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"This story kept my attention from beginning to end, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page."

Read Glen Smale's review of The Unfair Advantage on PorscheRoadandRace.com or learn more about it on our bookstore webpage.

 

The Unfair Advantage

The Unfair Advantage

by Mark Donohue
with Paul van Valkenburgh

List price: $34.95

Now Available !

Here's the text of the review by Glen Smale, or just follow the link to read it on PorscheRoadandRace.com

 

 

The Unfair Advantage

 

 

The story of Mark Donohue’s racing achievements has been told in numerous magazine articles over the years. His achievements too, in the famous #6 Sunoco Porsche 917/30 in the 1973 Can-Am series, have been similarly covered many times. But until I read The Unfair Advantage, I had little knowledge of Donohue’s struggle through the various other racing cars and series that he competed in between 1958 and 1975.

Reading The Unfair Advantage recently, I discovered just what a down-to-earth guy Donohue was. His manner and his approach to anything that he tackled, whether small or large, was the same – he was thorough to the nth degree. In short, Mark Donohue was the sort of guy you would want to have as a buddy, because he would just as soon help you fix your soapbox as help you take the engine out of your race car.

There is no doubt that Donohue’s mechanical engineering studies helped him to develop an analytical approach to problem solving, which in turn made him an invaluable asset to the Penske organisation.

Together with work colleague and friend, Paul van Valkenburgh, the pair recorded on tape approximately 150,000 words covering Mark’s life as a racer. Van Valkenburgh then knocked that into shape so that the reader could enjoy this unparalleled story of pain, growth and glory. The author of the book, Paul van Valkenburgh, is quick to point out that he merely moved a few words around here and there, to make the story that much more readable. All of which just goes to show that Donohue dictated the narrative pretty much as you see it.

What makes this account of Donohue’s story so refreshing, is the fact that he is so honest in admitting when he made a mistake or messed up. This is so uncommon in today’s society where people are quick to look for someone else to blame in order not to look bad, because it may negatively affect their image. Donohue analyses the races he competed in, telling the reader where he blew it, or where he was able to get one up on the rest of the field.

The title of the book comes from his hard work in trying to improve the cars he raced in order to gain an advantage, or as he put it, an unfair advantage – hence the name of the book. The writer, or rather Mark Donohue himself, explains how they tested and retested numerous cars, exploring ways in which the team could improve their chances on the track. You have to take your hat off to Roger Penske, who in all of this, never wavered in his belief and support for Donohue, and this no doubt played a big part in building his confidence on the track.

The book is written mostly in chapters that cover a year at a time, so that the reader can follow Donohue’s progress and development with ease. Donohue was also quick to give credit and praise where this was due, especially to his faithful chief mechanic, John Woodard, but he would equally not suffer fools who he came across on the track.

As van Valkenburgh pointed out in his introduction, Mark Donohue was not born a great racing driver, but that over time, with much hard work, he became a great racing driver. Having spoken with racing drivers and others who were around when Donohue was racing, you are left with no doubt that he was just like the guy next door. And couldn’t we do with a few more like him today!

If there is one thing that I was slightly disappointed with in this book, it is that there is no final chapter given to explain the circumstances surrounding the very untimely and tragic accident that took his life. It isn’t that, as readers of this type of book we are not aware of when or where he died, but it would have rounded off a truly engaging story of a great racing driver, in a respectful way.

I am sorry I was not able to buy a copy of the hardcover edition of this book when it was originally published in 1975, but the new softcover edition is enhanced with 100 new photos, as well as a preface written by Mark’s two sons, Michael and David. A chronology of Mark Donohue’s racing career is also included.

This story kept my attention from beginning to end, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. If you are interested in historic racing today, or an avid follower of Porsche racing history, or simply a motorsport enthusiast, this book will satisfy all your needs. You don’t want to miss getting a copy of this new edition, if you, like me, missed out first time round.

Key Information

TitleThe Unfair Advantage
AuthorsMark Donohue with Paul van Valkenburgh
PublisherBentley Publishing
Published2000
ISBN978-0-8376-0069-7
Pages & images368 pages; 53 color/62 B&W photos
Format155.5mm (6 1/8 in.) x 235mm (9 1/4 in.)
CoverSoftcover
LanguageEnglish
Price$34.95

Written by: Glen Smale



". . . Siegel has a gift for breaking down complex ideas into easily understood language."

