By on December 1, 2011

It’s that time of year, with the clock ticking on your shopping for Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa and the ease of buying books online makes them such low-hassle gifts. You want to give that special car-freak on your gift list a nice coffee-table book, but everybody’s coffee table seems to be creaking beneath the weight of books full of photos of gleaming classic/exotic cars. Boring! The solution: this book full of photos of abandoned cars!
I admit it, I’m a sucker for beat-to-hell, forgotten cars in desolate landscapes.
Author Shiers drove all over the continental United States and shot cars in junkyards, on farms, near abandoned gas stations, and all manner of picturesque locations. The Upper Midwest and desert Southwest get special attention, but there’s at least one shot from each region of the country.
Each photo has a caption describing the scene in which the car was captured on film, plus a bit of the car’s historical background.
Shiers has the photography skills to make the whole package work; I’ve been through this book more than once (while other review books sit for months in my on-deck stack) and it’s going to live in a high-traffic spot on my office bookshelf.
Technically, this isn’t a true coffee-table book, in that it’s a large paperback, but who cares when you can get it for just $14.99.
I’m going to give this one a four-rod rating (out of a possible five OM617 rods). Murilee says check it out!

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20 Comments on “Book Review: Roadside Relics by Will Shiers...”

  • avatar

    Looking at those pictures is like looking at my past as a fossil. Is that Buick a ’49? It sure looks like the old Buick my parents had in my earliest car memories.

  • avatar

    Nobody else did tailfins like Plymouth/Dodge/Chrysler did tailfins.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a teacher in middle school that drove one of those things. I remember looking out the classroom window and, even then, when it was that close to current, thinking, “Those are some damn big fins!”

  • avatar

    Because this has never been done before. hasn’t Veloce released two of these already this year?

    And will you be posting any of the parts involving photography skills?

    Sorry, I like Shiers a lot, but this has been done to death and beyond.

  • avatar

    We continue to offer a monthly Fallen Stars section on our site because people seem to love these pre-crushed and broken dreams. It is our toughest section to produce because they have disappeared so rapidly over the years.

  • avatar

    I’ll have to get this to help relive my childhood. I grew up in West By God Virginia and you mmeasured a man’s wealth by the number of junk cars in his yard. We were poor since we only had two.

    • 0 avatar

      I used to have a few good shots of abandoned cars from North Central WV. Well, they were good subjects, anyway… I certainly don’t claim to be an expert photog. A once-yellow early ’50s bathtub Lincoln off Route 119 near Rivesville and a first-gen Toronado that was half tree and moss off Route 50 about ten miles from Bridgeport. Lost the pics in a computer crash, sadly. I can still see them in my mind, though.

      I, too, love abandoned man-made objects.

  • avatar

    Oh, sh**, Murilee, if it gets four out of five rods, I’m going to have to buy it, or steal it, or something.

  • avatar

    1950 “Sedanolet” model from when bumpers and grilles were integrated — like now.

  • avatar

    Couple of observations from someone who was just a kid when most of these were new..

    RE the yellow Hudson, there is a pristine version of that car in Watsonville, CA. I shudder to see it parked on the street. Trim would be VERY hard to find–Best of all it’s a tritone, salmon, grey and black if I recall.

    The cover car is pretty depressing. Think about the huge styling differences between that one and the ones 4 years later-and everyone on the block knew you had Last Years Model before it was close to being paid for.

    OTOH I’d love to have a ’57 Desoto-at least the styling was integrated front to back with a pleasing visual theme. Mopar stuff from ’60-62 was incredibly disjointed.

  • avatar

    The cover car is truly hideous, as early ’60’s Mopars were. I see there is a ’65 Chevy 4-door sedan, but probably Bel Air trim.

  • avatar

    Thanks, TAC, for again, taking an interest in dead or aging cars. It’s deep.

  • avatar

    Sure… no mention of or sympathy/empathy for the ridiculed working-class chap whose daily driver is pictured as a non-running heap.

  • avatar

    if it was a non-running heap, it couldn’t by definition be a daily driver—but I get your point. My last DD soldiered on to 415K and looked horrible before I retired it..

  • avatar

    This was originally a coffee table book, as I got a hardcover copy for Christmas a few years ago. Great book, definitely a keeper.

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