Automobile Manufacturers Worldwide Registry
by Marián Suman-Hreblay
Even for a publisher that specializes in scholarly and reference books, this seems a most unusual title to carry—good for us that they do! SAH member Suman-Hreblay spent some 30 years thumbing through books, catalogs, and magazines gathering data for this “registry.”
Neither catalog nor encyclopedia, it is a directory of nearly 11,000 manufacturers of all 67 automobile-building nations. Listed are all cars of passenger-carrying capacity with 2–8 wheels, beginning with Cugnot’s 1770 steam carriage. Even experimental cars, kit cars, one-offs, tuner cars are included—if one or more were built it’s in here.
The purpose of a book like this should be self-evident; if it isn’t, this quote may enlighten: “None of these cars was created in a vacuum, and it is not possible to fully understand the history of a single marque or car without studying the people who created it, related cars, regional influences and the time period in which the company produced cars.”
The alphabetical and extensively cross-referenced entries state the name of the car or company, country of origin, production year(s), factory location, and brief comments. The bibliography lists the main sources the author consulted and the reader is reminded that some titles will be out of print currently or, conversely, be available now in revised editions.
One aspect is inconsistently handled and that is the state of current corporate ownership because it changes all the time. For instance, Skoda is listed as being part of the Volkswagen Group, but neither Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, or Seat are thus identified. Presumably not everyone keeps up with such matters and it cannot be assumed that it is common knowledge that, for instance, Ford once owned Jaguar (now with Tata) and Aston Martin (since 2007 in semi-private hands). The serious user will probably make a habit of updating this registry by hand anyway as the need arises, such as changing the Oldsmobile entry from “1897–present” to “–2000”. If this registry were published today it would probably be in electronic form or on the web were it could easily be kept current.
The real merit of this registry are the entries pertaining to long-defunct makes whose data won’t change any more and whose particulars are not easy to look up elsewhere.
When you need to be sure, when you need to be really sure—whether you need to settle a bet or do serious research—this book will quickly prove its utility.
Copyright 2011, Sabu Advani (speedreaders.info).