The other day, I got an email from author Michael Lamm with some exciting news: one of my favorite automotive books — and one of the most important resources on U.S. automotive styling — is back in print.
Written by Mike Lamm and the late Dave Holls (a former GM design director) and first published in 1997, A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design is an in-depth history of the practice of automotive design in the United States. The 300+ page book begins with the American coachbuilders and then chronicles the development of in-house design studios at the various automakers, including the independents. There are also sidebars on important technical developments, such as the use of clay models.
Part of what makes this fascinating and highly enjoyable book so valuable as a resource is that it draws heavily on primary research: interviews with retired designers, many of them now deceased. Therefore, you get an insider’s perspective on the personalities and behind-the-scenes machinations that helped to shape the styling trends.
If you’re interested in automotive history (and if you’re reading this website, I have to assume you are), A Century of Automotive Style is an essential book. Really, my only serious complaint about it is that for years it’s been hard to find print copies. (I got mine at a brick-and-mortar bookshop many years ago and have often thanked my lucky stars that I bought the book when I had the chance.)
Therefore, I was pleased to hear that Mike Lamm has announced a new 500-copy limited print run of the hardcover edition. It’s available through Amazon.com or through the Lamm-Morada website for $69.95 (which if memory serves is about what I originally paid for my softcover edition more than a decade ago). It’s well worth the investment.
This is not a paid endorsement — I received no compensation or gifts in kind for making this announcement and I have no financial stake in the publication or sales of the book. I’m just happy to recommend an exceptional volume by an author whose work I’ve long admired.