Like Bo Diddley said, “You can’t judge a book by lookin’ at its cover,” and that most certainly applies to Speed Read Mustang by Donald Farr. At first glance, it almost comes across like a kid’s book. But it is not. There’s some really solid writing here, and it’s put forth in a nice readable format with some groovy artwork.
You know, now that I think about it, our man in Detroit and our editor, Carl Anthony, gave me another book in the Speed Read series about Ferraris. I know it’s around here somewhere, but ever since I started reviewing car books, there seem to be piles of them all over the place.
Anyway, Speed Read Mustang is a slim volume about the size of an iPad and clocks in at 160 pages. No, it is not a mammoth tome by any stretch, but, as with seemingly everything published by Motorbooks, it’s a jewel of a little book. Not only is there handy chunks of information here, but it’s all pertinent stuff. I hate when there’s a book or a documentary or something full of stuff you already know.
For example, everyone knows the person most responsible for the Mustang is Lee Iacocca. But Speed Read Mustang goes farther, and all of it fits on one page. Yeah, you’d think that might come up short, but it doesn’t. Plus, it makes it real easy to stop and start the book, or to have around as a quick reference.
If you’re a younger reader learning about cars for the first time, this book won’t be that intimidating. Each section ends with a detailed glossary of terms, and informational sidebars with historical tidbits and other fun facts.
On top of the brief, one-page-per-chapter approach, there’s the artwork. Speed Read Mustang is devoid of photographs, but literally every other page is adorned with really nice graphic artwork from artist Jeremy Kramer.
Speed Read Mustang: A Work of Art!
The graphic artwork is very reminiscent of the paintings of Roy Lichtenstein. You know who he is, right? He’s the guy from the mid-century that did huge paintings of single comic book panels, with each individual humongous dot painted on by hand. As a matter of fact, a lot of the artwork in Speed Read Mustang would be suitable to X-acto out of the book and put into a ready-made frame. It would make a great gift for a Mustang lover, but it would mean cutting up a book. I’m not sure how you feel about that sort of thing. I’m normally against it for brand new books.
Written By The Mustang Man
Speed Read Mustang is written by Donald Farr, whose name is probably familiar to Mustang fans. Farr was the editor of Mustang Monthly Magazine. He has been writing about and researching the pony car for more than 35 years. Farr also wrote a whole bunch of books, unsurprisingly all on Mustangs. One of them, Boss Mustang: 50 Years, we featured in our Book Garage series not all that long ago.
The cherry on top with all of this is that Farr was inducted into the Mustang Hall of Fame. So, look, I’m no Mustang expert, but given Farr’s reputation, you can be rest assured this book is spot on.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.