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Book Review: Quarter-Mile Muscle! - Detroit Goes to the Drags
Review by David Dilbeck, Editor
Quarter-Mile Muscle! - Detroit Goes to the Drags is the latest Larry Davis book written for the muscle car enthusiast and drag racing fan. As usual, Larry's style of writing adds a lot of "color" to the book, bringing it alive and making it feel as though you are right there with him.
The book covers the evolution of muscle cars and their performance on the drag strip in chronological order beginning with his first chapter titled The Muscle Before the Muscle Car. In this chapter, Larry recounts his drag racing and street racing experiences on a local level and also informs the reader of stock bodied drag racing action on a national level.
Reading through the book, the evolution of muscle cars (and their drag racing results) is covered year by year from 1960 until 1972.
The book is about stock bodied vehicles, so the written content is mainly about street cars, Stock, Super Stock and the first three years of Pro Stock racing (1970-1972). Photos of cars in these classes plus a few Modified Production, Factory Experimental and Funny Car photographs are included.
The book contains photos of many racers that aren't well known nationally and Larry also gives descriptions of options that were available on several of the muscle cars.
In my opinion, the book has a Midwest/Northeast feel due to Larry's writing in the first person and his first hand knowledge being mostly from this area. Most of the well known Southern racers at least get a mention or a photo in the book, but a few are left out. People from other areas of the country may feel this way also or it might just be the way I interpreted the book with my obvious Georgia drag racing bias.
My biggest gripe is that some of the best photos are reduced to very small images in the book - but, at least they were included.
There is no doubt that Larry Davis is a Chevy guy, but he does give the other brands a fair shake in most cases (Some Mopar and Ford guys may take exception with a few of his statements and claims).
A few errors were noted, but overall the book is a good read filled with great photos and information - a book that any drag racing fan should include in his library!
Several of the photos published in Quarter-Mile Muscle: Detroit Goes to the Drags were from GeorgiaDragRacing.com contributors. Bob Plumer (Drag Racing Memories - see Photos by Bob Plumer), FE Bob Fermier (see Fermier Bros), and Marvin T. Smith (my co-author on the upcoming book: Atlanta Drag Racing: The Golden Years) shot many of the great photos that were included in Larry's book. Look for Marvin's photos of Buck Pike's Mustang, Harold Dutton's Hemi Barracuda, Randy Payne's Mustang and Hubert Platt's Mustang and Fairlane.
The softbound, 128 page book is filled with great information, 200 color photographs and close to 100 b&w photos. If you have read and enjoyed Larry's other drag racing books (Super Stock: Drag Racing the Family Sedan and Gasser Wars: Drag Racing's Street Classes 1955-1967), you'll enjoy this one, too.
About the Author:
Larry Davis was a hobby drag racer between 1960 and 1970, competing in various Stock, Modified Production and Super Stock classes. His efforts included participation in the 1967 and 1969 NHRA National Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana. When he wasn't racing, he was an avid fan of the Super Stock class and took many photos of the cars and crews. He currently lives in Canton, Ohio. Davis is the author of the very popular Super Stock: Drag Racing the Family Sedan and Gasser Wars: Drag Racing's Street Classes 1955-1967.
You can order Quarter-Mile Muscle: Detroit Goes to the Drags here or you may also order direct from CarTech at 1-800-551-4754 or visit www.CarTechBooks.com. If you order direct from CarTech, a $4.95 shipping and handling fee is added to each order.
I'd like to thank Karin Hill at CarTech, Inc. for supplying my review copy of Quarter-Mile Muscle: Detroit Goes to the Drags.
Marvin T. Smith and David Dilbeck are currently writing a book (Atlanta Drag Racing: The Golden Years) about Atlanta area drag racing that we hope to have completed soon. We intend to honor many of the local drag racers from the Atlanta area and also provide an overview of the history of organized drag racing in Atlanta. Keep checking back on GeorgiaDragRacing.com for news about our book.