You Tell 'em- I Can't: 82 Years of Ward's "Ever-Ready" Motor Record Book

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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you tell em i can t 82 years of ward s ever ready motor record book

While nosing around in yesterday’s ’64 Valiant wagon Junkyard Find, I spotted this little brown book on the floor beneath the rifled-by-tow-truck-driver glovebox. It looked ancient, far older than even the 48-year-old car in which I found it… but it turns out that you can still buy the Ward’s “Ever-Ready” Motor Record Book.

Actually, we may be dealing with a stash of NOS copies at, but it appears that this car-recordkeeping aid was printed in relatively unchanged form— including the Model A-esque talking car and disturbing cop/book mashup cartoon characters— until at least the early 21st century (the one I found in the Valiant had a 1959 copyright date). Your tire was no bargain! Your battery is dry!

The idea was that you’d have one of these books for each year of your car’s life, and you can take notes for every day; this made more sense when spark plugs and tires didn’t last for years. As you can see, the owner of the Valiant made exactly one notation, in 1990. You don’t need to maintain an A-body, anyway.

It’s probably better to stick with 1930 artwork than to update the cartoon every 25 years or so; were the Ward’s Motor Record Book to have an ’87 Tempo begging the cop/book to enforce order, it would seem depressingly dated rather than entertainingly timeless.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

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2 of 19 comments
  • Obbop Obbop on Feb 07, 2012

    Kept track of maintenance and repairs. Not ONE buyer showed much if any interest in the written records and accompanying receipts. Was the exterior/interior pretty? Shiny? Sold. Humans are, on the whole, in general, ignorant herd creatures requiring a constitutional republic since they are incapable of self-rule. Individual exceptions exist.

  • Omnifan Omnifan on Feb 08, 2012

    I keep a small spiral notebook with maintenance and oil change data in the glovebox of each car. Comes in handy when I'm trying to remember the last time I did wiper blades, LR tire, etc. Don't both with MPG stuff cause it really doesn't matter. The buyer of my 98 Bonneville was impressed with the historical data. All of the other buyers of my old cars could care less. I keep all receipts for parts in a folder inside the house. The thermal receipts most prevalent these days do not withstand summer heat.

  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.
  • Jeff The car itself is in really good shape and it is worth the money. It has lots of life left in it and can easily go over 200k.
  • IBx1 Awww my first comment got deletedTake your “millennial anti theft device” trope and wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones keeping manuals around.
  • ToolGuy "Images © 2023 Tim Healey/TTAC; Mercedes-Benz"• I bet I can tell you which is which.