Still Life with Cars

An Automotive Memoir

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SKU: 9780786420537 Categories: ,

About the Book

Most childhood fascinations are a passing fancy, but something about cars tends to capture the imagination forever. Witness the countless backyard weed-wrapped classics, rusted just shy of a shadow, slated one day for a return to glory; cloudy vacation memories of choking exhaust, deafening engines and blinding chrome; countless white-knuckled highway moments as the driver faces backwards to better glimpse some passing oddity spotted four lanes over. Somehow, cars have a way of getting into a kid’s blood. Any chronic condition requires a lifetime of maintenance. John Lumley caught the fever early—likely from a midnight blue Hudson—and it’s been with him ever since.
This engaging memoir follows a life spent nursing an obsession with cars, fitting for a son of Detroit’s heyday. With occasional play in the garage of the Ford estate and an excursion to see Buckminster Fuller’s three-wheeled Dymaxion among his earliest memories, John Lumley’s enduring love of cars is no surprise. From those childhood adventures followed a lifetime spent elbow-deep in engines—Nash, Hupmobile, Mercury, Citroën, Triumph, Volkswagen, Lagonda, Armstrong-Siddeley, Bentley and more, many of them pictured. Though his career was devoted to loftier pursuits, the grease beneath his nails perhaps best sums up Lumley’s lifelong love. Fifty-eight photographs and an index accompany the text.

About the Author(s)

The late John L. Lumley was a professor emeritus of engineering at Cornell University, specializing in aerospace engineering and fluid mechanics. He lived in Ithaca, New York.

Bibliographic Details

John L. Lumley
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 191
Bibliographic Info: 58 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2053-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8117-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
1. Mostly early recollections      3
2. Adolescence      13
3. Freshman year      29
4. Sophomore year      35
5. Junior year      41
6. Senior year      45
7. Baltimore      48
8. Penn State      51
9. VW memories (mostly)      63
10. Armstrong Siddeley      78
11. Jaguar      102
12. Armstrong Siddeley again      108
13. Lagonda      132
14. Bentley      163
Index      183

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Extraordinary…includes exotic vehicles…accurate”—Old Cars Weekly
  • “Filled with vivid insights of the evolution of an auto buff”—Midwest Book Review
  • “Charming…neglects no detail in his descriptions”—SciTech Book News