American Cars: Every Model, Year by Year

by J. “Kelly” Flory, Jr.

It’s not every author who is able to enjoy having his publisher request not merely to do another reprint but instead ask him to revise and update the information so that that book can be reissued twenty years after it first published. Oh, and did we mention that first book contained 944 pages?

The reissue was accomplished in two steps, for the 2004 book was titled American Cars, 1960–1972 and yes, we told you about it here. The reissue is now two volumes that may be purchased individually. One covers  1966–1972 and the other 1960–1965.

These books are essentially an entire library of facts, figures, and details for it required nearly 10,000 pieces of original factory sales and marketing literature plus National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) Used Car Guides as well as issues of Motor Magazine and others to assemble the contents of these books. That fact chasing can get tricky as author John “Kelly” Flory, Jr. shared with your commentator: 

“For both volumes it was basically fixing issues that I had found over the years, plus adding option pricing and correcting and adding engine pricing and availability. The engines and transmissions were the hardest. I like to do my books with what was available from the start of a year as it reduces the odds of missing things that had been added, or deleted during the course of a model year. As an example, with the 1966 to 1972 years, there was a lot of what could be questionable availability and pricing. Chevy in particular was known to put out original literature with at least one later revision. I would find conflicting information thus questionable possible errors to review and sort out.”

Organization is chronological. Within each year segment, each make is covered alphabetically model by model. Each model listing includes available body styles, base pricing, engine/transmission choices with power ratings, information identifying what was standard equipment and what options were available along with price for each. Included also are statistics such as curb weight and dimensions, both interior and exterior, plus paint color choices and more. As the information is so logically organized and pages are tabbed on the outer edge by year, while an index is not an absolute necessity, it is certainly a nice touch showing special consideration for a reader/researcher’s needs.

Also fun—and nostalgic for those who are of an age to recall them—are the advertising slogans with which sections, then each segment within sections, begin. Picking at random 1969 Ford, there’s “It’s the going thing!” then for the Falcon “Seven beautiful ways to beat the high cost of buying.” And for the Custom, Galaxie, and LTD there is “This is how Ford stands in 1969. Bigger. Wider. Longer. Quieter. And alone in its class.” It’s pretty obvious company marketers and ad agencies didn’t always coin memorable phrases.

To be clear Flory’s books are not competition—but rather companions—to the mainstay references, the various issues of Standard Catalog of American Cars first published in 1982 and still in print albeit also updated from time to time. Happily one of its original co-authors Beverly Rae Kimes was still vital when Flory’s first books published. Who better to understand the dedication and work entailed in assembling such data than Bev Kimes? Her comment upon examining Flory’s published efforts was, “book . . . splendidly well-organized presentation . . . impressively complete . . . obviously [the author] loves these cars. His enthusiasm shines through in the introductions preceding each model segment which are written with authority and clarity . . . highly recommended . . . fabulous!”

Books such as Flory’s American Cars, Every Model, Year by Year and Standard Catalogs serve hobbyists of all ages in a myriad of ways. Those who take the time to explore the pages are exposed to a tremendous amount of information that can be used to guide a purchase or a restoration, help authenticate in judging situations, and so much more. Spot an American-made car that was originally available in the US but you know little about it, these are the books to turn to first. Interested in the cars of a particular era or year? Flory’s books are the ones to turn to. 

Even the editors of automotive publications and periodicals agree with Hemmings’ observation that Flory’s works are our go-to books. They are incredibly good.And now, produced as softcovers and available individually, they’re also more affordable as you, potential buyer, can more closely tailor the years covered by individual titles to your interests and needs.   

American Cars, 1966 to 1972
Every Model, Year by Year
by J. “Kelly” Flory, Jr.
McFarland & Co., 2024
544 pages, 574 b/w images, softcover, indexed
List Price: $39.95
ISBN 13: 978 1 4766 8372 0
American Cars, 1960 to 1965
Every Model, Year by Year
by J. “Kelly” Flory, Jr.
McFarland & Co., 2023
416 pages, 441 b/w images, softcover, indexed
List Price: $39.95 
ISBN 13: 978 1 4766 8371 3
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