the images, reproduced in a rich four-colour process, depict Porsche people and products at the circuits of Le Mans, Monte Carlo, Monza, Bern, Reims and the salons of Paris, Geneva, Turin and Frankfurt en route to immortality. Immensely satisfying as a work of art as well as an unique record of the genesis of an iconic marque, this volume will be prized by all admirers of automotive excellence.

Over 250 pages, this book presents some 300 images of the world of Porsche in the first half of the Fifties as seen through the lenses of a man who was intimately involved with this world. By far the majority of these photographs have never before been published. Karl Ludvigsen provides a knowledgeable and entertaining commentary on each, together with a year-by-year overview of the activities of Porsche during these dramatic early years.

The early Fifties were the dramatic formative years of Porsche, which was founded as a sports-car producer in 1948. The first-ever Porsche car scored a race victory that same year. Porsches first effort at Le Mans in 1951 brought a class victory, and Le Mans was destined to remain a major target for Porsches racers in the future. With the arrival of the fabled 550 Spyders in 1953 Porsche scored class victories on all continents with such drivers as Stirling Moss, Hans Herrmann and Richard von Frankenberg. As well, during these years Porsche developed and expanded its range of exciting sports cars for the road.

Included in the book are:

  • Exciting and evocative scenes from the great sports-car races, rallies, road races and hillclimbs: Monza, Berne, the Nürburgring, the Mille Miglia, Monte Carlo, Reims and others.
  • Behind-the-scenes views of the Porsche factory and the building of these great cars.
  • The Porsche road cars in their environment and at the great Salons of Paris, Turin and Geneva.
  • Porsche people, including Ferry Porsche, his engineers and his drivers.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       384      Number of Images:     500     

            Price:               $299.95           ISBN:  978-1-85443-244-5                            

            Publisher:                                Dalton Watson

                Link to Website:              
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/porsche/history/porsche-by-mailander-ludvigsen.html

Porsche: Excellence Was Expected

Brief Description:

New material for this edition includes:

  • 257 new or revised pages and 230 new photos and illustrations
  • Five new full color chapters covering the RS Spyder, the Cayman, the Type 997 production and GT cars, and the Panamera
  • Updated to include model years through 2008
  • Updated coverage of the Boxster, the Type 996, the Cayenne and the Carerra GT
  • Updated Competition Victories appendix

Since 1977 Karl Ludvigsens Porsche: Excellence Was Expected has been regarded as the definitive work on Porsche history. In this masterwork Ludvigsen presents the inner workings, masterpieces and failures of an independent automaker that has exerted a disproportionately powerful influence on the automotive industry.

Remarkable both for its breadth of coverage and its technical depth, Porsche: Excellence Was Expected covers every Porsche road and racing car from the companys beginnings through the development of the 2009 Panamera. Adding dimension to the Porsche story is Ludvigsens assessment of the companys designers, chief engineers and top managers over the years.

In this first revision since 2003, Ludvigsen has updated the three-volume set through 2008, including five augmented chapters, five completely new chapters, and 230 new images. The five new chapters feature full-color artwork throughout and bring the total number of photographs, diagrams and illustrations in the set to just over 1800.

At 66 chapters and 1688 pages, this monumental work covers over a century of Porsche history. Ludvigsens new material includes the continuing evolution of the iconic 911, detailing the design and engineering of the Type 997. He also looks at the market success of the Cayenne, the enthusiastic press and customer responses to the Cayman and Cayman S, and Porsches expansion into the four-door luxury sedan arena with the Panamera. Competition coverage is expanded to include the domination of the RS Spyder in the ALMS series as well as the on-track success of the 997-based GT racers. And Ludvigsen looks closely at Wendelin Wiedekings financially savvy stewardship of the Porsche company through the first decade of the twenty-first century.

With this edition, Porsche: Excellence Was Expected remains "the definitive archetypal marque history," (Michael Scarlett, Autocar) that it was in its first edition. Karl Ludvigsen continues to set the bar high for automotive historians, just as the company he chronicles continues to shape our very definition of the term "sports car."

