But we’re not complaining. Unless they’re academic like the books that the Early V-8 Ford Club publishes or very specific like the one about the 75 most significant ’32 Ford hot rods, titles for individual years, makes, and models can be quite tedious. What Cabadas has done here, though, is explain the ’40 (and by extension ’39) Ford vis-à-vis the cars and times that inspired it.

So rather than a book specifically about ’40 Fords this is a book about cars from the Model A era to the ’40. Note cars, not Fords. Typical for any manufacturer, Ford had its finger on the pulse of the industry and not just on its own products. And by way of describing the impact these other cars made, Cabadas justifies some of the distinguishing features of what many consider to be Ford’s most refined and stylish prewar car.

What emerges is a broad story about automotive design that’s every bit as interesting as the book’s subject. Cabadas did the book in cooperation with The Henry Ford Museum, a collaboration that reveals itself in numerous historical Ford archive photos.

Among other things the author explores Ford’s presence in European markets, models that suggest that the maker was far more dynamic than its domestic market indicates. Included are the labor strikes that steered Ford. You’d have to buy a lot of Lorin Sorenson’s books to see so many archival, marketing, and promotional photos and advertising literature. Oh, and the racing part is more diverse than simply the ’40s straight-line exploits. Cabadas broaches the performance chapter by building upon Henry Ford’s racing exploits, using it as a sort of springboard into the various forms of motorsports, including rally, round-track, and of course, lakes and drag racing.

So is there a lot of information specific to the ’40? Sure there is. And that alone makes it worth buying. But it’s all the other stuff—the stories about the company’s evolution, the people who made the ’40 so distinctive, and the foreign stuff that you’ve probably never known before that makes this book such a find.

’40 Ford: Evolution, Design, Racing, Hot Rodding

Joseph P. Cabadas

Motorbooks

ISBN 978-0-7603-3761-5

GM LS-Series Engines: The Complete Swap Manual

In hindsight, the fears enthusiasts initially regarded GM’s LS-series engine with seem a bit quaint, if not silly. But not even the most devoted die-hard Bow Tie fan could’ve anticipated the success that Chevrolet’s latest generation of small-block engines enjoyed. And just as its ancestors did half a century earlier, the LS-series engine found a home in just about any car that could accommodate it … not to mention a few that couldn’t.

But things have changed since the first Chevy engine swap. Though the bellhousing pattern remains the same, the rest of the playing field has changed. Gone are the largely universal pumps, carburetors, and ignition systems of yore, in their place complex and highly specialized engine management systems. In fact, some say it takes a book just to make an LS run in places where it wasn’t intended to.

But we have one thing our ancestors only dreamed of to facilitate swaps: books. The latest, Joseph Potak’s GM LS-Series Engines: The Complete Swap Manual, promises to take the mystery out of swapping, building, and tuning the LS engine series.

Potak dedicates the first chapter almost exclusively to LS history, and in telling that history he reveals the many subtle changes among the engines and their accessories. In refreshingly objective terms he explores the various means by which enthusiasts obtain the parts for their swaps (new or used, piecemeal or donor car, etc.).