I'm not much of a Chevy guy, but I am a freak for books with factory photos of concepts and actual production models.
The author of this book annoyed me with his barfingly partisan Chevrolet leanings, and I found his fawning over Studebakers to be a bit odd given it is a book about Generic Motor's biggest seller. His name is John Robertson and he was lucky enough to be supported in his family (principally by his father) in his interest in cars. He started off right, his first car was a Model A he bought for $20, but he bought a '37 Chev and went downhill from there. He worked as a clay modeler at Chrysler and eventually worked for Jam Handy, a company that made films and slides for Chevrolet showcasing their products.
Since John worked for Jam Handy, he had the GM photo archives at his fingertips essentially, and he put it to good use. There are pictures in here that got me really jazzed about the book. I really liked the format, big pictures without the usual lame magazine superlatives that you see today. Hell, you could reuse the same article from out of today's car magazines and just switch the picures and car specs. But I digress, it is an easy read, clearly of the coffee table variety, simple nosegay, but worth it. Written descriptions are concise, but a bit too partisan when pictures of Fords are shown and wonky with Studes. Clearly his personal preferences are annoyingly close to the surface in this book, but I am willing to overlook that because of the treasure trove of pictures and information.
Again, I love concept photos, and I'm not talking about the wild ones from the late '50s, but of what might have been, subtle changes that would have either been dogs or monster hits, we will never know because history did not play out that way. I'd use them for customizing ideas if I had a Chevy of the era covered in this book. Another neat feature of this book is the addition of some pictures of obscure options that would be swap meet gold today. I'll name two that really sent me; a vacuum powered bumper jack that looks like a Rube Goldberg invention, and the "spinner" steering wheel. The spinner was a conventional wheel that had a ring on the left inside spoke of a three spoke wheel. Inside this ring was a bar that would surely have had to have roller bearings on each end inside a track, if you will, inside the ring. That would allow the driver to turn the wheel without ever taking his hand off the wheel as if he had a necker's knob on there. Imagine a compass with it's needle spinning and you will see what I mean.
This book does an excellent job of explaining the nuances that make each year unique on these Chevies, a must have for restorer's, the one's who just want to know, and the anal retentive-date stamp checking purists. Hot rodders will not see any speed parts or read any glory stories about stovebolts, although, there are some cool pics of the early Corvette Blue Flame inlines. Another thing I liked were the pictures of displays, dealerships, and new model shows - back in the day you would got to the Waldorf-Astoria to see what Detroit was putting out that year.
Yes, this is the consummate car lover's book, lots of pictures and cool trivia that will stump the power parking, lawn chair, gold chainers. They won't believe half of what you could tell them about their recent purchase.
So, inspite of my being annoyed by his anti-Ford bigotry, I heartily endorse this book for what it is: a book you won't be able to put down until you have read it from cover to cover. I have read it at least five times in two weeks.