Details:

            Number of Pages:       1,688   Number of Images:     1,854

            Price:               $299.95           ISBN:  978-0-8376-0235-6

            Publisher:                                Bentley Publishers

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/porsche/history/porsche-excellence-was-expected.html

 

Reviews of Book:

"The English-language reprint builds consistently on the standard reference work on Porsche first published in 1977. Since the first edition, 'Ludvigsen' has become a watchword, a trademark for comprehensive information about the sports car manufacturer from Zuffenhausen. The new version of the 'Porsche Bible' contains everything from the first edition and much more: Facts and shop-talk, stories and history, anecdotes and quirks, data and statistics on Porsche, the company and its cars. Now, the thick 900-page first edition has become a three-volume linen-bound, slipcase-boxed set of truly biblical dimensions - with a total of 1574 pages."

Christophorus Magazine

Porsche: Origin of the Species

Brief Description:

Within Jerry Seinfeld's renowned Porsche collection resides an unassuming yet extraordinary piece of Porsche history: Porsche Gmünd coupe 356/2-040. Captured exclusively for this book in a series of evocative portraits by acclaimed automotive photographer Michael Furman, 040's unsullied originality conveys with startling immediacy the combination of artistry, innovation and determination that went into its improbable creation. This cornerstone of the Seinfeld collection serves as the inspiration for Porsche-Origin of the Species, an in-depth exploration by the eminent automotive historian Karl Ludvigsen into the specific influences and circumstances that brought forth the first Porsche-badged sports cars.

How and when did the people of the Porsche firm find themselves in a sawmill in Gmünd? What was the influence on the 356 of the cars and engines built by Porsche before and during the war? How and why was the first 356 shaped as it was? What was the real relationship between the tube-framed Type 356 roadster and the first 356/2 coupes? Questions like these deserve answers because the resulting DNA is so powerful, so robust, that it still influences the shape and style of Porsches well into the twenty-first century.

Karl Ludvigsen, author of the award-winning Porsche: Excellence Was Expected and Ferdinand Porsche - Genesis of Genius, tackles these questions and more in Porsche-Origin of the Species. The saga that emerges encompasses mechanical revelations, human drama and the turmoil of world war. Porsche-Origin of the Species will appeal to all car enthusiasts who are eager to know what events really ignited the spark from which all other Porsches evolved.

Ludvigsen's research into the origins of the Type 356 overturned many long-held beliefs about this crucial period in the creation of the car that established the classic fingerprint of the Porsche sports car for all time.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       356      Number of Images:     436

            Price:               $149.95           ISBN:  978-0-8376-1331-4                            

            Publisher:                                Bentley Publishers

            Link to Website:                    
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/porsche/history/porsche-origin-of-the-species-signed.html

Awards:

Porsche Spyders: Type 550 1953-1956

Brief Description:

The pedigree of Porsche as car designers was brilliantly affirmed by its creation of the 550 Spyder competition roadster. See the 550 Spyder in all its variations, from its origins in experimental Porsche models to the amazing and finely crafted one-off specials of Walter Glöckler. With its superb four-cam flat-four engine, designed by Ernst Fuhrmann, the 550 became known as a giant-killer for its racing successes on tracks all over the world. As tough as it was handsome, the 550 was winning races years after its official launch at the Paris Salon in 1953.

Exclusive photography of the 550 in the Ludvigsen Library shows its engineering, its evolution and its action in races in Europe and North America.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $24.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-092-0                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

                Link to Website:              
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/porsche/history/porsche-spyders-type-550-1953-56.html

Porsche Spyders 1956-1964: Type 550A, RSK, and 718

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $59.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-200-9                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

                Link to Website:              
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/porsche-spyders-1956-1964-ludvigsen.html

Professor Porsche’s Wars

Brief Description:

The secret life of legendary engineer Ferdinand Porsche who armed two belligerents through four decades.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       272      Number of Images:     NA     

            Price:               £30.00             ISBN:  978-1-78303-019-4                            

            Publisher:                                Pen & Sword Books

                Link to Website:

http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Professor-Porsches-Wars-Hardback/p/7227

Reviews of Book:

“I am tempted to make the claim on his behalf that Ferdinand Porsche surpasses all other engineers in the depth and breadth of his contributions to military technology when taken over the entire scope of the years from 1914 to 1945. Challengers doubtless exist; the reader is encouraged to identify them.”

