Interview with Anthony Young

How did you get into automotive writing?
I was attending Pratt Institute in the mid-1970s to study Industrial Design. I was an avid reader of Road & Track magazine and got the idea to do a small pen and ink illustration for the table of contents page. The magazine would run a new illustration there every month. So, I spent about 20 hours working on an illustration of a classic Rolls-Royce inside a barn and sent it off to the magazine. Some time later I got a letter saying it was accepted, and I would be getting a check for $35. I was shocked. I decided then and there I would not pursue automotive illustration and decided instead to write articles.
What was the first automotive magazine you wrote for when you started writing?
One of the first magazines I contacted with article ideas was CARS magazine. There editorial office was in Manhattan and I lived in Brooklyn, so after some correspondence, they invited me to their editorial offices. I met Jeremy Young and another editor there. I told them I had an idea for a series on muslcecar styling, which I titled "Musclecar Aesthetic." They liked the idea and told me to write several articles on Chrysler, Ford and Chevy. I did that and mailed them in. Naturally, these were my first attempts and they needed work. I visited CARS magazine again and they went over what needed work before they could publish it. I did the rewrites as they suggested, included the needed photos, and they published the whole series of six articles almost without any further editing. But another magazine I aspired to write for was Automobile Quarterly.
How did you succeed in getting to write for Automobile Quarterly?
After I graduated from Pratt Institute I moved to Westport, Connecticut. I made some queries to Beverly Rae Kimes who was editor-in-chief of AQ. Each idea was rejected as either having been done before or it was not a story they were interested in publishing. When I moved to Ridgefiled in 1980, I discovered a Bugatti restorer on Catoonah Street. I visited to try to get an article idea and when I went inside, up in the rafters of the building was a plane fuselage and wing. The owner of the shop told me that was an original Bugatti airplane they were going to restore.

I wrote to Beverly Kimes and suggested an article related to Bugatti restoration since they had already done numerous articles on Bugatti. I mentioned the discovery of the Bugatti airplane and she must have been impressed. Instead of my idea, she wrote me and asked if I wanted to write the history of the Oldsmobile Toronado. I immediately agreed.
How did you get your first oppotunity to write a book?
I had written several of articles for Automobile Quarterly over the next two years, and one of them was "The Winged Warriors of Chelsea," about the design development and testing of the aerodynamic Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird. It came to attention of an editor at Motorbooks International and she wrote me and asked if I would like to write a book on Dodge and Plymouth musclecars for a series they were publishing. I took two seconds to think about that one and of course agreed.

I flew to Chrysler Corporation in Highland Park, Michigan and conducted interviews and gathered all the printed material and photographs they would lend to me. I spend months writing, rewriting and captioning over 100 photographs and delivered it to Motorbooks in 1983. Mighty Mopars was published in 1984. When AutoWeek magazine ran a list of the best selling automotive titles at the end of 1984, No. 1 was Mighty Mopars! That's when I knew I could really do automotive writing successfully.
What other automtotive titles have you published?
Mighty Mopars was strictly a black & white publication like other books in that series. Then Motorbooks decided they wanted to do the Musclecar Color History Series. My first book for them in that series was the Chevrolet Smallblock V-8, followed by Chevrolet Big-Block Muscle Cars, and then HEMI - History of the Chrylsler Hemi V-8 and Hemi-powered Cars which was published in 1991. HEMI remained in print for nearly ten years before it ceased publication. In 2013 I decided to make it into an e-book, and that's why you are now reading this interview!
Any other books after HEMI?
Yes, I wrote Ford Hi-Po V-8 Muscle Cars that came out in 1994, Chevrolet Hot Ones 1955-1957--my first hardcover book--was published in 1995, I wrote a history of the Corvette ZR-1 titled The Heart of the Beast which was published by Automobile Quarterly, and then Chrysler, Dodge & Plymouth Muscle which was a full color hardbound book which I am particularly proud of.
What other automotive writers do you admire?
One of the first I remember was Roger Huntington, who wrote a lot of articles for CARS magazine, and was a legend as an automotive journalist. Another was Ken Purdy who wrote regularly for Playboy and published several books. I still have Ken Purdy's Book of Automobiles which is a collection of his published articles.
What was your most exciting writing assignment?
I sent a query to Beverly Kimes at AQ about interviewing Swiss exotic car builder Peter Monteverdi and write the history of his magnificent GT cars built in Basel. She agreed and even agreed to cover my expenses to fly there and cover the hotel room. Mr. Monteverdi, who was somewhat reclusive, agreed to do the interview because he knew the high reputation of Automobile Quarterly had established.

The day I met Mr. Monteverdi at his plant and museum was the thrill of my life. To me it was like meeting Ferruccio Lamborghini or Enzo Ferrari. All Monteverdi cars were powered by either the Chrysler 440 Magnum or the 426 Hemi. After an interview that lasted nearly an hour, I was taken out by his business manager and was allowed to drive a 375 L GT from the museum collection. What a thrill! The article took over a year to finally get published, which was titled "The Monteverdi Mystique."
Have you written books on other topics?
Yes. I wrote an article for AQ on the design of the lunar roving vehicle used on Apollo 15, 16 and 17. That lead to a book idea I submitted to Springer/Praxis and they accepted the proposal. I interviewed the Apollo astronauts and gathered all the documentation available in the NASA archives and other locations. Lunar and Planetary Rovers was published in 2006. I followed up that book with The Saturn V F-1 Engine - Powering Apollo Into History, published in 2009.
Will any other of your previously published books be made into E-books?
Yes, several of them will be made into e-books. I will probably published two more during 2014, but have not decided yet which ones.
What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I have always enjoyed film and digital photography, and I collect Nikon cameras. I have a Nikon 90S, F3, F4, FG, and N75 for shooting film, and I have a Nikon D70 and professional D2X for digital photography.
Published 2014-02-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Chrysler's Mightiest V-8
Price: $1.97 USD. Words: 29,720. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » History » History of things, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Corporate & business history
The definitive history of the great Chrysler hemi-head V-8 and the cars it powered from the 1950s through the 1970s. Illustrated with many rare photos. Anthony Young is also the author of the best-selling Mighty Mopars.