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The History of the Automobile

Model T Photo The classic 1913 Model-T Ford automobile. From the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. Smithsonian Photo by Alfred Harrell (c) 1991 Smithsonian Institution

Information or research assistance regarding the history of the automobile is frequently requested from the Smithsonian Institution. The following information has been prepared to assist those interested in this topic.

Reading List:

The books and periodicals in this bibliography are not available through the Smithsonian Institution. The reference librarian at a public or university library can provide instructions for obtaining books through the interlibrary loan system if they are not available locally.


Ackerson, Robert C.
Cadillac--America's Luxury Car. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Tab Books, c. 1988.
_________, ed.
LaSalle: A Classic Source Book. Baltimore, MD: Bookman Publishing, c. 1986.
Arnold, Dave.
Outlaw Sprint Cars: Inside Look at Dirt Track Racing. Osceola, WI, USA: Motorbooks International, 1987.
Automobile Quarterly.
The American Car Since 1775. New York: L.S. Bailey, 1971.
Automobile Quarterly's World of Cars. New York: Dutton, 1971.
Oldsmobile: The First Seventy-five Years. Princeton, NJ: Automobile Quarterly Publications, 1972.
Barker, Ronald and Anthony Harding, Ed.
Automobile Design: Twelve Great Designers and Their Work. Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1992.
Batchelor, Ray.
Henry Ford, Mass Production, Modernism, and Design. Manchester; New York: Manchester University Press. Distributed exclusively in the USA and Canada by St. Martin's Press, 1994.
Bayley, Stephen.
Harley Earl and the Dream Machine. New York: Knopf, 1983.
Belasco, Warren James.
Americans on the Road: From Autocamp to Motel, 1910-1945. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1979.
Bellamy, James F.
Cars Made in Upstate New York. Red Creek, New York: Squire Hill Publishing Company, 1989.
Berger, Michael L.
The Devil Wagon in God's Country: The Automobile and Social Change in Rural America, 1893-1929. Hamden, CT: Archon, 1979.
Bingham, Grace R.
The Serial Number Book for U.S. Cars 1900-1975. Motorbooks International, 1994.
Bochroch, Albert R.
American Automobile Racing: An Illustrated History. New York: Viking Press, 1974.
Bonsall, Thomas E.
Pontiac, the Complete History, 1926-1979. Baltimore, MD: Bookman Dan!, c. 1979.
Borgeson, Griffith.
Miller. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1993.
Borgeson, Griffith and Eugene Jaderquist.
Sports and Classic Cars. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1955.
Bottles, Scott L.
Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of the Modern City. Berkeley: University of California Press, c. 1987.
Boyne, Walter J.
Power Behind the Wheel: Creativity and the Evolution of the Automobile. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang: Distributed by Workman Pub., 1988.
Brierley, Brooks T.
There Is No Mistaking a Pierce-Arrow. Coconut Grove, FL: Garrett and Stringer, c. 1986.
Briggs, Bruce.
The Station Wagon: Its Saga and Development. New York: Vantage Press, 1975.
Brownell, Dave, ed.
Hemmings' Vintage Auto Almanac. Bennington, VT: Hemmings Motor News, 10th edition, 1993.
Bryan, Ford R.
Henry's Lieutenants. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1993.
Butler, Don.
Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg. Osceola, WI: Crestline: Motorbooks International, 1992.
The History of Hudson. Sarasota, FL: Crestline Pub., 1982.
Butler, F. Donald.
The Plymouth-DeSoto Story. Sarasota, FL: Crestline Publishers, 1981.
Calvin, Jean.
Those Incredible Indy Cars. New York: Sports Car Press, 1973.
Cannon, William A. and Fred K. Fox.
