History’s Greatest Automotive Mysteries, Myths and Rumors Revealed by Preston Lerner and Matt Stone puts some of motoring’s greatest porkies under the microscope
You wouldn’t expect a book on the motoring sector’s greatest myths to have been inspired by a Western, but such is the case with History’s Greatest Automotive Mysteries, Myths and Rumors Revealed.
One line in particular spoken at the end of ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence’ – “when legend becomes fact, print the legend” – got authors Preston Lerner and Matt Stone thinking about myths of the automotive sector. “Any colour so long as it’s black” is a belter from Henry Ford, as is “you think I’m quick, you should see my nephew” spoken by the late great Ayrton Senna. Of all the legendary James Bond machines for example, including the Lotus Esprit, the Ian Fleming-fabricated Bentley Mk IV and the Aston Martin DB5, would you believe that a 1974 AMC Hornet performed the most spectacular car stunt?
Would you also believe that…:
– Bonnie, of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde gang, once sent a thank-you note to Henry Ford for building such reliable escape cars?
– a rocket-powered 1964 Impala – the JATO Rocket Car – took flight across a ravine, smashed into a mountainside, and in doing so became one of the first recipients of the Darwin Award?
– second-placed Ralph Mulford, having supposedly lapped Ray Harroun when the latter’s Marmon’s ‘Wasp’ suffered a burst tyre, was actually the first ever winner of the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911?
– the Porsche 550 Spyder in which James Dean tragically met his fate was sold in parts, each of which brought ill-luck to their new owners?
– both pre-war Grand Prix greats Tazio Nuvolari and Achille Varzi conspired to fix the 1933 Tripoli Grand Prix in order to win a bet?
Here we have just a slice of the controversial myths up for analysis, each of which receives a verdict and explanatory conclusion. The big question is will you believe the facts, or hold onto the legend?