December 28, 2010

My other favourite 4WD how-to books

Four Wheel Drive Handbook
James T Crow and Cameron Warren
Parkhurst Publishing 1970
My first 4WD book, purchased for $US2.50 back when – in North America – the question was whether to buy a Ford Bronco or a Chevy Blazer rather than a Jeep. Or maybe an International Scout if you were a bit of an oddball. Only 96 pages and written purely for American audiences, the book is brief and to the point and, 40 years on, rather quaint. It deals with such hot topics of the day as whether you should specify such new technology as power steering and power brakes. Mud driving gets all of about … one or two paragraphs. But I still come back to this book when I want to brush up on things like hi-lift jacking – almost nobody had a power winch back then. Here's one of my favourite photos from inside, predicting in a slightly clumsy way the arrival of the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV):

And now, in alphabetical order:
4WD Survival Guide
John Basham
Gregory’s Publishing, 1998
Glovebox sized (more or less) and 152 pages thick, this nicely designed full-colour Australian book has over the years provided me with heaps of useful information. It’s somewhat Aussie biased but there’s more than enough that’s relevant for drivers over here and it deals with the types of vehicle and equipment that we know, use and try to understand.

Jeep 4x4 Performance Handbook
Jim Allen
MBI Publishing, 1998
Forget about this being a Jeep book, although owning one of these American vehicles makes the content even more cost effective. I had my copy all through my Land Rover years and used it often. Within its 192 pages is a mine of information about four wheel drives and four wheel driving, including how to go about an upgrading programme. Well written, easily understood and lots of photos.

Land Rover Experience, The
Tom Sheppard
Published by Land Rover, 1994 (second edition)
And forget about this being a Land Rover book, although owning one of these British vehicles makes the content even more cost effective!  This 210-page volume is the all-time classic book on four wheel driving and off-road driving technique. No matter where you’re going or what kind of trouble you might get into, Tom Sheppard will help you get out, or avoid it in the first place.

New Zealand 4 Wheel Drive Handbook, The
Ken Sibly
Shoal Bay Press, 2004
It’s ring-bound for easy use, its glovebox sized, it’s 264 pages, it’s chock-a-block with information and it’s an all-New Zealand publication. It grew out of the 4WD North Island and 4WD South Island books, by Andy Cockroft and Ken Sibly respectively. These included a substantial section on 4WD techniques, trip planning and so on. The handbook is mostly black and white and relies heavily on illustrations rather than photos but this is a strength. This book is essential if you're in NZ. No matter what other 4WD books reside on the bookshelf, you must also have this one.

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