Monday, April 18, 2016

Cars, Boats & Little Motorcycles

Cars, Boats & Little Motorcycles

These three books in the Nonfiction in a Fictional Style Series form a triad of extensive research on popular recreational vehicles in America.  

Ker-Splash 2 is an update of the first Ker-Splash, published in 2002. A lot changed in the boating world between 2002 and 2010. All the information contained in the earlier volume has been updated and included in Ker-Splash 2.

The Tiddler Invasion is the complete story of how Honda and other Japanese motorcycle manufacturers transformed the American motorcycle marketplace in 1959-75. No other book, or motorcycle magazine, even from the '60s, has covered this subject matter in such detail.

Daydreams in the Wind (just released this month) is a sequel to Plastic Ozone Daydream, written in 1985-99 and published in 2000. Whereas the 2000 book was mostly about classic Corvettes, this latest release is so much more! For starters, it is in a larger format with about twice the word count and almost ten times the photo count. All the photos are much larger and the book is printed on higher quality paper. Daydreams in the Wind is the result of almost four full years of cumulative research, composition and editing. All the two-seat and 2+2 sports convertibles sold in the USA in a substantial production volume in the 1955-75 period are covered. Production numbers and significant specifications are detailed in numerous tables. This book would be an invaluable tool to take to any collector car auction. Not only is it full of facts and figures about the cars displayed on the auction block, this book is highly entertaining reading to boot! If you are considering the purchase of any of these cars, from any source or in any condition, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Interview with Jay Leno

Jay Leno: Settle down now, folks... settle down. Our first guest tonight is noted author of books about cars and motorcycles, Floyd M. Orr. Let's welcome Floyd to the show.

Floyd M. Orr: Thank you, Jay! I'm thrilled to be here!

Jay: I'm glad I am finally getting to meet the author of The Tiddler Invasion: Small Motorcycles of the Sixties. That was one whopper of a book! A new era was created when Honda brought its first motorcycles to America in 1959. No book has better told that fun and exciting story from our youth when so many youngsters met the nicest people on a Honda! Some of our audience may not know that Floyd wrote an unusual, somewhat humorous, book about classic Corvettes back in 2000 called Plastic Ozone Daydream: The Corvette Chronicles. The book was a wild and crazy compilation of stories, based mostly on facts, about the ownership of older model Corvettes. Floyd, I understand you have just completed a new book for car lovers...

Floyd: That's right, Jay. It's called Daydreams in the Wind. It's something of a sequel to Plastic Ozone Daydream. The subtitle is Collectible Open Sports Cars of the Sixties and it covers a lot more ground, so to speak, than my first book. This is my eighth, by the way.

Jay: I love the cover. It has a nice shot of a light metallic blue XK-E Roadster. Of course you know I have my own E-Type and it's a very special car to me. 

Floyd: I bet you have more than one! Yes, Jay, the Jaguar E-Type is one of the models covered extensively in the book. Others include the Corvettes, of course, all the MG's, Austin-Healeys, Porsches, Mustangs, Camaros, Barracudas, Triumphs, Fiats, Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, and most any other brand you can name from the 1955-75 era. These include some you may have forgotten, such as Monteverdi, Intermeccanica, or Excalibur. As long as the top was removable and featured no more than 2+2 seating, all models are included. 

Jay: The book is only 540 pages. How could you possibly have covered so many facts, figures, and photos of so many models in that space?

Floyd: Well, something had to be sacrificed. I began this project four years ago and it took a while to settle on the final configuration of the book. It became necessary to cover only two-seat and 2+2 sports models with standard removable tops. Optional T-tops or sunroofs were excluded, along with all coupes, hardtops, fastbacks and hatchbacks. Fans with muscle car mania in their veins will have to look elsewhere for information on the zillions of Intermediate-based musclecar coupes.

Jay: You're referring to the Pontiac GTO, Chevrolet SS 396, Plymouth Road Runner....

Floyd: Yes, there were just too many of 'em! Too many produced, too many different models, engines, performance packages, and on and on. The pony car coupes presented a similar problem. They generally outnumbered their convertible equivalents 10 to 1. My decision several years ago was to concentrate on the cars I love best, which happen to also be the models that are generally the most sought after by enthusiasts and collectors.

Jay: So except for the closed models and the larger musclecars, every topless sports model from the 1955-75 production period is covered?

Floyd: Yes, and then some. Many models began production prior to 1955 and many others continued in production beyond that point. However, I cut off the book's coverage at 1990 for all models. All the cars in the book, as produced prior to 1991, are officially considered antiques in most states. I felt that was as good a cutoff point as any. The bulk of the material concerns that wonderful era so many car enthusiasts love-- between World War II and catalytic converters!

Jay: Is this a coffee table book with lots of pretty pictures in a large format?

Floyd: Not at all, Jay. It's just the opposite. It's a 7x10 paperback with over 300 B&W photos and more than a hundred large tables of data. The photos are there for information, not to drool over shiny paint jobs. Most photos include captions of pertinent information about the specific model being discussed. Daydreams in the Wind is mostly a reference book, although like my previous books, it offers pleasurable reading with stories and opinions, too. You could call it an ID Guide or an encyclopedia, but for enthusiasts, this stuff is just plain fun to read!

Jay: So what inspired you to devote four years of your life to such a project? Aren't there already countless books out on this subject... and oh, the Internet?

Floyd: That is precisely the problem, Jay. Most of the best books have been out of print for decades. The Internet? Give me a break. Don't you know that everything you read on the Internet is true?

Jay: Yes, there does seem to be that, shall we say, little problem. Sometimes an incorrect statement on a single blog can magically multiply into the gospel truth. You obviously know what I mean.

Floyd: I do, Jay, and that's why I felt compelled to complete this massive project. I have a large number of car books and magazines on my shelves, but I wanted to create the ultimate car book for myself. Much of my personal library has been out of print for decades. I have gray hair, too, and I have been retired for a number of years. Few writers want to devote their time to what is currently a shrinking market. Not only is the economy a disaster for many of us, but the the number of us who are old enough to remember the wonderful era of The Sixties is shrinking rapidly!

Jay: So where can people buy the book?

Floyd: It should be out within about a week, maybe less. The best place to get it is Amazon worldwide. The list price is $29.95, but Amazon may discount that price at certain times. You know how they are. After four years of meticulous research and editing, the price will justify itself. As far as I know, no book about sports convertibles of that era published for a U.S. readership has included so many production figures, specifications, and experienced opinions, all rolled into a single volume.