Book Recommendations

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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The Radius Kid
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by The Radius Kid » Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:07 pm

David Vizard wrote:
oldjohnno wrote:
bigjoe1 wrote:I am NOT a Smokey fan, that is for sure


JOE SHERMAN RACING
Yeah, I'm a bit baffled by the reverence he attracts from a lot of people too. I think that whatever success he enjoyed was more a result of plain old unrelenting hard work than any particular genius with engines.

He was a damn good storyteller though.
I think I felt somewhat similar about Smokey until I got to know him better toward his later life. One thing that struck me was that there was a whole layer below what the public picture of him was. After he passed I regretted not taking the opportunities open to me to spend more time with him.

I made the mistake of initially underrating him. Don't do that now.
DV
Back in the day,Smokey apparently spent a LOT of time inside the hallowed halls at GM.
I guess he knew something they wanted to hear about.
My favorite books?

The Real Man's guide.
Carroll Smith's engineer to win.
David Vizard's book on building horse power.
Harold Bette's book on engine airflow.
Hugh Macinnes book on turbocharging.
Jay Miller same subject.
Last edited by The Radius Kid on Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by user-612937456 » Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:12 pm

Good for beginners that are just getting there feet wet I recommend Thomas The Train and The Little Engine That Could. If you are more advanced than these you can't go wrong with the David Vizard Books excellent resources and references. He has a special tallent in taking engineering speak and translating it into the common layman's level of comprehension. Other than that religiously read this forum daily for a few years continuing as an invaluable resource.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by GARY C » Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:18 pm

The most intriguing thing about Smokey was his deception and his ability for misdirection, unfortunately that also makes a man that you cannot trust.

Keep in mind that all of Smokey's legends are about cheating...I don't recall one Smokey story that was surrounded by him winning in a rules legal car!

I would not be surprised to find out how much he sold to the OEM that was total BS!

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by user-612937456 » Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:35 pm

Like house says "Everybody lie's" even you when it comes to some of your competitive secret discoveries and tricks and some customers secrets

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by GARY C » Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:44 pm

gvx wrote:Like house says "Everybody lie's" even you when it comes to some of your competitive secret discoveries and tricks and some customers secrets
I DON'T. So I guess House is wrong!

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by JoePorting » Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:46 pm

I've always been a big Smokey fan. His Power Secrets book was the first hot rod book I ever read back around 1980. I still have two copies. His and Bill Jenkins "The Chevrolet Racing Engine" were two of the biggest books back then. You can still find them on ebay. I think they both got their fame by being the first to put out a great hot rod book. Most hot rod books at that time were short on details and big on pictures and chrome. Seems like you either like or hate Smokey. Wish I met the guy, but I wouldn't know what to say if I did. Would probably say something stupid.

I know a number of people who don't like him talk about how he liked to make fun of people, or give two people two different answers to the same question. There was one story in his book where someone was trying to get him to run his new spark plugs. Smokey got tired of him and decided to use his spark plugs to bolt in his radiator. When he showed the guy how he used his spark plugs, he just walked away. I guess he thought it was funny to write about, but I thought it was kind of dicky.

He always lived by the theory that "If it's not illegal, than it's legal" which I supposed pissed off alot of racers. I thought he had alot of ingenious ideas such as a 5 gallon fuel line or a basketball in the fuel tank to fill and unfill, or reconfiguring the whole car to make it smaller without making it look obvious. I guess that's cheating, but it's smart cheating. lol He'd say that it was "defensive cheating" because everybody else was cheating too.

I think he brought alot of new concepts to racing such as the whole concept of flow benching heads, to drilling holes in the top of pistons, to even developing the first double pumper carb with Holley. There's a huge list beyond that which I can't think of at the time. But his life before racing is also amazing in terms of flying bombers in WWII and developing his business in Daytona, to building cars for Indy. Not too many people can say they did the same.

Does bigjoe1 have any good (or bad) stories about Smokey?
Joe Facciano

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by GARY C » Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:57 pm

JoePorting wrote:I've always been a big Smokey fan. His Power Secrets book was the first hot rod book I ever read back around 1980. I still have two copies. His and Bill Jenkins "The Chevrolet Racing Engine" were two of the biggest books back then. You can still find them on ebay. I think they both got their fame by being the first to put out a great hot rod book. Most hot rod books at that time were short on details and big on pictures and chrome. Seems like you either like or hate Smokey. Wish I met the guy, but I wouldn't know what to say if I did. Would probably say something stupid.

I know a number of people who don't like him talk about how he liked to make fun of people, or give two people two different answers to the same question. There was one story in his book where someone was trying to get him to run his new spark plugs. Smokey got tired of him and decided to use his spark plugs to bolt in his radiator. When he showed the guy how he used his spark plugs, he just walked away. I guess he thought it was funny to write about, but I thought it was kind of dicky.

He always lived by the theory that "If it's not illegal, than it's legal" which I supposed pissed off alot of racers. I thought he had alot of ingenious ideas such as a 5 gallon fuel line or a basketball in the fuel tank to fill and unfill, or reconfiguring the whole car to make it smaller without making it look obvious. I guess that's cheating, but it's smart cheating. lol He'd say that it was "defensive cheating" because everybody else was cheating too.

I think he brought alot of new concepts to racing such as the whole concept of flow benching heads, to drilling holes in the top of pistons, to even developing the first double pumper carb with Holley. There's a huge list beyond that which I can't think of at the time. But his life before racing is also amazing in terms of flying bombers in WWII and developing his business in Daytona, to building cars for Indy. Not too many people can say they did the same.