It's always great to get an endorsement from a venerable magazine like Hemmings Classic Car. 

Read the review below and find out more about the Mechanical Ignition Handbook by Rob Siegel on our website.

Mechanical Ignition Handbook

Mechanical Ignition Handbook: The Hack Mechanic Guide to Vintage Ignition Systems

by Rob Siegel

List price: $22.95

Now Available !

 

 

"This is one of those cornerstone books that will get pulled off the shelf over and over."

 Check out the Speedreaders.info review, or learn more about Classic Racing Engines by Karl Ludvigsen on our bookstore webpage.

 

Classic Racing Engines

Classic Racing Engines: Expert Technical Analysis of Fifty of the Greatest Motorsport Power Units: 1913-1994

by Karl Ludvigsen

List price: $79.95

Now Available !

Here's the text of the review by Sabu Advani, or just follow the link to read it on Speedreaders.info

Classic Racing Engines

Expert Technical Analysis of Fifty of the Greatest Motorsport Power Units 1913–1994

by Karl Ludvigsen

 

“I may as well admit it. If I were ever selected for a landing party to another planet my first request on arriving would be, ‘Take me to your racing-engine builders.’
I love racing engines and I love visiting and talking to the people who make them.”  – Karl Ludvigsen

 

Before you break out the champagne to toast a new automotive title by this author—something Ludvigsen years ago said wasn’t going to happen anymore because he’s now into aero topics—realize that this is not a new book! In fact, chances are you have it already, because absolutely no serious motorsports library would have street cred without it.

The new edition is nominally some 30 pages longer, has a different ISBN (was: 978-18596) and a slightly different subtitle but is really the same book. First published in 2001 by the now-defunct Haynes this is one of several titles that Bentley in the US has taken over to keep in print. Thank goodness—since this is one of those cornerstone books that will get pulled off the shelf over and over—it is still a hardcover which reprints rarely are. (Bentley, by the by, does have dibs on a future car book Ludvigsen is still committed to, the companion volume/s to his epic Corvette – ?America’s Star-Spangled? Sports Car published by this house in 2014.)

The book covers in chronological order 50 mostly European engines along with some Japanese and US powerplants. (Note that all the specs use the same units of measure so you can compare apples to apples without conversion hassles.) Taking a look at an item at the back of the book, a 2-page Specification Comparison, reveals a supremely important and not really intuitive point: size . . . is not everything! If it were, a book like this that looks at what all goes into making the secret sauce would really not serve a purpose in the first place. A very large number of usually incompatible requirements must be satisfied and it takes someone like Ludvigsen—who is an engineer and a journalist and an all around curious soul—to distill the relevant detail without drowning the reader in jargon and minutia. In many ways, this book really is way too short to plumb the depths of the subject, but then this book is really more of a highlight reel.

The introduction by engine designer Eiji Taguchi identifies five key areas the designer must address: “An engine can never prevail when only one of them is excellent.” From the 1903 Peugeot to the 1994 Mercedes Benz V8, the book examines 50 different ways of solving the puzzle. If this were a 2017 book and not a straight reprint, modern-day goodies like KERS would have to have been included.

Clearly, this book is not for the casual reader. If inlet timing and metallurgy and exhaust gas scavenging leave you cold, you won’t be entertained or inspired. A Glossary is provided but not wholly satisfactory; for instance it includes not only the expected technical terms but also tradenames of makers (cf. Amal, Cozette, Sum) that are included in the Index anyway.

All the illustrations are b/w, definitely a holdover from the Haynes days which until the end was irrationally attached to them. Some of the technical drawings and other line art have legends on them but they are, still/again, mostly too small to read.

You won’t become an engineer by reading this book, or, if you already are, glean enough information to be able to fully weigh the entire spectrum of the operating parameters but the book is good at laying out higher-level concepts and what goes where and why.

 

Copyright 2017, Sabu Advani (speedreaders.info).

Classic Racing Engines
Expert Technical Analysis of Fifty of the Greatest Motorsport Power Units 1913–1994
by Karl Ludvigsen
Bentley Publishers, 2017
226 pages, 255 b/w illustrations, hardcover
List Price: $79.95
ISBN-13: 978-0-8376-1734-3

"A Lead-Foot's Library" - Sixteen excellent car books reviewed by Peter Manso in Car and Driver

We are thrilled to see six Bentley Publishers titles called out by Peter Manso in his review of sixteen of his favorite books on cars, racing, and racing drivers. 