A bold statement but perfectly plausible—but that is not the reason for quoting it. Rather it has to do with the subtitle and to make the point that being a genius in one or even several areas does not make one a competent, well-rounded human being. During WWII Porsche had willingly accepted, more likely outright requested, large numbers of forced laborers to work in his factory but after the war would insist, either naively or in an attempt at spin doctoring, that Hitler did not know about anything as unsavory as concentration camps.

This shadow clings to Porsche even now. You have to look no further than the 2011 decision by the city of Atlanta, Georgia to first deny and then modify Porsche Cars’ request to rename the street leading to its new $100 million state-of-the-art North American headquarters from Henry Ford II Avenue to Ferdinand Porsche Avenue—on the grounds that the elder Porsche had ties to the Nazi regime. In Germany, which to this day struggles with the burden of its collective past, the same issue had tainted the centenary celebrations in 2009 of the birth of the company founder’s son Ferry.

A sticky wicket, then. While the foregoing is somewhat peripheral to Ludvigsen’s book his painting of Porsche as first and foremost, if not exclusively, a fundamentally apolitic, workaholic engineer offers useful context to those who know that the story does not end with Schindler’s List-type heroics. From early on in Porsche’s professional life the very excellence of his slide rule-jockeying brought him to the attention of the loci of power, beginning with Archduke Franz Ferdinand and later Hitler who considered him his favorite engineer and demanded of him a People’s Car.

The book’s focus is on equipment and technologies Porsche developed, either purpose-built for the military or adapted to military use. After some preliminaries the story begins with Porsche’s first car, the Lohner-Porsche of 1900, a gasoline/electric hybrid, electricity being Porsche’s first consuming interest.. Readers who only know modern-day Porsches and see today’s 918 as cutting edge will appreciate that car even more when they realize how long it took to for hybrids to come to fruition. Ludvigsen describes the novel systems in that car with great clarity so that even the non-technologist grasps the remarkable thinking behind it even if the car did not make much of a dent in the universe.

In short order all sorts of names you’ll recognize—Jellinek, Daimler, Maybach to name a few—and all sorts of machinery with a Porsche connection make an appearance: trucks, cargo and artillery tugs, armored cars, airships, aero engines, multi-trailer “land trains,” mortar movers, amphibious vehicles, tanks, ship engines. At all times you will be reminded of Ludvigsen’s opening quote and come to see that Porsche’s output is of uncommon breadth and depth. Towards the end of the book the 356 enters the picture and “regularly scheduled programming” resumes but you’ll probably never see the little sports car with quite the same innocent eyes again. The book concludes with the end of production of the Leopard battle tank in 1981 and the repurposing of those facilities for Porsche’s racing department. As Ludvigsen writes, “as an example of swords into ploughshares it could hardly be bettered.”

It is in no small measure thanks to Ludvigsen’s previous efforts on his epic Porsche biographies that he both found material relevant to this new book and also forged a relationship with someone in a position to significantly advance the story, Porsche’s oldest grandson Ernst Piëch. The book is well illustrated, including some patent and other technical drawings. Uncommon for this publisher, the book has a larger format of 8.5 x 10.75″. Marginal notes are where they belong, in the margin. The Bibliography is quite wide-ranging and certainly shows that this new book enlarges the picture.

For anyone interested in Austro Daimler and Auto Union history this book is useful; the Prince Heinrich car is referenced several times but road cars and even civilian commercial vehicles are outside the scope of this book.

It should be remembered that a few years ago Ludvigsen announced that he would pursue other interests than the automotive books that have so enriched the literature, and he sold the automotive portion of the Ludvigsen Archive to the Revs Institute. The present book is thus the first of a new phase for him.