Does bigjoe1 have any good (or bad) stories about Smokey?
I would like to see racing rules go to Safety and Tire size for the limiting factor and let the Smokey's of the world do what they do...That is how we got all of the racing goodies we get now at a fraction of the cost but sadly the rule makes have killed innovation.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by MadBill » Sat Aug 13, 2016 5:05 pm

Schurkey wrote:Number one, first and foremost: Carrol Smith's "Nuts, Bolts, Fasteners, and Plumbing". There's no point to learning how to take stuff apart and put it together if you don't have a good concept of how the fasteners work. As has been said, Carrol Smith is both expert, and a blessed writer. Humor, science, practical experience...he's good at it all. There seem to be more than one cover design and several price points, but as far as I know, the actual content is the same in all versions of this book. I tried buying the "Revised edition" and my order was cancelled--I don't think it was ever released.

https://www.amazon.com/Fasteners-Plumbi ... g+handbook

There are other fastener/hardware books--Forbes Aird, and Mavrigian each have one, John Deere has one; there may be others. The Carrol Smith book is my favorite, and by a fair margin.

The Rehr-Morrison Engine book would be an excellent high-school or maybe trade-school textbook. Too basic for me. I was disappointed in it--but still recommend it for others. I thought I bought it through SpeedTalk, but I don't see it listed in the SpeedTalk web store. Maybe I got it somewhere else.
Unfortunately, Carroll Smith should be referred to in the past tense; he passed away in 2003. :(
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by oldjohnno » Sat Aug 13, 2016 6:02 pm

Carroll Smith's "To Win..." books are available through SAE, either singly or as a set and at a lower price than Amazon etc.

Some others I've enjoyed:

"The Jack Brabham Story" by JB with Doug Nye is terrific. The interesting thing about Brabham is that he won world championships driving cars he designed and built himself (along with Ron Tauranac). So there's a lot of stuff in there related to engineering as well as racing and it's packed with brilliant photos. Something that Jack mentions (that Kevin Cameron also mentions quite a bit) is how a pragmatic approach can win races. For example Brabhams Repco V8 engine, based on an Olds block, was never going to be the ultimate F1 engine. But Brabham exploited the fact that it could be developed enough to win races in a very short time, while the opposition were still getting their more advanced designs up to speed.

Another one I enjoyed immensely was "Bluebird and the Dead Lake" by John Pearson, the story of Donald Campbells land speed record attempts at Lake Eyre in 1964. This is an old book but you'll probably find a copy at one of the online secondhand bookstores. It's an accurate firsthand account of Campbells struggles with the lake, the weather, technical challenges and his own psychological issues that developed after months of frustration. A very good story very well written.

"The Marvellous Mechanical Designs of Harry A. Miller" by Gordon Eliot White is another good one. Miller was a prolific designer in the early days of Indy and designed the engines that later became the famous Offenhauser. He also designed many marine and land speed engines as well as complete cars that wore his name. The book is in coffee table format with tons of great photos of his creations; some brilliant and some just plain odd. One of the things that stands out is just how dependant he was on his long-time associate Leo Goossen who tamed Millers initial designs into sane and workable final drawings. A great book.

"High Performance" by Robert Post is a book about drag racing like no other I've ever seen. Incredibly detailed and well researched it covers the history of drag racing from the very early days. With over 400 pages of fairly dense text Post doesn't miss a thing; he covers the drivers, the evolution of the machines, the business side, you name it and it's in there. It's the only serious look at drag racing I've come across.
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by psychomotors » Sat Aug 13, 2016 6:25 pm

Another good book is Racing Engine Preparation by Waddell Wilson & Steve Smith. I got mine from Ebay but it's available from Amazon too. Probably other sources as well.
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by MadBill » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:35 pm

The Wilson book isn't bad as a racing prep primer, but a LOT has changed since it was written in 1975, e.g. testing 1-7/8" x 36" primaries on a 510 HP @ 7000 Cup engine just doesn't seem that relevant...
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by psychomotors » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:38 pm

MadBill wrote:The Wilson book isn't bad as a racing prep primer, but a LOT has changed since it was written in 1975, e.g. testing 1-7/8" x 36" primaries on a 510 HP @ 7000 Cup engine just doesn't seem that relevant...
Neither does Smokeys book or the Grumps book , but still good "reading".
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by ZEOHSIX » Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:04 am

I have an entire library devoted to auto books. Carroll Smith, Vizard, Smokey, Jenkins, Waddell Wilson, Ligenfelter even the classic How to Hot Rod Chevrolet book has information for someone wanting to learn. Vizards books are very good at describing the processes but, Jenkins, Smokeys and Wilsons books give great details on how to sweat some of the small details to get assemblies correct, the Rick Voglen book on engine blue printing was pretty decent too, I was a customer of Larry Hollums one of the machine shops where many of the photos were taken for that book. I think a lot of knowledge is being lost by today's generation with their instant gratification attitudes towards engine building....crate motor madness.

If you just want stories, Mark Donohues book....Unfair Advantage and Paul VanValkenburgs book Chevy Racing? 14 Years of Racious Silence are great reads. The Mopar Performance books on chassis construction/engine blue printing even the old Chevy Power manuals with their motor/trans/chassis blue printing are decent too. It's quite the shame that GM no longer does competition manuals for its Gen3/4/5 motors as there is tons of bad information out there on these motors.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by autogear » Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:01 am

For a historical look at building a late 50s hot rod turned road racer, with TONS of cool pictures and a great insider look at club road racing then; Brock Yates' The Hot Rod, Resurrection of a Legend is great. The original builder of the car was also highly involved with go kart racing in there infancy.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post by Atom » Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:48 am

"Four stroke performance tuning" by A Graham Bell.
Very good and detailed book IMHO.
Negative: the pictures are not always relevant to the subject on the page.

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