The Printed Form: The Jalopy Journal


It’s no secret that I am currently more immersed hot rod culture than I was when I started this website. I’ve always enjoyed hot rods but recently (the past two years especially) I’ve been embedding myself in the local hot rod community more than ever before.

The builds and the welcoming personality of hot rodders as a whole drew me in. In short order I’ve started to become a familiar face at shows, cruise ins, events, and parties.

My wife, who always preferred the classic and hot rod community to any other, is a fan of this mind shift and last Christmas she gifted me with a signed copy of The Jalopy Journal volume two.

In the first Printed Form post I mentioned that physical releases are becoming a bit of a rarity among the automotive landscape, so people who do take the time to release a physical deserve their props.

When it comes to additions to every households automotive library you can’t go wrong with The Jalopy Journal. From a purely tangible perspective the book is a cut above. It is professionally bound, each page is numbered and watermarked, and it even has a handy red tassel book mark.

Even if the content was sub par this book would look great just sitting on a coffee table.

Thankfully, the work inside is on par with its physical presentation. A collection of stories told from a variety of perspectives (builders, journalists, racers and friends) The Jalopy Journal is an excellent example of automotive story telling through both words and pictures.

I read the book quickly, over a few days before I went to bed, and I actually had to stop myself from going through the entire book in one go bed time be damned.

I found the tales of Hot rod enthusiasts who irked, challenged, and generally annoyed “the man” quite amusing because a lot of these same things happen still today. The adage ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’ rings true here.

However I also found the stories of people who grew up track side particularly interesting, especially one about a now adult who spent his formative years at the track with a camera stuck to his face.

His tales about how other racers took him under their wing and showed him around capture the heart of motor sport.

In addition to tales about the people, there are also stories about the cars that went far and beyond your average car feature.

The way they were written really makes me want to take an entirely different approach to my own next car spotlight.

As I try to make further headway as an automotive journalist books like this also serve as inspiration, and I know for a fact reading this book a few times will make me a better writer overall.

The photo collections published throughout the book were equally inspiring. I can’t say I ever considered portrait photography before but this book made me think I could, especially if I could find people as interesting as those above.

I highly recommend this book, and unlike the first book I featured in this series this book is still available at the 

I really hope they are working on a third edition because I’d love to own it!

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