TTAC Commentator Pete Zaitcev writes:
I am reading a rather interesting book right now, “Owner Assisted Aircraft Maintenance” by Dan MacDonald. It discusses the maintenance tasks that an airplane owner can perform without being a licensed Airframe & Powerplant mechanic. This got me wondering if a book exists that deals with the maintenance of a 20 to 30-year-old car in general.
Obviously, there is a Haynes manual, but it assumes a certain familiarity with the topic, into which a new owner of an obsolete car needs to be inducted. An auto maintenance textbook for a vocational school may be too heavy a reading for an owner. Do you think a book like this makes sense, and does it exist?
This question got surprisingly personal. So let’s do this thing.
A gentleman named John Muir made a book just like this, but I think the days of books covering everything about a make and model are dead and gone. Why do I say that? Because most 20 to 30-year-old cars are no VW Beetle, they are too damn complicated. Emissions bits, obsolete parts you’ll never get outside of a junkyard or eBay, and complicated electrics that require a lot of background information to accurately fix. And while it gets easier as you get into the 1990s, there’s one reason a book like this isn’t necessary.
Forums: Automotive make and model specific forums. They cover the granular detail, the general knowledge and everything in between. And on the forums you will find people doing it all in one fell swoop, a full restoration of whatever vehicle you’d like. Even something insane like a 1983 Lincoln Continental Valentino, like me. I don’t even know where to start: perhaps telling you that this project’s been in the planning stages for well over a decade is a good idea. And telling you that there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I’ve forgotten about my Lincoln may be a little creepy…but it’s the truth.
Welcome to my Madness.
Believe it or not, one day I plan on writing the definitive book on the Ford Fox Body, including a bit on my savings account destroying, nut and bolt restoration of my Continental Valentino.
And perhaps I hope no one buys it, just to prove my point.
Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.