David Arnouts Book Review – The Drive: Custom Cars and Their Builders

“The Drive: Custom Cars and Their Builders”


David Arnouts


For the first of our Car Revs Daily Essential Summer Reading Collection, we have “The Drive: Custom Cars and Their Builders.” This book is a formidable 400 page publication by German publisher Gestalten. It explores a wide array of vehicles, automotive enthusiasts and their respective cultures across the globe.

As far as a book goes, its physical dimensions, weighty heft and matte finish paper are pleasantly tactile and indicative of its high quality. It’s a great conversation starter, whether left on the shelf or out on the coffee table. Throughout the review process, many of my family members and friends were drawn to the colorful spreads.

There are essays on notable people and cultural influences, from the likes of Ed Roth and George Barris to Japanese street culture (viz. Rauh Welt, Liberty Walk, etc.), classic hot rods (The Race of Gentlemen), salt-flat racers and the Los Angeles lowrider phenomenon. There is no shortage of quality content here.

For those readers looking for the finer details, there is a spec sheet on each feature vehicle and its components. It lists out notable modifications without going so far down the rabbit hole that you lose interest. For those more visually bent, it’s easy to gloss over the text and appreciate the high quality photography, starting with the hardcover exterior.

While not without its foils (a few minor kerning and spelling errors were found), they are minor enough to not be distracting. The passion and focus is on the vehicles, just as it should be. I will happily overlook a couple errors as the overall quality is perhaps one of the best this author has been exposed to in some time. This isn’t Gestalten’s first rodeo, and it shows.

The fact that the book lacks an index can be frustrating for the comprehensive readers. That does, however, allow the chance to return to certain subjects and perhaps stumble upon a previously undiscovered and intriguing feature. I felt the constant urgency to read “just one more” before putting it down.

If you are looking to add a beautiful, informative and entertaining book that covers the gamut of car culture, special builds and the people behind them to your collection, then order yourself a copy ofThe Drive: Custom Cars and Their Builders.”

Title: “The Drive: Custom Cars and Their Builders”

Publisher: Gestalten

Hardcover with Matte-Finish Paper

Pages: 400

Dimensions: 12.1” X 1.5” X 10.8”

Price: $69

Purchase Link: http://usshop.gestalten.com/books/the-drive.html

ISBN-13: 978-3899556513

About Gestalten:

Gestalten is best known for its more than 600 books about contemporary creative culture, the majority of which are conceived in house. They document and anticipate vital movements in design, lifestyle, illustration, architecture, fashion, photography, travel and art. Providing both inspiration and practical value, they explore new creative fields in ways not yet seen before.

Image Gallery Order

Cover Image

Jet Hot Image

Rauh Welt Image

Lowrider Image

Image captions:

Larry Chen, The Drive, 2016

Fuller Moto, The Drive, 2016

Rauh Welt Begriff, The Drive, 2016

Jesse Valadez, The Drive, 2016

Video Preview URL: https://vimeo.com/168609925


David pursues his passion of automotive journalism with Car Revs Daily in his free time. His previous work includes positions with AutoWeek magazine, Automobili Lamborghini, Edelbrock and multiple motorsports teams.

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