Automotive Encyclopedia

Fundamental Principles, Operation, Construction and Repair

by William K. Toboldt, Larry Johnson, W. Scott Gauthier

No, not that kind of encyclopedia. When we see the term Automotive Encyclopedia we have been conditioned by the ubiquitous coffee table book genre to immediately expect an “Abarth to Zagato” sort of compilation of the last hundred years of industrialism. This newest edition of Goodheart-Willcox’s Automotive Encyclopedia is a completely different kind of encyclopedia. It is nothing less than a comprehensive look at the inner workings and theory behind every aspect and component of a modern automobile.

Goodheart-Willcox have been in the publishing business since 1921 and this well-established title has been an industry standard since 1968. The authors have done an exceptional job writing in a simple yet detailed style that has the potential to transform the autopilot-type driver into a full-fledged gearhead. Since “a picture is worth a 1000 words” the book is amply peppered with an abundance of color diagrams, photos, and illustrations (supplied in most cases by the automobile manufacturers themselves).

This book is first and foremost a teaching tool, complete with numerous subheadings, glossary terms, even end-of-chapter review questions. This point cannot be stressed enough. Some may consider this textbook style a drawback. There are none of the entertaining sidebars or little anecdotes that are so prevalent in other types of publications, especially that staple of fix-it books—the trouble-shooting guide. Written, designed, and marketed as a classroom companion for the aspiring professional auto technician, this book is neither shop manual nor anecdotal. However, not just the professional mechanic but any reader with an interest in mechanical matters will acquire a thorough core knowledge base which is a most valuable tool for doing your own work or understanding what someone else will do to your car.

This formidable text of 846 pages and 47 chapters on everything from “Engine Fundamentals” to “Fasteners, Seals, and Gaskets” leaves nothing to be desired for anyone who has ever wondered “why.” The reader here is offered an insight into the theory, design, and practice of automobile mechanics that is essential in understanding the importance of critical developments. Automotive Encyclopedia is a perfect point of entry to the technical side of motoring.


Copyright 2013, Rodney E. Bender (

Automotive Encyclopedia
by William K. Toboldt, Larry Johnson, W. Scott Gauthier
Goodheart-Willcox, 2000
846 p., 1800+ illustrations, hardcover
List Price: $55.96
ISBN-13: 978-1566377133

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