Studebaker: The Complete Story. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books, c. 1981.
Carson, Richard Burns.
The Olympian Cars: The Great American Luxury Automobiles of the Twenties and Thirties. New York: Knopf, 1976.
Chappell, Pat.
Standard Catalog of Chevrolet, 1912-1990. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, c. 1990.
Classic Motor Books.
Vintage Auto Almanac. 1981.
Clymer, Floyd.
Henry's Wonderful Model T 1908-1927. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1955.
Collins, Herbert Ridgeway.
Presidents on Wheels. Washington, DC: Acropolis Books, 1971.
Conde, John A.
The Cars that Hudson Built. Keego Harbor, MI: Arnold-Porter Publishing Company, 1980.
Consumer Guide.
The American Sports Car. Skokie, IL: Publications International, 1979.
Consumer Guide Auto Editors.
Automobiles of the '50s. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Ltd, 1993.
Consumer Guide Auto Editors.
Automobiles of the '60s. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Ltd, 1993.
Dammann, George H.
Illustrated History of Ford, 1903-1970. Glen Ellyn, IL: Crestline Publishing Co., 1970.
Ninety Years of Ford. Osceola, WI, USA: Motorbooks International, 1993.
Seventy Years of Buick. Glen Ellyn, IL: Crestline Publishing Co., 1973.
Seventy Years of Chrysler. Glen Ellyn, IL: Crestline Publishing Co., 1974.
Seventy-five Years of Chevrolet. 1972. Reprint. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1992.
Dammann, George H. and James K. Wagner.
Cars of Lincoln-Mercury. Sarasota, FL: Crestline Pub., 1987.
DeAngelis, George, Edward P. Francis, Leslie R. Henry.
The Ford Model "A," as Henry Built It : A Color, Upholstery, and Production Facts Book. 4th ed. Allen Park, MI: Motor Cities Pub. Co., 1991.
Dominguez, Henry L.
The Ford Agency: A Pictorial History. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1981.
Dunham, Terry B. and Lawrence R. Gustin.
The Buick: A Complete History. 4th ed. Kutztown, PA: Automobile Quarterly, 1992. Eastman,
Joel W.
Styling vs. Safety: The American Automobile Industry and the Development of Automotive Safety, 1900-1966. Lanham: University Press of America, c. 1984.
Editors of Automobile Quarterly Magazine.
General Motors, the First 75 Years of Transportation Products. Princeton, NJ: Automobile Quarterly Publications, c. 1983.
Editors of Consumer Guide.
Cadillac, Standard of Excellence. Secaucus, NJ: Castle Books, c. 1980.
Cars of the 30s. New York: Beekman House, c. 1980.
Cars of the 40s. New York: Beekman House, 1979.
Cars That Never Were. New York: Beekman House, c. 1981.
Editors of Consumer Guide Staff.
Ford: The Complete History. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International, 1989.
Egan, Philip S.
Design and Destiny: The Making of the Tucker Automobile. Orange, CA: On the Mark, 1989.
Etzold, Hans-Rudiger.
The Beetle: The Chronicle of the People's Car. Sparkford, Nr. Yeovil, Somerset, England ; Newbury Park, Calif., USA : Haynes, 1988-1991. A Foulis motoring book. Translation of: Der Kafer. v. 1. Production and evolution facts & figures -- v. 2. Design and evolution, the story -- v. 3. Beetlemania.
Falconer, Thomas.
Early Chevrolet Corvettes: 1953-67, All Six-cylinder & V8s. London: Osprey, 1985.
Fenster, Julie M.
Packard: The Pride. Kutztown, PA: Automobile Quarterly, c. 1989.
Flink, James J.
America Adopts the Automobile, 1895-1910. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1970.
The Automobile Age. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990.
The Car Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1975.
Flower, Raymond and Michael Wynn Jones.
One Hundred Years on the Road: A Social History of the Automobile. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981.
Fox, Jack C.
The Illustrated History of Sprint Car Racing. Speedway, IN: Carl Hungress Publishing, 1985.
Fry, Robin.
