The people that predicted the end of the book were massively wide of the mark. In recent years not only have there been some great automotive books released but the sales of hard copy ‘proper’ books are on the rise again.

There have been so many corkers lately that I thought I’d group a few of them together.

Two of them have come from The Crowood Press (I’m currently ‘building’ a book called ‘Caterham Cars – The Complete History’ for them!) in the shape of ‘Lotus Elise and Exige’ by occasional TKC Mag contributor Johnny Tipler.

It is a beautifully produced in-depth history of both iconic Lotus models and a great addition to your bookshelf in my humble view.


Also, from Crowood comes ‘Allard – The Complete Story’ by Alan Allard and Lance Cole. Although he never produced kitcars per se, company founder, Sydney Allard was a proper grassroots engineer and a very talented and innovative one at that.

Allard produced just short of 2000 of their own cars plus the production of David Gottlieb’s microcar, the Clipper in 1954.

Sydney was also the man who brought drag racing to the UK as well as being an early pioneer of the speed shop tuning parts concept.

In this great book, the full story of the cars is told by Cole and Sydney’s son, Alan having read it eagerly it really is the complete story of an underrated English marque. Available now at £40 via

Tipping Point

The final of our three highlighted books is a self-published effort called ‘Tipping Point – Designing A Great British Underdog’ by Andy Plumb. It is a real beauty and an admirable look at the history of the Reliant Robin and Regal as well as everything else produced by Reliant.

Plumb is a former Reliant engineer and designer (indeed, Andy designed the last Reliant models ever produced including the Robin Mk3) in this entertaining book he goes to great detail and clearly has a passion for the subject. I always thought that the brilliant Elvis Payne had covered the Reliant story in definitive fashion in his books but this one is in my view equally as essential written by someone who cares for and clearly knows the history of the company and various facets of the Tamworth maker very well.

My advice is to grab a copy while you still can. You can search for it at eBay and Etsy among other outlets. It’s a bargain at £34.99, in my view.