He singles out the following titles:

 

Alternate view of Corvette - America's Star-Spangled Sports Car.

Corvette: America's Star Spangled Sports Car

by Karl Ludvigsen

List price: $24.95

Now Available !

 

 

The Racing Driver

The Racing Driver

by Denis Jenkinson

List price: $24.95

Now Available !

 

 

Going Faster!
Mastering the Art of Race Driving

by Carl Lopez

List price: $34.95

Now Available !

 

 

The Unfair Advantage

The Unfair Advantage

by Mark Donohue
with Paul van Valkenburgh

List price: $34.95

Now Available !

 

 

A French Kiss with Death

A French Kiss with Death

by Michael Keyser

List price: $59.95

Now Available !

 

 

Bosch Automotive Handbook 9th Ed.

Bosch Automotive Handbook - 9th Edition

by Robert Bosch GmbH

List price: $79.95

Now Available !

Here's the full article by Peter Manso in the July 2017 issue of Car and Driver:



Rob Siegel, author of Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic and The Hack Mechanic Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems,
now shares his Hack Mechanic wisdom and experience on the subject of mechanically-timed ignition systems.


Mechanical Ignition Handbook

Available June 20, 2017

Mechanical Ignition Handbook: The Hack Mechanic Guide to Vintage Ignition Systems

by Rob Siegel

List price: $22.95

Mechanically timed ignition is easy to understand and wonderfully straightforward to diagnose and repair, which is good because it's one of the most likely things on an older car to die and leave you in the lurch.

Rob Siegel--better known as the Hack Mechanic-- explains how mechanical ignition works and discusses in detail how to set timing and advance. There is also a full chapter on troubleshooting mechanical ignition problems. Illustrated with over 100 photos and diagrams and supported by clear, step-by-step instructions, the Mechanical Ignition Handbook features sections on:

  • Mechanical ignition basics and components
  • Common repairs and recommended tools
  • Adjusting point gap
  • Setting dwell angle
  • Locating the timing mark
  • Finding top dead center
  • Setting static and dynamic ignition timing
  • Using both a standard and an advance timing light
  • Testing coil resistance
  • Retrofitting breakerless electronic ignition (for those who say "enough!")

Vehicles covered:

Applies to vintage cars from the 1950s up through the mid 1980s that have either points and breakers or mechanical ignition advance. Some examples are:

  • Porsche 356
  • Mechanically-timed Porsche 911
  • BMW 1600 & BMW 2002
  • Ferrari 365
  • Austin-Healey Sprite
  • MGB
  • Triumph Spitfire, Triumph TR3 & TR6
  • Jaguar E-Type
  • Mercedes models including the Mercedes 190 SL
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • early Volvo
  • Pontiac GTO
  • vintage Chevrolet Camaro and other American muscle cars

If you are a vintage car owner who wants to understand how to adjust timing and advance to keep your favorite ride running smoothly, this is the book for you!

 

For more information on the Mechanical Ignition Handbook, visit http://www.bentleypublishers.com/c/BHMI.


 

Illustration of rotation and dwell angle. (Chapter 3, Point Gap and Dwell)

Illustration of rotation and dwell angle. (Chapter 3, "Point Gap and Dwell")

Standard points assembly.(Chapter 3, Point Gap and Dwell)

Standard points assembly.(Chapter 3, "Point Gap and Dwell")

The new BMW 4 Series (F32, F33, F36) Service Manual: 2014-2016 is coming out January 11, 2017! Providing in-depth technical coverage for the 428i and 435i models in their Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe body styles, this repair manual is an detailed source of maintenance, service and repair information for the 4 Series owner or technician.