The VW Beetle. Newton Abbot ; North Pomfret, VT: David & Charles, c. 1980.
Georgano, G.N., ed.
The New Complete Encyclopedia of Motorcars, 1885 to the Present. New York: Dutton, 1982.
Gray, Ralph D.
Alloys and Automobiles: The Life of Elwood Haynes. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Society, 1979.
Gunnell, John.
75 years of Pontiac-Oakland. Sarasota, FL: Crestline Pub., 1982.
Gunnell, John.
Fifty-Five Years of Mercury: The Complete History of the Big "M". Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1994.
Hanley, George Philip and Stacey Pankiw Hanley.
The Marmon Heritage: More Than One Hundred Twenty-Five Years of American Production of World Renowned Products. Rochester, MI: Doyle Hyk, 1990. Reprint of 1986 edition.
Heasley, Jerry.
The Production Figure Book for U.S. Cars. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1977.
Heilig, John, ed.
Automobile Quarterly's Directory of North American Automobile Museums. Kutztown, PA: Automobile Quarterly, 1992.
Hendry, Maurice D.
Cadillac: Standard of the World. New York: Bonanza Books, 1981.
Henry, Leslie R.
American Automobile Pioneers of the First Decade, 1893-1903. Dearborn, MI: Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum, 1975.
Holthusen, Peter J. R.
The Land Speed Record. Sparkford [England] ; Newbury Park, CA: Haynes, 1986.
Ketelle, Jay.
The American Automobile Dealership: A Picture Postcard History. Amarillo, TX: Jay Ketelle Collectibles, Inc., [1988?]
Kimes, Beverly Rae.
The Cars That Henry Ford Built. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Publishing, 1978.
The Star and the Laurel: The Centennial history of Daimler, Mercedes, and Benz, 1886-1986. Montvale, NJ: Mercedes-Benz of North America, 1986.
Kimes, Beverly Rae, ed.
Automobile Quarterly's Complete Handbook of Automobile Hobbies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Publishing, 1981.
Automobile Quarterly's Great Cars and Grand Marques. New York: Bonanza Books, 1976.
Kimes, Beverly Rae and Robert C. Ackerson.
Chevrolet: A History from 1911. [Kutztown, PA]: Automobile Quarterly Publications; Princeton, NJ: Princeton Pub. [distributor], c. 1984.
Kneifl, Bruce M.
Chevrolet Restoration Directory. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1989.
Kuhn, Arthur J.
GM Passes Ford, 1918-1938: Designing the General Motors Performance-control System. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, c. 1986.
Lacey, Robert.
Ford: The Men and the Machine. New York: Ballantine, 1987.
Lamm, John.
Corvette: A Classic American Marque. Secaucus, NJ: Chartwell Books, Inc., c. 1989.
Langworth, Richard M.
Corvette: Portrait of a Legend. New York: Gallery Books, c. 1989.
The Corvettes 1953-1988: A Collector's Guide. Croydon, Eng: Motor Racing Publications, 1988.
Kaiser-Frazer: The Last Onslaught on Detroit. Kutztown, PA: Automobile Quarterly Publications, 1975.
Langworth, Richard M. and Jan P. Norbye.
The Complete History of Chrysler Corporation, 1924-1985. New York: Beekman House: Distributed by Crown, c. 1985.
The Complete History of General Motors, 1908-1986. Skokie, IL: Publications International, c. 1986.
Latham, Caroline and David Agresta.
Dodge Dynasty: The Car and the Family That Rocked Detroit. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989.
Lee, John Martin.
Standard Catalog of Chrysler, 1924-1990. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, c. 1990.
Leland, Ottilie M.
Master of Precision: Henry M. Leland. 1966. Reprint. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975.
Lewis, David.
The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1976.
Lewis, David et al, eds.
Detroit Style: Automotive Form 1925-1950. [Detroit]: Detroit Institute of Arts, 1985.
Lewis, David L. and Laurence Goldstein, eds.
The Automobile and American Culture. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, c. 1983.
