Auto Biography LP: A Classic Car, an Outlaw Motorhead, and 57 Years of the American Dream

Overview

An unforgettable ode to American car culture, award-winning author Earl Swift's wise, funny, and captivating narrative follows an outlaw-genius motorhead as he attempts to restore an iconic 1957 Chevy from rusted-out wreck to gleaming work of American art—before the FBI closes in.

A classic '57 Chevy, in wretched shape: Slumped among hundreds of other rusting hulks on a treeless, windswept patch of North Carolina, the Chevy evokes none of the Jet Age optimism that made it the ...

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Overview

An unforgettable ode to American car culture, award-winning author Earl Swift's wise, funny, and captivating narrative follows an outlaw-genius motorhead as he attempts to restore an iconic 1957 Chevy from rusted-out wreck to gleaming work of American art—before the FBI closes in.

A classic '57 Chevy, in wretched shape: Slumped among hundreds of other rusting hulks on a treeless, windswept patch of North Carolina, the Chevy evokes none of the Jet Age optimism that made it the most beloved and instantly recognizable car to ever roll off an assembly line. It's thrashed. A goner. There seems little left to scrap, let alone save.

But for its unlikely rescuer, the Chevy isn't junk. For Tommy Arney it's a piece of history—especially so because its decrepit skin conceals a rare asset: a complete provenance, stretching back more than fifty years through thirteen owners. So, hassled by banks, local officials, the FBI, and his own volatile demons, the Chevy's thirteenth owner embarks on a mission to save the car and preserve the long record of human experience it carries in its steel and upholstery.

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Editorial Reviews

TRACY KIDDER
“I’ve never met Earl Swift, but from the very first page of this book I like him. Auto Biography is exuberant, big-spirited, and more than occasionally profound.”
BILL MORRIS
“Earl Swift has done something astonishing. He has let us see the unwinding of the American Dream through the windshield of a single 1957 Chevy-and through the stories of every one of its owners. Auto Biography is funny and sad and wise, an ingenious joyride of a book.”
Booklist
“Fascinating... The author tells Arney’s story deftly and with great, often raw, humor, and it rarely loses momentum.”
Christian Science Monitor
“A true tall tale that doubles as a complicated fable, Auto Biography is the wild and woolly saga of a 1957 Chevrolet station wagon, its 13 owners, and Tommy Arney, the appetite-forward, contradictorily honorable character who restores the four-door chariot to a glory even greater than its original.”
New York Post
“[A] must read … It’s the bromance of the ages: a ruined man and and a ruined ‘57 Chevy find happiness in each other’s arms.”
Daily Progress (Charlottesville
“Dazzling. … Many readers likely will feel the description Swift paints of Arney in the first page and a half of the book is worth the $26.99 price tag alone.”
Matt Stone
“A good fun read. … There’s rust, havoc, renovation and redemption, for the car and several of its owners. … The car talk is interesting and accurate; an easy and well written read. Swift is a big name, award-winning writer, and his chops show well here.”
Joe Bargmann
“A fresh, personal perspective on America’s love affair with the automobile.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Full of crackerjack reporting and fuel-injected mirth... Swift’s lengthy step-by-step description of the disassembly and recreation process is as nail-biting as any drugstore action-thriller. It’s hard to conceive of a more riveting (or unriveting) work on the subject than Auto Biography.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062326959
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/20/2014
  • Edition description: Larger Pri
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 1,155,301
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Journalist Earl Swift has written five books, including The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways (2011). Since 2012 he has been a residential fellow of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities at the University of Virginia.

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