Merchants of Speed: The Men Who Built America's Performance Industry

By Paul D. Smith
(Motorbooks - $40.00) - 240 pages

Anyone who has ever looked at their car or boat or truck and wished it would just go a little bit faster owes a debt to the men profiled in Paul Smith’s fantastic new book, and anyone who’s at all interested in the performance parts industry, whether out of professional interest, or to learn a little bit about who designed all those expensive parts lurking beneath their car hood owes it to themselves to check it out.

From people and companies who continue to lead and innovate the industry, such as Ed Iskendarian, Hal Crane and others, to those who made their mark early and then left the spotlight like Nick Brajevich, Smith lavishes attention on each person he profiles, digging deep into their past to find the roots of their success. Unlike many similar tomes that seek to cover an entire spectrum of people but wind up shortchanging all, Smith gives every man his due, and takes plenty of time to do so.

Each chapter tells the story of one man, or group of men, who in one way or another laid the foundation for the performance parts industry. Rather then rush through, Smith takes his time, letting each story unfold at its own pace and illustrating these tales with photographs and artwork to aid in the telling, a refreshing change of pace that makes this book a true joy to read, even for the uninitiated. Over 200 photos reside within the pages, each one crisp and clear, and perfectly chosen to illuminate the tales.

In the end, the determining factor as to whether or not to purchase this book comes down to this: Do you want to go fast?

Click here to purchase it from Amazon.com.

A copy of this book was given to us for review purposes.