Lichty, Robert C.
Standard Catalog of Ford, 1903-1990. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1990.
Lindh, Bjorn-Eric.
Volvo: The Cars--from the 20s to the 80s. [Translated from the Swedish by the Volvo Foreign Language Department Gothenburg/Tom Byrne]. Malmo: Forlagshuset Norden, 1986.
Ling, Peter J.
America and the Automobile: Technology, Reform, and Social Change, 1893-1923. Manchester University Press. Distributed exclusively in the USA and Canada by St. Martin's Press, 1992.
Longstreet, Stephen.
A Century on Wheels: The Story of Studebaker. 1952. Reprint. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1970.
Montagu of Beaulieu, Lord and Anthony Bird.
Steam Cars 1770-1970. London: Cassell, 1971.
Margolies, John.
The End of the Road: Vanishing Highway Architecture in America. Harmondsworth, Eng.; New York, N.Y.: Penguin Books in collaboration with the Hudson River Museum, 1981.
Marvin, Robert B.
Packard: A Chronology of the Company, the Cars and the People. Jasper, FL: R-Mac Pub., 1994.
The Packard Guide: Illustrated with Complete Value Guide. Jasper, FL: Packard Data Bank, c. 1987.
The Packard Identification Guide. Jasper, FL: Packard Data Bank, 1990.
May, George S.
R. E. Olds: Auto Industry Pioneer. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981.
_________, ed.
The Automobile Industry, 1885-1920. New York: Facts on File, 1989.
_________, ed.
The Automobile Industry, 1920-1980. New York: Facts on File, 1989.
May, George W.
Charles E. Duryea: Automaker. Ann Arbor, MI: Edward Brothers, 1973.
McCall, Walter M. P.
Eighty Years of Cadillac LaSalle. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1992.
McCalley, Bruce W.
Model T Ford: The Car That Changed the World. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1994.
The Model T Ford Encyclopedia, 1909-1927: A Comprehensive Guide to the Evolution and Changes of the Major Components of the Model T Ford. [Burbank, CA: Model T Ford Club of America], c. 1989.
McConnell, Curt.
Great Cars of the Great Plains. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995.
McPherson, Thomas A.
The Dodge Story. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1992.
McShane, Clay.
Down the Asphalt Path: The Automobile and the American City. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.
Morlan, Michael.
American Automobile Collections and Museums: A Guide to U.S. Exhibits. Shawnee, KS: Bon A Tirer, 1992.
Narus, Donald J.
Great American Woodies and Wagons. Glen Ellyn, IL: Crestline Publishing, 1977.
Naul, G. Marshall.
The Specification Book for U.S. Cars 1930-1969. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1980.
Nelson, Walter Henry.
Small Wonder: The Amazing Story of the Volkswagen. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1970.
Nesbitt, Dick.
50 years of American Automobile Design, 1930-1980. Skokie, IL: Publications International, c. 1985.
Nevins, Allan.
Ford: The Times, the Man, the Company. 1954. Reprint. New York: Arno Press, 1976.
Niemayer, Glenn A.
The Automotive Career of Ransom E. Olds. 1963.
Piccard, Jean Rodolphe.
The Automobile Year Book of Dream Cars. 1981. Reprint. New York: Crescent Books, 1984.
Pitrone, Jean Maddern.
Tangled Web: Legacy of Auto Pioneer John F. Dodge. Hamtramck, MI: Avenue Pub. Co., c. 1989.
Posthumus, Cyril and David Tremayne.
Land Speed Record: A Complete History of Record-breaking Cars from 39.24 to 600+ Mph. London: Osprey, 1985.
Quandt, Val V.
The Classic Kissel Automobile. Hartford, WI: Kissel Graph Press, c. 1990.
Rae, John Bell.
The American Automobile Industry. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1984.
American Automobile Manufacturers: The First Forty Years. Philadelphia, PA: Chilton, 1959.
The Road and the Car in American Life. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971. 

