Randy Leffingwell is a writer that I respect greatly. I met him once at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance years ago, and he could not have been a nicer and more encouraging fellow [Randy was actually one of our first interviews years ago]. Randy's primary source material tends to bounce between Mustangs, Corvettes, and Porsches, all of which I adore. I have at least a dozen of his tomes littering my office as I write this, and this new one is a welcome addition. Perhaps something more of a 'coffee table book', Porsche 70 Years is packed with a mix of gorgeous vintage photographs, original factory renderings, and spectacular studio photography from Michael Furman. As for Leffingwell's part, he again knocks it out of the park with a mixture of eloquent fact recitation and turn of phrase that doesn't beat you over the head with elegance. One of Randy's greatest traits is an ability to get down to brass tacks without being boring or longwinded.
This book is hardly what I'd label "light reading" as it weighs in at over 5 pounds. While there are plenty of photographs to thumb through, you'll really want to sit down and read a few of these chapters, because you just might learn something. The book follows the full narrative of Porsche's road car history from the first 356s built in a dirt-floor sawmill in Gmünd to the most technologically advanced car we've ever even thought about, the upcoming Mission E. Through seven decades, Porsche has continually reshaped itself to, sometimes merely surviving to their thriving current days, and this book follows that full curve. This is, without doubt, Leffingwell's most thorough examination of Porsche's history. I'd almost consider this book to be reminiscent of Karl Ludvigsen's Excellence Was Expected, you know, if you want to get the gist of Porsche's history without wading through a 1700 page monstrosity. All of the bases are certainly covered, though perhaps not in the excruciating detail of Mister Ludvigsen.
With 256 pages of book, complete with 200 full color photographs and 50 additional black and white images, there is a whole lot of bang for the buck in this one. You can get your copy on Amazon right here, and buy a second one for the Porsche fanatic on your holiday shopping list. The retail price is $60, but Amazon's current price of $37.42 is an incredible bargain for this one.
In the interest of full disclosure, Quarto Publishing/Motorbooks sent us a copy of this book for review purposes. I'm more than happy to add it to my overflowing shelves.