 

For more information on the BMW 4 Series (F32, F33, F36) Service Manual: 2014-2016, including the table of contents, the index, excerpts and much more, visit:

 

 

 

BMW 4 Series (F32, F33, F36) Service Manual: 2014-2016

428i, 435i, including xDrive

Hardcover, 1,028 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8376-1765-7
Bentley Stock Number: B416

List price: $129.95




"This publisher is back on our list for a second year in a row because it has such an amazing collection of must-read books for the automotive enthusiast. Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic by Rob Siegel ($29.95) will have you laughing and relating as he reflects on his life of fixing great European car classics like the BMW 2002 and the VW Camper Van. Siegel's latest offering, The Hack Mechanic Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems ($49.95), offers step-by-step instructions for repairing electrical systems on your favorite European marques from DIN systems to Bosch fuel injectors. The V12 Engine ($79.95) by legendary automotive author Karl Ludvigsen is a comprehensive 590-page book that features 585 pictures to accompany the information-rich but very readable text about everything you need to know about the best engine in the world. For nostalgia's sake, The Racing Driver by Denis Jenkinson ($24.95) is a cult classic and an absolute essential for motorsport fans."

-European Car

2016 Holiday Gift Guide For The Car Enthusiast



The Hack Mechanic™ Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems

by Rob Siegel and the Bentley Publishers Technical Team

List price: $49.95

Now Available !

Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic

by Rob Siegel

List Price: $29.95


 

The V12 Engine

by Karl Ludvigsen

Hardcover, 590 pages, 585 photos, illustrations and diagrams, including 58 color photographs

List price: $79.95

 


 

The Racing Driver

by Denis Jenkinson

Softcover, 228 pages, 35 photographs and illustrations

List price: $24.95

 


 

The Hack Mechanic Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems

This is an intelligently-written course that deals quickly with the general theory of automotive electronic systems and then goes about informing how to diagnose and treat (I mean repair) both simple and complex electronics components that are vital parts of the nervous systems of a number of brands of very popular off-shore car brands. 

 

This new and latest edition in Bentley’s Hack Mechanic series … “European Automotive Systems”, true to its title, deals with the mysteries and (sometime) madness of the electrical systems of cars imported from the Continent.

Thorough, surely scholarly, but still written in understandable terms, and with an almost uncountable (every page) wealth of sharp, understandable diagrams, photos, and charts … this book is (almost) fun to read, even if it is only to try to better simply understand what’s going on under the hood of your car and not necessarily to trace problems down and fix them oneself.

Like a book on medieval warfare techniques and technology, or the ins and out of brain surgery, this book can easily be read just for the information … Knowledge is (pardon the pun) power here.

You KNOW that your car runs on gasoline, right? You’re quite aware of that at the pump every time you fill your fuel tank up and slide that pair of twenties across the counter or swipe your credit card in the slot. (By the way, if your European car or truck is a hybrid plug-in all-electric, go on to the next book review here. On the other hand, if it relies on an internal combustion engine, stay tuned…).

OK right, that running on gasoline question was bogus. Your standard car, truck, and/or motorcycle all need highly complicated electronic systems, not only to run and control the motor and automatic transmission, but to see to a huge number of your needs and desires, from sun/moon roofs to 20-way adjustable seats, and on to NAV systems and super-vigilant safety systems that guard and guide the vehicle as well as providing protection in collisions and crashes.

This book is most assuredly not for everyone, even though it’s written in some of the clearest and easiest to understand language, not everyone is all that worried about the electrically system(s) in their cars.

Until they fail.

This book is the one that 8 out of 10 people reading these words will never even crack … but those two, the ones who this book is for, can be very important to the rest of us.

And that’s the idea here. This is an intelligently-written course that deals quickly with the general theory of automotive electronic systems and then goes about informing how to diagnose and treat (I mean repair) both simple and complex electronics components that are vital parts of the nervous systems of a number of brands of very popular off-shore car brands.

WARNING: PERSONAL FLASHBACK: Many years ago, when I worked at HQ branch of Region 7 of the LA County Library System in West Covina, I developed a theory. (Bear in mind that this was long before the Internet and only in the early stages of videotape … most technical knowledge was still only available in books.)

My theory was that well past half of the books that we had that pertained to doing some specific task (let’s say your own plumbing, or re-roofing your house, or tracing down a short in your car’s wiring system) were often, and in fact, how NOT to do it books … in their use in informing the reader of the degree of difficulty of a certain task.

Readers were apprised of the how complex a job was and often (after assessing themselves) went with professional help.