Ralston, Marc. Pierce-Arrow. San Diego, CA: A.S. Barnes, 1980.

Reichert, Nikolaus and Hans Joachim Klersy.
VW Beetle: An Illustrated History. Sparkford, Nr. Yeovil, Somerset, England; Newbury Park, CA, USA: Haynes, 1987.
Roe, Fred.
Duesenberg: The Pursuit of Perfection. London: Dalton Watson, 1982.
Rose, Mark H.
Interstate: Express Highway Politics, 1941-1956. Lawrence, KS: Regents Press of Kansas, 1979.
St. Clair, David James.
The Motorization of American Cities. New York: Praeger, 1986.
Sass, Dale.
Pontiac Show Cars, Experimentals & Special Editions! Baltimore, MD: Bookman Pub., c. 1986.
Saunders, Harris.
Top Up or Down?: The Origin and Development of the Automobile and Truck Renting and Leasing Industry--since 1916. Birmingham, AL: Harris Saunders, c. 1985.
Scharff, Virginia.
Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming of the Motor Age. New York: Free Press; Toronto: Collier Macmillan Canada, 1991.
Schiffer, Michael B., Tamara C. Butts and Kimberly K. Grimm.
Taking Charge: the Electric Automobile in America. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.
Scott, Michael G. H.
Packard: The Complete Story. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Tab Books, c. 1985. Seal, Rector R. Maryland Automobile History, 1900 to 1942. Chicago, IL: Adams Press, c. 1985.
Sears, Stephen W.
The American Heritage History of the Automobile in America. New York: American Heritage Publishing, Co., 1977.
Shuler, Terry with Griffith Borgeson & Jerry Sloniger.
The Origin and Evolution of the VW Beetle. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Pub., c. 1985.
Sieber, Mary and Ken Buttolph, ed.
Standard Catalog of Buick, 1912-1990. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1991. _________. Standard Catalog of Cadillac, 1912-1990. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1991.
Silk, Gerald et al.
Automobile and Culture. Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art ; New York: Abrams, 1984.
Sorensen, Lorin.
The Ford Shows. Osceola, WI, USA: Motorbooks International, 1991.
Steinwedel, Louis William.
The Beetle Book: America's 30-Year Love Affair With the Bug. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1981.
Stern, Jane and Michael Stern.
Auto Ads. New York: Random House/David Obst Books, 1978.
Stern, Philip Van Doren.
A Pictorial History of the Automobile, as Seen in Motor Magazine 1903-1953. New York: Viking Press, 1953.
Tin Lizzie: The Story of the Fabulous Model T Ford. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1955.
Turnquist, Robert E.
The Packard Story: The Car and the Company. New York: A. S. Barnes, 1965.
U.S. Department of Transportation.
America's Highways 1776-1976: A History of the Federal-Aid Program. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1976.
Vieyra, Daniel I.
Fill 'Er Up: An Architectural History of America's Gas Stations. New York: Macmillan, 1979.
Vinson, Michael.
Motoring Tourists and the Scenic West, 1903-1948. Dallas: DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, 1989.
Wager, Richard.
Golden Wheels: The Story of the Automobiles Made in Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio, 1892-1932. Cleveland, Ohio: J.T. Zubal with the cooperation of the Western Reserve Historical Society, 1986.
Wakefield, Ernest Henry.
History of the Electric Automobile: Battery-only Powered Cars. Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1994.
Weis, Bernard.
The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car 1901-1938. [S.I.]: Pierce Arrow Society, 1981.
Weis, Bernard J.
Pierce-Arrow Scrapbook, 1910-1911. Rochester, NY: B.J. Weis, 1990.
Wilson, Paul Carroll.
Chrome Dreams: Automobile Styling Since 1893. Radnor, PA: Chilton-Book Co., 1976.
Wrynn, V. Dennis.
Detroit Goes to War: The American Automobile Industry in World War II. Osceola, WI, USA: Motorbooks International, 1993.


For current periodicals, publishers and newsletters, see: Brownell, Dave, ed. Hemmings' Vintage Auto Almanac.

Prepared by the Division of the History of Technology,
Transportation Collections, National Museum of American History,
in cooperation with Public Inquiry Services, Smithsonian Institution



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