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on 21 August 2009
Simplicity is always the best, if the hardest to perfect. This book is a work of art in itself, easy to peruse yet devastatingly accurate. The photographs are stunning in their clarity.

A few omissions if you believe British cars were better than they were. Nothing missing, nothing unnecessary.

Perhaps not flawless - which goes to show it was written by an individual. A jewel of a book. Should be £25 minimum!

Cars: Freedom, Style, Sex, Power, Motion, Colour, Everything
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on 8 June 2009
This is an exquisitely-produced work of art. All the chosen cars are beautifully photographed in black and white so that the reader can appreciate the scultural forms without being diverted by colour. Stephen Bayley's selection of cars is challenging and controversial, and as ever, his commentaries are carefully crafted. He obviously loves cars and is a committed aesthete.

Every car enthusiast, every industrial designer, should buy this book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 June 2013
The book is one of the not insubstantial genre of car culture glorifying tomes and definitely does a fair job in this respect. The introduction covers some main aspects of the importance of cars in culture over the previous century and of how cars themselves and car manufacturing in general developed over that period.

In this respect the book reminded me somewhat of some of the essays in Autopia: Cars and Culture - maybe not quite at the same level and not as detailed but similar in style.

The second part of the book is then composed of what the author felt were iconic or important cars of the past century, with some excellent photographs (one does not get the most of those inthe Kindle format, even if using a large device) and a very concise description of some factes of the cars the author felt important.

While one does not expect (or get) detailed technical information of the cars being covered, some more background info would certainly be helpful and a coffee table book format more suitable than the Kindle edition I got.

And as mentioned in the title, some car choices are definitely spot on, while others seem to be fairly random, and have more to do with cars the author drove or liked in the past than with real iconic pieces of automotive history (however one chooses to define that term).

So all in all a solid effort but certainly not the best of the genre. And in my opinion this is the type of book that works best in paper format (preferably large).
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on 10 October 2012
I bought this book for my 89 year old Dad who, unfortunately, has dementia. He loves it primarily for the pictures which remind him of the cars he has owned over the years, he keeps it by his side and regularly dips in. I have had a good look through and enjoyed re-living some of my old cars. It is not too technical but well-written.
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on 19 October 2015
Amusing, unusual format 'coffee table' book. Bayley dwells mainly with the impact generated by the style and physical presence of each car. Fair enough. The 86 car history begins with the Model-T of 1908 and ends with the 2003 iteration of the BMW 5 Series. (The only model which has two entries.) Apart from Bayley's entries, throughout the book there are various quotes, some prose, some poetical. The photography, all B&W, is needle-sharp and covers various interesting design features. Look elsewhere for engineering input.

The book was first published in 2009. However, the last entry was 2003. What, if anything, can we deduce from that?

On a personal note, it is nice to observe that 9 of the 86 has at one time been owned by myself, or, my immediate family. With particular reference to the Jaguar MkII and the NSU Ro80.
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on 15 October 2010
Getting on my hobby horse again, every image of every car, has a stunning quality and clarity - a credit to the photographer, and then the so called "designer" places every one across two pages and the spine. A device better suited to preventing the proper enjoyment of the book, the appreciation of the car, and to display incompetancy in book design cannot be imagined. Nevertheless, an amazingly well considered selection of the most iconic cars. I can suggest a few that should have made the final cut, however, all that are here thoroughly deserve their place. Interesting how there are very few from the '80's and '90's shown.
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on 25 July 2013
An informative and stylishly-laid out book. Good value at this price. I would recommend it to automobile fans.
The black white vehicle images are well presented.
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on 7 October 2013
If you are interested in cars and in Design, Art, Psycholgy, Philosophy then this book has it all - and is so well researched and written. Highly recommended
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on 11 September 2015
Lovely small book, great photography, a must for any "car nut"!
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on 11 June 2009
Overwrought prose and pseudo car culture stuff, but pretty in parts as a picture book. Nice photos, but too often of cars not worth photographing. See it a a source book that could lead you on to deeper research. Cars? There are some real junkers in here.
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