What every woman should know
…about her car
This quaint relic was written by a woman who worked in an auto shop for most of her life and wrote this as a help for those “liberated” women who want to take real ownership of their cars. According to the introduction, Jackson wrote this book so women would feel comfortable talking to the men that run the world of autos. This book includes safety tips, basic maintenance, purchasing a car, and how to prevent being ripped off by unethical mechanics. This is a great idea, especially for the time. The execution, though, is a bit condescending, even for 1974.
Aside from the tone, the organization and contents are actually pretty good. The author provides a detailed vocabulary (more than 15 pages of terms) and some basic diagrams. It reminded me of a “Cars for Dummies” kind of book. It is the ridiculous illustrations that hurt this book’s appeal. I am sure that the editorial gang over at Chilton’s thought that “the girls” would dig the cute cartoons. Since I was a teen girl in 1974, I can safely say I would have thought it was ridiculous and insulting.
‘People at Work’
The Car Makers
Holly and I are metro Detroiters and both of us are married to auto engineers. Actually, a disproportionate number of librarians seem to be married to engineers around here… I wonder if that is some kind of cosmic force of nerdiness?
Today’s choice is a Ladybird book from the old days. I became a Ladybird fan when I was in Britain for a couple of years in the mid 90s. My kids loved these books and I liked that they actually had a bit more meat than similar nonfiction titles. Of course my auto engineer would probably take this book and create a detailed diagram of how manufacturing has changed since this was published.
I was looking through the book and noticed the back and forth use of women vs. girls. I guess they weren’t sure at the time.
How To Sell Your Car for More Than It’s Worth
Not a bad book for the times. The advice is pretty basic and sensible from what I can see. Advice on cleaning, detailing and minor repairs is probably still relevant but selling cars on your own is quite different with the advent of the Internet. I kept thinking that no amount of help from this book would be able to get you anything on some of the those spectacular examples of automotive design, such as the AMC Pacer, Chevy Vega and the Ford Pinto. One of my pals from college had a “lovely” Ford Pinto that was on its last legs and she insisted it was not going to explode. I think this particular car died sometime around 1983 and is probably a hunk of rust in a landfill in central Illinois.
PS. This led to a discussion of the worst cars at my house and I stumbled on this Time Magazine article from 2007 if you have a need to relive some of the more awful moments in auto history.