RETRO CAR BOOKS (60s, 70s and 80s)

If you're stuck for a gift idea for a car enthusiast, then this page will provide you with some great ideas. Here you'll find a wide range of retro car books featuring old cars from the 1980s, as well as classic and vintage cars from the 1960s and 70s, too.

There are some excellent publications here, so why not treat yourself and have a nostalgic read in your favourite armchair - or wherever else takes your fancy!

When the Wheels Come Off: More Confessions of a 1970s & 80s Car Mechanic by Brian Cunnigham


When the Wheels Come Off

More Confessions Of A 1970s & 80s Car Mechanic

Formats: Paperback, Kindle

Author: Brian Cunnigham

Publisher: The History Press (10 Nov 2022)

Revealing the real side of the motor trade back in the day, this engaging follow-up to Brian's hugely popular Under The Bonnet, includes another humorous collection of memories featuring fads and crazes, crashes and scrapes, and near misses! 

Lost Cars of the 1970s by Giles Chapman


Lost Cars of the 1970s

Formats: Paperback

Author: Giles Chapman

Publisher: The History Press (6 Oct 2022)

The forgotten, neglected and misunderstood 70s cars from from around the world finally get the recognition they deserve, in this fascinating new book by the award-winning motoring writer Giles Chapman. Packed with archive images and featuring sixty diverse cars.

British Ford Cars of the 1960s and 1970s by James Taylor


British Ford Cars of the 1960s and 1970s

Formats: Hardcover Book and Kindle

Author: James Taylor

Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd. (2 Aug 2022)

Featuring over 270 photographs, this book details the Ford company structure, businesses and key locations throughout the sixties and seventies. American styling brought more excitement to the Ford range with cars such as the Cortina and Capri, and customers were now demanding more than just a 50s style pedestrian family car.

Ford Cars: A Pictorial History 1945-1995 by David Rowe


Ford UK Cars 1945-1995 - A Pictorial History


Author: David Rowe

Publisher: Veloce Publishing (16 June 2021)

This is a very useful resource for anyone who wants to identify (or rekindle memories of) the popular Ford cars that graced the roads of Great Britain back in the day. This would make a lovely gift for fans of retro cars, and the author has a clear passion for the subject. Not only will you find a huge array of photos, but also a wealth of technical information for each model. 

Spot 100 1980s Cars: A Spotter's Guide for kids and bigger kids


Spot 100 1980s Cars

A Spotter's Guide for Kids and Bigger Kids

Format: Paperback (for5 to 12 years)

Publisher: Steve Trower (1 June 2021)

In this fun book you can earn points for spotting the cars that ruled the roads back in the 80s, and earn extra points by answering the observation questions. Ideal for both kids and adults, and packed with photos of 80s cars. 

Under the Bonnet: Confessions of a 1970s & '80s Car Mechanic Paperback by Brian Cunnigham


Under the Bonnet: Confessions of a 1970s & '80s Car Mechanic

Formats: Paperback, Kindle

Author: Brian Cunningham

Publisher: The History Press (24 May 2021)

The true story of being a car mechanic in the old days, when fixing a car was one thing, but keeping it fixed was something else entirely! Think rust, bald tyres and a dodgy MOT! Highly rated by its readers, this engaging and humorous book is a real eye-opener!

The Ultimate Classic Car Quiz Book Paperback by David M Molloy


The Ultimate Classic Car Quiz Book

Formats: Paperback

Author: David M. Molloy

Publisher: Independently published (19 Nov 2020)

Packed with facts, trivia and statistics, The Ultimate Classic Car Quiz Book will really test a car buff's knowledge. Not only will you find answers to each of its 150 multiple-choice questions, but also the story behind each and every one of them. Fun and informative.

Austin and Rover Metro: The Full Story by  Craig Cheetham


Austin and Rover Metro: The Full Story

Formats: Paperback and Kindle

Author: Craig Cheetham

Publisher: Amberley Publishing (15 Nov 2020)

You may remember the launch of the Austin Mini Metro in 1980, and it was hailed as the car that saved Austin Rover (for a time, at least!). It enjoyed an impressive 18 year production run until 1998, and this fascinating book delves into the design, development and sales success of the popular little car, It's a goldmine of information, and even tells you what to look out for should you wish to buy one! 

Family Cars of the 1960s (Britain's Heritage) by James Taylor


Family Cars of the 1960s

Formats: Paperback, Kindle

Author: James Taylor

Publisher: Amberley Publishing (16 Oct 2018)

The 1960s brought a new age of affordable motoring to Great Britain, with new motorways and travel opportunities. However, the golden age of British car-building was coming to an end, as more and more foreign imports started to reach our shores.

The Reliant Robin: Britain's Most Bizarre Car by Giles Chapman


The Reliant Robin: Britain's Most Bizarre Car

Formats: Paperback

Author: Giles Chapman

Publisher: The History press (2 Nov 2016)

Love it or loathe it, the eccentric three-wheeler was once a common site on Britain's roads. It became an object of ridicule for those who didn't see the advantages of owning one, such as cheap tax and great fuel economy. Indeed, it became so popular that reliant couldn't keep up with the demand! 

