The freedoms provided by those wheels—the gate opening, never to be closed—is a key life-passage covered in a unique form by author Matt Stone. His is a compilation of the first cars owned by famous names and organized by groups like Mario Andretti in the "Racers," and "Titans of the Auto Industry" such as Carroll Shelby.
Each is given their own chapter in his five major categories though Arnold Palmer's abbreviated contribution would make one of those "Like me" emails seem long. Maybe it is because his first car, a 1949 Ford, is out-classed with his new wheels, those that roll under his "... favorite mode of transportation ...my Citation 10 jet."
In the category covering "Stars of Stage, Screen, and Sound," Steve McQueen stands tall because his first "motorized thing" was not a four-wheeler but rather an Indian motorcycle outfitted with a sidecar.
This motorhead-turned-actor's early love for motorcycles was a prelude to his infamous getaway scene in the historic movie "The Great Escape." McQueen daringly takes a Triumph TR6 Trophy over hill-and-dale while stunt-friend and Triumph dealer, Bud Elkins, makes the iconic big-fence jump for freedom.
Earlier in his career, McQueen coveted an MG TC. Stone describes: "Not long after arriving in The Big Apple, he began studying acting. Soon, he was performing ... A traveling production of 'Time Out for Ginger' brought him to Columbus, Ohio, where he found the MG. Between his pay and poker winnings, McQueen saved up $450. But the owner was asking $750."
Stone provides the happy conclusion to the cost dilemma McQueen faced, and in doing so offers an inner glimpse to this complex man. The point? That is exactly what each chapter provides ... human insights based on these very personal life-stories of public figures.
Additional categories include "Athletes" such as the beautiful Natalie Gulbis (youngest LPGA player, 14 at the time) who surprisingly still works on motorcycles with her dad but owned (and still does) a 1983 Ford Bronco as her "first."
Then comes "The Rest of the Pack" including famous names like John Glenn, Andy Warhol—at age 56 learning to drive, "(He) smashed (his used Rolls-Royce) into a taxi.
Then there is Hugh Hefner.
Hefner's story is intriguing for a number of reasons, like the fact his 1941 Chevy Coupe "reminds (him) of the car Columbo used to drive." The coupe died in the middle of the road the very day his publication first went on sale in a typical entrepreneurial tale of woe. His public image belies the hardships he bore when launching his empire.
Through the lives of 67 drivers, including the author (a '71 442 "Big Blue" Olds), the reader breezily tracks all things with wheels and their history. Suddenly, though, at some point around page 63 and super-car collector Glenn Mounger's story, one will realize their personal emotions are becoming entangled with the book's profound insights of lore.
Readers will encounter moments such as racing right along with drag racing reality show "Pinks" creator, Rich Christensen. He explained his life growing up in Hampton, Iowa, as "Think Mayberry RFD with a Chevy straight six."
To make these stories come to life on the pages of a book takes deep experience; Stone is the perfect author to have conceived and written "My First Car." As a former editor of "Motor Trend Classic" and editor of "Motor Trend," Stone has been writing about cars since 1985. Now he is also heard at SPEED's Barrett-Jackson Auction.
His other books include "365 Cars You Must Drive", "McQueen's Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon," "The Ferrari Phenomenon: An Unexpected View of the World's Most Charismatic Cars," and his fascination with the Viper requiring two separate editions.
Stone's writing catalog provides material for a captivating reading list suitable in any year.
Give MBI Publishing their kudos for providing Stone a platform to get these books published while polishing them with their stylistic methods. They are proud that "for over 45 years, Motorbooks has published award-winning books by the world's most talented authors and photographers ..."
Packed with 124 photographs in 224 pages, "My First Car" begs to be enjoyed now, long before one becomes the subject of a follow-on edition: "My Last Car."
For more Matt Stone book information: http://bit.ly/ugNJsy
MBI Publishing: www.motorbooks.com