Like the books in the LA County Library system, this one is very good at separating the adept from the less adept. And especially the less adept who understand that they really do not have to be able to re-wire their twelve year old Audi in order to be fulfilled, and who understand that far more clearly because they looked at the process in this book and said: “Pass … let’s get a pro in here.”, which sometimes is the smartest, most efficient, least expensive, and safest approach to a serious automotive electrical problem.

One feature of this electronic textbook is the author’s very informative information on the dangers of working with electrical devices. By now, I’m going to guess that we’ve all felt the vibrating sting of an electric shock. Since you’re reading this, I’m going to guess that the shock did not wipe you out, but author Siegel is very careful to explain that a nasty shock CAN be very bad (life-threatening in many cases) and that caution and common sense is the only pre-antidote for this one. His warnings here are clear and correct.

And (aside from a radio not staying on station, or a CD getting stuck in the player) most modern automobile electrical problems are just that, serious. There may be sufficient gasoline in the tank, but if a very long list of electrical signals aren’t followed precisely to the letter, and dozens of minute connections aren’t made exactly on time and in a very precise order, in the words of Bob Dylan, “… you ain’t going nowhere”.

 

– Doug Stokes, LACars.com


Physics for Gearheads

Even if one never calculates a compression ratio, figures optimum gear ratios, wants to talk a few basic kinematic ratios, get heavily involved in spring rate calculations, or figure out the precise center of gravity of their racing car, this remarkable 604-page masterclass in (playfully titled “Physics for Gearheads”) will give its reader a sharpened appreciation for and understanding of a branch of science that can be almost mistaken for an art.

 

Hey … Gearheads! … Did you see that first number above? 604 pages, RIGHT, six hundred and four pages (count ‘em!) of first-rate, hard-core, right-up-your-dragstrip (or front straight) highly-useful technical information that reflects equally on the causes and the effects.

Name a component of high performance motorsports: horsepower, handling, roll, traction, braking, aerodynamics, friction, spring rates, slip angles, and every other immutable dynamic laws or forces that racing machines do their work under, and you’ll find page after page of interesting, informative, and understandable information. Maybe even a bit more than you were looking for, but this is not really a line-by-line, page-by-page, cover-to-cover book. Open it up, look around, find an illustration that grabs your eye, and dive headfirst into the amazing physics of performance.

There’s information here on what it really takes to go Supersonic at Bonneville with a speed against time chart on page 156 that spans exactly 161.7 seconds and shows Richard Noble’s sound barrier-busting run from zero to 1,138 feet per second (about 778 miles per hour) that found him fully 13 miles away from his starting point a short 2.695 minutes later.

…Maybe you want to talk about the perfect line around an oval track or a road course, as you might suspect, it’s all about physics and Doctor Beikmann has the numbers and the formulas. And, his new book will show you the way to calculate that and a whole lot of other very important bits and pieces of the full performance envelope that that racers flat out need to know and that gearheads of all varieties are going to have a lot of fun learning about.

Math was always my worst subject in school, but I still grew up a car nut, a racing nut, and someone who has fought to get all my sums right all my life. I only wish that I had had access to a book like this that really puts math (and physics) into direct a direct, working, logical relationship with motorsports.

Much the electronics book we looked at earlier on this dual review this one will be a book that, if nothing else, will help its reader to far better appreciate the art and science of the subject, in this case motorsports.

Every time that I get into an automobile, I almost instantly forget my own counsel and think that all you really need to do to be a racing driver is hold the gas pedal down a little harder for a little longer… of course that’s not the case, but everyone drives and everyone THINKS that’s all it takes. Take it from me, it doesn’t.

Same thing happens with racing cars, they (generally) work so well and go so fast that a lot of the hard work behind the horsepower and the handling is just taken for granted, and the driver gets all the glory.

Even if one never calculates a compression ratio, figures optimum gear ratios, wants to talk a few basic kinematic ratios, get heavily involved in spring rate calculations, or figure out the precise center of gravity of their racing car, this remarkable 604-page masterclass in (playfully titled “Physics for Gearheads”) will give its reader a sharpened appreciation for and understanding of a branch of science that can be almost mistaken for an art.

– Doug Stokes, LACars.com

PERSONAL ASIDE: I can’t imagine that one of the engineering schools (Cal Poly SLO … are you listening?) wouldn’t want to offer introduction to racing physics course using this book as the basic text, it would be a great way to excite, encourage, and really teach a large chunk of the basics of motorsports.



