Wheels of Change from Zero to 600 M.P.H: The Amazing Story of California and the Automobile

Wheels of Change from Zero to 600 M.P.H: The Amazing Story of California and the Automobile

by Kevin Nelson




Americans have always been enamored of automobiles, but California has a car culture unlike any other. Fueled by the Hollywood dream machine and the passions of the young and adventurous, Californians have changed the automobile and helped change America in the process.

Written by award-winning author kevin Nelson, Wheels of Change brings to life the personalities that have shaped the California automobile story, from engineering wizards and designers to gearheads to glamorous race car drivers to rebels without a cause. In lively storytelling style, Nelson covers the early days of horseless carriages all the way up through the 1950s and early '60s, during the glory years of hot rods, customs, drag racers, and imported sports cars. He reveals the movie industry's influence on cars, including th raucous off-screen racing exploits of Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, James Dean, and Steve McQueen. California also produced Harley Earl, the designer of the Corvette and tail fins on Cadillacs, who began by creating custom cars for Hollywood silent screen stars.

A vast land of imagined possibilities, California provided fertile ground for the automobile to flourish-and it continues to inspire innovations in the field today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597141130
Publisher: Heyday Books
Publication date: 09/28/2009
Pages: 405
Product dimensions: 8.94(w) x 7.08(h) x 1.07(d)

Table of Contents

Introdution 1

Part 1 The Ancient World 7

1 Blacksmith's Son 8

2 A Day at the Races 17

3 The Impossible Journey 27

4 San Francisco 37

Part 2 Transformation 47

5 Suddenly Shrinking State 48

6 Machine Politics 60

7 Barney and Friends 71

8 The Original Hollywood Fast-Car Guy 80

9 Shows of Wonder 87

Part 3 Birth of the Modern 103

10 Wheelboys 104

11 Long and Low 113

12 The Go-Fast Kid 122

13 Something Happening Here 135

14 The Big Three 149

15 The Curious Case of Doble Steam Motors 159

16 Blood on the Tracks 170

17 Hopped Up 179

18 Gable and Lombard 193

Part 4 Wheels of Change 203

19 1942 204

20 Abner of California 213

21 The Great American Road Trip 221

22 Outlaws of Speed 231

23 Hot Rod Nation 238

24 Enchanted Kingdom 247

25 The Car of Tomorrow 257

26 Bob Hirohata's Wild Ride 264

27 Indianapolis Takeover 279

28 Twelve Months 288

29 Comeback 298

30 McQueen 305

31 Heroes and Anti-Heroes 314

32 Spirit of America 327

Epilogue 339

Acknowledgments 345

Bibliography 349

Source Notes 357

Index 389

About the Author 405

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