The Car Book: The Definitive Visual History. Hardcover Book. 2022 Update


The Car Book: The Definitive Visual History

Formats:Hardcover Book or Kindle Edition

Authors: DK and Giles Chapman (editor)

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley (1 Sept 2016)

Despite its simple title, this is an in-depth read from Dorling-Kindersley featuring 360 stylish pages. Over 2000 cars are covered and just about every type imaginable is included - there are even steam-driven cars! This is an impressive, high quality publication.

Cars We Loved in the 1960s

Formats: Paperback

Author: Giles Chapman

Publisher: The History Press Ltd. (1 Apr 2014)

Travel back to a time when driving was fun and buying a car was a family event. In the 60s, a Mini wasn't just a skirt, and an Imp wasn't just a naughty devil! From the Ford Anglia to the Vauxhall Viva, Giles Chapman looks back at all of those favourite cars on British roads back in the swinging sixties.

Bizarre Cars: The Strangest Vehicles of All Time


Author: Keith Ray (Foreword by Tim Brooke-Taylor)

Publisher: The History Press Ltd (1 Dec 2013)

Featuring 160 pages of the weirdest and ugliest cars you have ever seen! These cars will not only raise a smile, but your eyebrows too. Features a foreward by ex-Goodies star Tim Brooke-Taylor. A fun read and a quirky gift idea.

Cars We Loved in the 1980s Paperback by Giles Chapman


Cars We Loved in the 1980s

Formats: Paperback or Kindle

Author: Giles Chapman

Publisher: The History Press Ltd. (1 Oct 2013)

Cars were changing dramatically in the 80s with fuel injection, turbochargers, computer-controlled systems and four-wheel drive taking the world by storm. In this fascinating book by award-winning writer Giles Chapman, you can relive everything car-related in the British Isles during the 1980s.

Cars We Loved in the 1970s Paperback by Giles Chapman


Cars We Loved in the 1970s

Formats: Paperback

Author: Giles Chapman

Publisher: The History Press Limited (1 Oct 2013)

The award-winning writer, Giles Chapman, gives us 160 pages of fascinating info on the cars that once graced the roads of Britain. Includes the Ford Capri, Renault 5, Reliant Robin and many, many more.

The Ford Capri Story

Formats: Hardcover 

Author: Giles Chapman

Publisher: The History Press Ltd. (1 Sept 2012)

The Capri was a 70s car that you either loved or hated. This temperamental beast gave boy racers the chance to realise their dreams without breaking the bank. This 128 page book from the award-winning writer Giles Chapman features lots of interesting facts and plenty of nice photos, too.

British Auto Legends: Classics of Style and Design by Michel Zumbrunn


British Auto Legends: Classic of Style and Design

Formats: Hardcover

Authors: Michale Zumbrunn and Richard Heseltine

Publisher: Merrell (15 Aug 2012)

Featuring 288 pages of fifty British cars that are regarded as being significant by the author, from 1907 to the present day. All the greats are here such as Aston Martin, Jaguar and Rolls-Royce, and there are superb photos by the award-winning photographer Michael Zumbrunn. These are certainly cars to drool over, but if you are looking for lots of technical details then look elsewhere.

My cool classic car: an inspirational guide to classic cars by Chris Haddon


My Cool Classic Car

An Inspirational Guide to Classic Cars

Formats: Hardcover

Author: Chris Hadden

Publisher: Pavillion (19 April 2012)

Now, this is a little gem! Containing 160 pages (with beautiful photography) that celebrate our love affair with the car. The authors passion for cars really shines through here, and It's nice to read a book that isn't aimed solely at petrol heads, and includes wonderful stories from owners who are truly in love with their vehicles. A great read!

100 Cars Britain Can Be Proud Of by Giles Chapman


100 Cars Britain Can Be Proud Of

Formats: Paperback

Author: Giles Chapman

Publisher: The History Press Ltd. (2 Dec 2010)

Renowned motoring history expert Giles Chapman shows us why Great Britain has an astounding record for producing exciting, ground-breaking and popular cars. As the title suggests, you'll find detailed info with lots of pictures of 100 fantastic British cars spread across the book's 192 pages.

A-Z of Cars of the 1980s

Formats: Paperback

Author: Martin Lewis

Publisher: Classic and Sports Car Magazine (Oct 1 2010)

No less than 650 cars are featured in this great value book by Martin Lewis, including illustrations and comprehensive details of each car in alphabetical order. An informative read and this would make an excellent gift for any car fanatic.

Design Museum Fifty Cars That Changed the World. Hardcover Book


Fifty Cars That Changed The World

Formats: Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover

Author: The Design Museum

Publisher: Australian Consolidated Press (5 Oct 2009)

This highly-rated book by Design Museum Enterprise Limited celebrates the most iconic cars that have had a real impact on British design. It's a quirky read that focuses more on imagery than in-depth reading, but is certainly not another run-of-the-mill car book. One nice touch is that the book itself has a nice, retro design that looks like it was printed in the 60s.

Top Gear: My Dad Had One Of Those. Hardcover Book


Top Gear: My Dad Had One of Those

Formats: Hardcover or Paperback

Authors: Giles Chapman and Richard Porter

Publisher: BBC Books (17 May 2007)

This 160 page hardback book covers old cars from the 50s to the 80s, and includes a wide-range of models. This is a real nostalgia fest compiled by Giles Chapman and Richard Porter, and it's packed with lots of photos of both British and foreign cars.