 


 

 


The Hack Mechanic™ Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems

by Rob Siegel and the Bentley Publishers Technical Team

List price: $49.95

Now Available !

 

For more information on Physics for Gearheads, including the table of contents, an excerpt and much more, visit www.BentleyPublishers.com/physics.

 

 

 

Physics for Gearheads

An Introduction to Vehicle Dynamics, Energy, and Power - with Examples from Motorsports 

by Randy Beikmann

List price: $79.95

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

"Consider it a tool to help get over the fears and confusion regarding electrical circuits, sensors, relays, and switches. In fact, it's more than a tool; it's like having your own electrical therapist. As a test, I used the book to troubleshoot an odd lack of spark on an Austin-Healey last week.
Even when used for Edwardian perversions of circuitry, such as those found on British cars, the book
provided everything I needed to know to methodically trace and resolve the issue." - Roundel Magazine

 

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW:
The Hack Mechanic Guide to
European Automotive Electrical Systems
by Rob Siegel

REVIEW BY PAUL WEGWISER

Like all good scams, this one started with a brief e-mail message and the words, "Paul, my darling, just so you know...." I've fallen for that one at least twice before. People don't call me their darling nearly enough, and I'm nothing if not desperate for affection in all its often-twisted forms. The e-mail continued, requesting that I review another of Rob Siegel'sautomotive books published
by Bentley Publishers, this one titled The Hack Mechanic Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems.

Siegel's writing is well known to Roundel readers, and since the publication of his first book, Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic, his colorful and heartfelt writing has connected with an enormous audience of "other" car fanatics, as well as those curiously connected with them. I was excited to be reading another one of his books, with the prospect of reviewing it in published form, until I realized that it was a book ... about. .. automotive electrical systems. Perhaps the driest subject matter imaginable, right? Even though I'm a professional mechanic, only math fills me with more dread than the prospect of diagnosing and repairing errant electrical malfunctions in a car. Most people are visual learners. Things like math and electricity are invisible, mysterious, haunting forces - invisible, that is, until it's too late. Ever seen an electrical circuit burn up in smoke because two wires decided to get a little too friendly? Some things are best left unseen - and unsmelled.

But here is a book thoughtfully and exhaustively crafted to put our fears at rest, and explain the nature of the scary, complex things connected to all those wires. It's not as warm and fuzzy as Siegel's first book, but it digs immediately in to the nitty-gritty of why electrical things work - or don't work - on our cars, in a manner that still makes for thoroughly pleasurable reading. (I was so happily submerged in this book while on vacation at the beach that I received the worst sunburn of my life.) I only wish that this book had been presented to me about 25 years ago. In fact, I'd suggest it as textbook material for professional educational programs, and it is essential reading for the do-it-yourselfer.

Siegel's book has all the elements: hilarious personal anecdotes, entertaining warnings, loads of photographs, and easy-to-understand diagrams - along with the sort of personal touch rarely found in technical guides. Often, I'll open a technical manual in search of the simple answer to a simple question, and invariably stumble upon some word or term that I've never understood. This is usually the point at which my monkey brain takes over and I lose my train of thought, ambition, and patience to solve what began as a simple repair or troubleshooting project. But this book kept me on track the entire way through. Among my favorite things, was a clear, easy-to-navigate index and table of contents. I find myself constantly flipping through the pages of most technical reference books, going from glossary to index to maingroup sections to table of contents, and back. This book makes that process a cinch.

Consider it a tool to help get over the fears and confusion regarding electrical circuits, sensors, relays, and switches. In fact, it's more than a tool; it's like having your own electrical therapist. As a test, I used the book to troubleshoot an odd lack of spark on an Austin-Healey last week. Even when used for Edwardian perversions of circuitry, such as those found on British cars, the book
provided everything I needed to know to methodically trace and resolve the issue. That sunburn doesn't feel so painful anymore.

I'm often asked for advice by people interested in working on their cars for the first time. I almost always respond the same way: "Get a Bentley book for it-then go from there." This particular book isn't just for novices; it has the good nuts-'n'-bolts stuff to refresh the skills of even veteran technicians and mechanics, while still making the world of automotive electrical service accessible and welcoming to the beginner. Whether you're working on a 1970s coupe or something still functioning on its second 14,000- mile oil change from 2013, this book will assist you in understanding, diagnosing, and repairing the many simple and notso- simple electrical circuits designed to make your car function properly.

