The Big Book of Tiny Cars

A Century of Diminutive Automotive Oddities

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Pub Date 21 Dec 2021 | Archive Date 21 Dec 2021

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Richly illustrated and entertainingly written, The Big Book of Tiny Cars presents lively profiles of the automotive world’s most famous—and infamous—microcars and subcompacts from 1901 to today.

From tiny homes to little lending libraries and even tiny food, people everywhere are resetting the premium they put on size. Fact is, the automotive industry has a “tiny” history going back to the car’s earliest days.

Beginning with the Curved Dash Oldsmobile and continuing through prewar classics such as the Austin Seven and Hanomag Kommissbrot, The Big Book of Tiny Cars is truly international in scope. Witness diminutive cars like the Bond Minicar and the BMWIsetta introduced to fuel-deprived postwar Europe, and continue through the classic 1950s microcars and ’70s subcompacts, right up to today’s tiny cars and electric vehicles (EVs) fromthe likes of Smart and Fiat.

In addition to iconic curiosities like the frog-like Goggomobil Dart, the futuristic Sebring Vanguard Citicar, and the three-wheeled Reliant Robin, you’ll read about more familiar classics like the VW Beetle, MiniCooper, and Crosley Super Sport. Other manufacturers represented include Honda, Datsun, Mitsubishi, Trabant, Heinkel, Renault, and Messerschmitt, to name a few. Each car is profiled with an entertaining and informative history and a fact box.Imagery includes archival photos, period ads, and modern photography.In all, more than 100 cars are included, from the weird to the sublime. Gas, diesel, or electric…tiny cars have a rich and curious heritage reflective of motorists’ concerns for their pocketbook, the environment, or both. The Big Book of Tiny Cars is your ultimate collection of microcars, minicars, bubble cars, kei cars, subcompacts, and compacts that have been built, sold, and driven all over the globe for 120 years.
Richly illustrated and entertainingly written, The Big Book of Tiny Cars presents lively profiles of the automotive world’s most famous—and infamous—microcars and subcompacts from 1901 to today.


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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780760370629
PRICE $40.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

If you're a fan of both history and cars, look no further than The Big Book of Tiny Cars. Starting from the 1900s all the way to today, Hayes gives a chronological overview of all the most popular and visually appealing microcars, minicars, bubble cars and similar tiny vehicles. Each car comes with not only the information on its production history and social context, but also a bunch of car photographs and advertising drawings, essential facts like dimensions, engine and performance, and some fun facts and trivia. This information-packed colourful book would also make the perfect present for any fan of odd or vintage vehicles that can usually be seen only in museums or old magazines. Huge thank you to NetGalley, Russell Hayes and Quarto Publishing Group for the advanced reader copy.

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Full of delightful vintage pictures, this book has entertaining essays about tiny cars from an early Oldsmobile until cars made since 2010. Although some of the information is a biit too ger-heady for the general reader, it's a fun book.

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The Big Book of Tiny Cars by Russell Hayes is a fun look at the history of these very small vehicles with an eye toward highlighting the rationale behind each in addition to simply telling us about each one. From 1900 to the present day most of the noteworthy tiny cars are given a brief write-up along with basic specifications and where available some interesting tidbit, whether popular culture based or little-known facts about the car. There are numerous sidebars throughout that discuss everything from industry responses to regulations and the various almost tiny cars. These help to contextualize the individual write-ups. While I was certainly familiar with the more recent (in my world, the past 50 years or so) models, I was just barely aware of how many of these vehicles have been made. If your curiosity drives you like mine does me, I will pass on a couple of fun things to supplement this book (aside from visiting a nice car museum like one in Nashville for those in the US). First, thanks to the internet, we have a wealth of images available online. I wanted to see additional images of some of the models and had mostly good luck looking them up. What spurred me toward this was when Hayes mentioned that Paul Arzens' "electric egg" is at the Cite de l'automobile. I enjoyed going back and forth between this book and the internet. My second excursion was to start paying more attention to the small cars in the background of many films. While not all are tiny cars there are a lot of models that are lesser known and, of course, there are some tiny cars in older films that take place mostly in the cities of Europe. This will be a fun read for both the casual reader with an interest in looking at these wonderful vehicles as well as the reader with a large interest in automotive history. Largely in contextualizing the history, there is even good information for those simply interested in history more broadly. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

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Oh, what a fun little book! Chock full of wonderful little cars that time has seemed to forget. With over a hundred examples! I remember reading about some of these in the past, even seen a few of them in person, but this book really opened my eyes to a world that I scarcely knew existed. If this book does not bring a smile to your face, you must be the Grinch!

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