We've said it before and we'll say it again. The best advice to offer anyone seeking to put their knowledge of classic trucks and all things related on the fast track is for them to build a personal reference library from an assortment of good old fashioned books. Sure there's the Internet, but why increase your carbon footprint every time you fire up your 450-watt computer just to be left to the mercy of an anonymous Internet wizard. When searching information that is accurate and authoritative there's no better primary source to rely on than a book written by a reputable author.
Hot Rod Garages
As unique as the cars, trucks, and bikes hot rod builders have created, so are the shops and garages where they roll out of. In Peter Vincent's travels as an automotive photographer, with work featured in Street Rodder, Rod & Custom, and The Rodder's Journal just to mention a few, he has come to know the builders and spend time in the shops where they work. Hot Rod Garages devotes 223 color-filled pages packed with some of the coolest digs around from the basic two-car garage that has been added on, to the mega complexes of the big-buck builders. Not that the grassroots guys are working cheap, but you guys get the picture; this is some pretty neat stuff. Garage owners range from Roy Brizio and Pete Eastwood to Billy Vinther and Dale Withers with a bunch of guys in between (18 in all). Google ISBN 978-0-7603-2626-1 for more information on whatever it was we were just talking about.
Chevy Small-Block V-8
If a guy wants to gain a wealth of information about a V-8 engine there is no other engine in the world with as much known about it as the Chevrolet small-block V-8. Although the small-block Chevy engine was introduced in 1955 with 265 inches of displacement, David Lewis's interchange manual focuses on 1968-2001 because starting with the '68 year model "Chevrolet engineers made a major change in the block, crankshaft, and connecting rod areas with the large-journal small-block ... representing 33 years of small-block history and interchangeability." This book is a must-have for anyone serious about building a hot rod Chevy small-block engine for their classic truck. Google ISBN 978-07603-3166-8 for more information.
If someone in a bar called you what the original name for a Peterbilt was there's a good chance a barroom brawl would break out. From its origins as the Fageol (see, we told you) J.E. Beach does a splendid job (uh oh, here comes another bar fight) of covering the glorious history of the Peterbilt. For example we'll bet hardly anyone reading this, unless they are a hardcore Peterbilt fanatic, would know one of the latest trends on show-'n'-go Peterbilts is to install a hydraulic front bumper. Just like when you air-out a classic pickup on airbags to make it lay out while it's parked, a hydraulic bumper drops to the ground and looks as cool as a trailer load of cucumbers that just fell out onto Interstate 90 in the wintertime. If you're semi crazy like us then you need to pick up a copy of this fine book today. Google ISBN 978-0-7603-3269-6 and all of your Peterbilt dreams will come true (sleeper mouse not included).