And Rob, my darling, just so you know: This isn't another automotive book that will sit on my book case at home. This one's going in my tool box at the shop. Permanently. Besides, it's already got greasy fingerprints on it.

 

 

 

 


The Hack Mechanic™ Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems

by Rob Siegel and the Bentley Publishers Technical Team

List price: $49.95

Now Available !

 

 

Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic

by Rob Siegel

List Price: $29.95

Get a dose of automotive inspiration and learn a little more about author Randy Beikemann Ph.D. Listen to Randy's interview with Mark Greene from Cars Yeah here; Cars Yeah episode 592 with Randy Beikmann

or use iTunesGoogle Play, or Stitcher to listen to the podcast your favorite device. 

 

For more information on Physics for Gearheads, including the table of contents, an excerpt and much more, visit www.BentleyPublishers.com/physics.

 

 

Physics for Gearheads

An Introduction to Vehicle Dynamics, Energy, and Power - with Examples from Motorsports 

by Randy Beikmann

List price: $79.95

Mike Miller of Bimmer magazine reviewed The Hack Mechanic™ Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems in the November 2016 issue.

 

Initially, Rob Siegel and I are friends, and we have both been on the masthead of the BMW CCA's Roundel magazine since Etruscan times, even though he looks way older than me. That doesn't mean we always agree or that we can't be objective about each other's work.

 

With that out of the way...

 

If the world has needed one automotive electrical system manual ever since different systems evolved in different regions of the world, it's this one. Why? Anyone who's ever looked under the hood and dash of a 40-year-old European car knows the hell it endured at the hands of those who didn't understand its electrical system.

 

While complexity has swallowed the automotive electrical landscape at the black hole level, knowing the basics can get savvy do-it-yourselfers through simple to complex electrical diagnosis and repairs, or at least let them know what they're paying someone else to do. It'll also make drivers conversant in the subject matter, letting them know how electricity works and how not to get shocked or set things on fire. It will answer the most common electrical question: Is my battery shot or is it the alternator?

 

Not knowing how to test things is the reason so many people buy a battery and an alternator in succession, having mal-guessed the first time. As Siegel explains in detail, all BMWs built up to 1996 and some systems after that can be diagnosed fairly well with a digital multimeter. They're super-useful, and you can get one for 10 bucks.

 

Speaking of multimeters, love doesn't begin to describe my feelings for Chapter 8, which shows comprehensively how to diagnose car horns. "No beep-beep" is a common problem once cars exceed 35 years of age, and cars of that age often fail safety inspections for simple horn malfunction.

 

Additional chapters cover ignition systems from points through electronic, reading wire diagrams, diagnosing parasitic power drains and even a bit on audio head units.

 

Additionally, Siegel has gone well beyond the basics to subject matter that should make this manual required reading in technical schools and repair shops alike. Heck, BMW service managers would do well to read it. ..and if they do, they'll enjoy it because the editors at Bentley had the good sense to let Siegel be Siegel. Unlike the dry engineer types who usually write manuals, Siegel has a God-given turn of phrase that makes everything he writes worth reading.

 

But will it help you fix your BMW? Yes. Fortunately for us, Siegel and team have put together a heavily German-based electrical manual. As Siegel explained, "Charlie Burke, who has written most of Bentley's technical manuals for the past 30 years, [said], 'The German-ness is the use of the DIN numbering system and the prevalence of Bosch electronics: There's a lot of truth to that, so we ran with it:'

 

That German-ness makes it relevant to Bimmer readers, but it's also what makes it less than optimally useful. Here's why: Surely, a manual that calls itself a Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems would offer a tantalizingly vulgar description of the most deviant, licentious and tawdry automotive subject there is, one so kinky only the Brits could be into it: positive ground electrical systems. Yet I found barely a mention of the subject on Seigel's manual. In fact, the manual covers nothing enigmatic, also known as British. For that, Siegel privately recommended author Rick Astley's (not the musician) Classic British Car Electrical Systems.

 

I asked Siegel how the Brits were skirted.