 Copyright 2015, Sabu Advani (speedreaders.info).

               

White Racers from Zuffenhausen: Porsche 904, 906, 908, 909, 910

Details:

            Number of Pages:       128      Number of Images:     128     

            Price:               $59.95             ISBN:  978-1-58388-218-4                            

            Publisher:                                Iconografix

                Link to Website:              
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/automotive-reference/history/white-racers-from-zuffenhausen-porsche.html

 

Volkswagen:

Battle for the Beetle

Brief Description:

The untold story of the post-war battle for Adolf Hitler's giant Volkswagen factory and the Porsche-designed car that became an icon for generations around the globe.

The Volkswagen was the showpiece of the achievements of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. Backed by the Führer himself, it struck fear into the hearts of all who owned and managed Europe's car industry. Designed to "out-Ford Ford", the Beetle would dwarf their efforts with its low price and high production.

After World War II what was to be the fate of this odd bug-shaped car and its colossal bomb-battered factory? Legend has it that the victors underestimated the potential of the car that would become the automotive icon of several generations, indeed the world's most-famous and most-produced automobile. Karl Ludvigsen's interviews and researches in British, German, American, Australian and Belgian archives prove the contrary. His hitherto-untold story of why and how they didn't get the factory makes revealing and engrossing reading.

History buffs and followers of World War II and its aftermath will relish the way Ludvigsen depicts afresh the creation of the VW by renowned and "untouchable" engineer Ferdinand Porsche, the building of its factory by Hitler crony Robert Ley, "a notorious womanizer who drank too much," and the wartime career of the huge Wolfsburg plant as the prime contractor for the jet-powered V-1 flying bomb, the world's first successful cruise missile.

Car enthusiasts who consider themselves well-read will be absorbed by Ludvigsen's disclosures of the national and company mindsets that affected their respective attitudes toward the radical Volkswagen. Most astonishing are his revelations of the deep interest of Ford in the VW factory. Far from rejecting the VW plant, Ford proposed that it be merged with its existing German operations. But the executive charged with the mission (Ludvigsen reveals his identity) failed to follow through.

Ludvigsen traces the Beetle's impact on the world of autos, from the Chevrolet Corvair and Hino Contessa to rear-engined Fiats, Skodas and Hillmans. We learn why the most startling decision made by VW chief Heinz Nordhoff was not to change his car's design. And we are brought right up to the 1998 launch of VW's New Beetle. For those who wish to comprehend its amazing impact on the auto market, Battle for the Beetle is the essential source.

Details:

            Number of Pages:       480      Number of Images:     219

            Price:               $39.95             ISBN:  978-0-8376-1695-7

            Publisher:                                Bentley Publishers

            Link to Website:        
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/volkswagen/history/battle-for-the-beetle-ludvigsen.html

Awards:

Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot Award

The Society of Automotive Historians found Battle for the Beetle so compelling that it presented Ludvigsen's work with the Society's highest award for a book. At the Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet this past October, the Society awarded Battle for the Beetle The Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot Award. The award is presented to the book "which represents the most outstanding writing and original research in automobile history."

In presenting the award, SAH Secretary Michael Berger called Battle for the Beetle "an exemplary piece of scholarship," while another declared: "To my mind this book is automotive history at its best." Berger continued, stating that: "In sum, Battle for the Beetle is fascinating and captivating for anyone interested in automotive history or, for that matter, the history of the era within which the Beetle was created." Unquestionably, Battle for the Beetle is one of the most readable and fascinating books to come along in years.

Reviews of Book:

"Karl Ludvigsen's book on the Beetle history is the only one I know of that starts at the very beginning, going to the source and ending where many, many start — at the beginning of the 'Miracle'. The thorough research behind it makes it a comprehensive document, valuable not for VW people alone, because he covers an important part of our history. I confess that I have learned a lot, quite to my surprise..."

- Dr. Carl H. Hahn
Chairman of Volkswagen AG 1984-1992

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