Car Book Review: Day One
Marty Schorr's muscle-car memoir tells the story from the trenches.
Few people have gotten their finger nails as dirty during the muscle car era as Marty Schorr. As the editor of High-Performance CARS magazine, Marty had the honor of driving all the great cars you and I dream about, including prototypes at proving grounds and a number of “day two” vehicles that stand among the most collectible in the hobby today.
Marty recently published Day One: An Automotive Journalist’s Muscle-Car Memoir, one of several he’s written over the past few years. With a foreword by the recently departed Joe Oldham (himself an alum of High-Performance CARS and its sister titles), Day One is an authentic memoir of an upstart New York publication and its editor who played David to battle Petersen’s Goliath as he vied for “newsstand display space, advertising revenue, and the hearts of enthusiasts.”
The book is arranged as follows:
Chapter 1: America’s love affair with speed, through the 1950s.
Chapter 2: Royal Publications, the dawn on CARS – Super Stocks – Customs magazine, and how an enthusiast photographer became editor and, added editorial director to his title in 1965.
Chapter 3: Motion Performance and Marty’s association with Joel Rosen and Baldwin Chevrolet, plus other “Day 2” creations.
Chapter 4: Overview of 1962, with plenty of vintage photos on the race track.
Chapter 5: Overview of 1963, with competition upping the ante till General Motors leaves racing. There’s also a nice section on the Chrysler Turbine car.
Chapter 6: Overview of 1964, “The Year of the Supercar.” With GTOs, Hemis, and Mustangs, Detroit goes in overdrive.
Chapter 7: Overview of 1965, as other vehicles join the GTO’s lead.
Chapter 8: Overview of 1966, as all manufacturers now have all their ducks in a row (although Ford’s OHC 427 became “an engine in search of a car”).
Chapter 9: Overview of 1967, with new pony cars, new homologation specials, and new image leaders from Mopar.
Chapter 10: Overview of 1968, which reflects an explosion of high-performance vehicles, from AMC pony cars to Super/Stock Mopar racers.
Chapter 11: Overview of 1969, with NASCAR specials, Supercars Annual ’69, and Zora’s what-if. THE high point of the era?
Chapter 12: Overview of 1970, with bigger engines, new pony cars, and a calm before the storm.
Chapter 13: Overview of 1971 – the “turning point” as “the handwriting was on the wall loud and clear.”
Chapter 14: Overview of 1972, the first year for low-compression engines across the board. How did they fare?
Chapter 15: Overview of 1973-74, as Pontiac saves the day yet leaves Hi-Performance CARS with egg on its face.
Day One is not like the other car books out there because there's only one guy could have written it – you can't get that from all those Brand X retrospectives that keep on coming out. Plus, along with Joe Oldham’s Muscle Car Confidential, Day One helps make a fine one-two punch that waxes poetic about American high performance when it was at its peak.
Day One: An Automotive Journalist’s Muscle-Car Memoir is published by Motorbooks, ISBN-13: 978-0760352366.