 

"Since Bentley's customer base is mainly owners of European cars and since both the DIN numbering system and Bosch apply to most European cars, 'German' was expanded to 'European:" he said. "We didn't explicitly set out to exclude the Brits, but that sort of did, since vintage British cars use Lucas electrics, and before a certain point, they didn't follow the DIN numbering
standard."

 

Notwithstanding skirting the Brits and dashing my admittedly more-than-a-little odd automotive proclivities like positive ground, this manual puts Siegel and the Bentley Publishers Technical Team on my list of noteworthy authors of truly useful manuals.

 

-Mike Miller

Click for a complete PDF version of the review


 


The Hack Mechanic™ Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems

by Rob Siegel and the Bentley Publishers Technical Team

List price: $49.95

Now Available !

Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic

by Rob Siegel

List Price: $29.95


More great praise for Physics for Gearheads by Randy Beikmann. The book which teaches physics using examples from motorsports, has been awarded the 2016 IAMC bronze medallion for a printed book, entire publication, technical: how to, by the International Automotive Media Competition  (IAMC). Author Randy Beikmann recently accepted this award at the Concours d'Elegance of America.

Author Randy Beikmann Ph.D (right) receives his bronze medallion from Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press. 
Photograph courtesy of Tara Beikmann. 

 

About the International Automotive Media Competition.

 

Judging for the IAMC is by peers, to a standard; entries may earn up to 100 points. The Medallion Awards -- Bronze (85-91 points), Silver (92-96 points) and Gold (97-100 points) -- are presented for those works so qualified. 

The International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC), is a program to recognize and encourage excellence in all forms of automotive media. The IAMC™ is administered, produced by and is a property of The International Society for Vehicle Preservation, ©2016 all rights reserved. ISVP™ is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) educational organization. IAMC and the International Automotive Media Awards (IAMA) are the property of ISVP™.

 


 

For more information on Physics for Gearheads, including the table of contents, an excerpt and much more, visit www.BentleyPublishers.com/physics.

 

 

Physics for Gearheads

An Introduction to Vehicle Dynamics, Energy, and Power - with Examples from Motorsports 

by Randy Beikmann

List price: $79.95




Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained used some of the math equations in Physics for Gearheads to explain the physics behind Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT)s. Watch the whole video for a great explanation of the physics behind a CVT and look for Physics for Gearheads featured at minute mark 7:38 in the video.  

 

For more information on Physics for Gearheads, including the table of contents, an excerpt and much more, visit www.BentleyPublishers.com/physics.

 

 

Physics for Gearheads

An Introduction to Vehicle Dynamics, Energy, and Power - with Examples from Motorsports 

by Randy Beikmann

List price: $79.95

 

Rennlist.com recently reviewed The Hack Mechanic Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems, follow the link to Rennlist.com for the full review and special offer on the book. The Hack Mechanic Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems - Rennlist.com 

"Logically laid out, this book begins with the basics, and works its way to more complicated areas – starting with electricity and “how it actually works,” then moving into more advanced areas such as switches and relays, adding new circuits, ignition, reading wiring diagrams, modules, buses and digital data, the dreaded OBD-II, and often inscrutable sensors. The how and why of basic electrical principles are explained clearly throughout, and Siegel shows you how to test them. You don’t have to feel intimidated – Siegel conveys the sometimes unfathomable world of electrical systems into easier-to-understand language (note I said “easier,” not “easy”) with practical real world scenarios, analogies, and a plethora of sidebars, drawings, photographs, and diagrams to back up the text." - Rennlist.com 

 


The Hack Mechanic™ Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems

by Rob Siegel and the Bentley Publishers Technical Team

List price: $49.95

Now Available !

Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic

by Rob Siegel

List Price: $29.95



Benjamin Shahrabani of vintage car lifestyle blog Petrolicious recently interviewed author Rob Siegel about his fleet of vintage BMWs. They talk about how Rob balances marriage, family and his love for cars. Rob also gives his opinion on the current state of the car collecting hobby and what it means to be a passionate automotive enthusiast. 

Be sure to read the full interview here for a special offer on Rob's books. http://petrolicious.com/how-can-a-normal-person-can-own-a-fleet-of-vintage-bmws

 


The Hack Mechanic™ Guide to European Automotive Electrical Systems

by Rob Siegel and the Bentley Publishers Technical Team

List price: $49.95

Now Available !

Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic

by Rob Siegel

List Price: $29.95

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