- Written by webmin
Back when Detroit was first getting serious about mass-producing high-output models, car magazines provided enthusiasts with a direct line to the latest developments, and right in the thick of it was Martyn Schorr, who spent most of the ’60s and early ’70s as the editor of High Performance Cars magazine. The position afforded Schorr the opportunity to sample most of the latest offerings from the automakers as a member of the motoring press; those relationships also opened a number of doors into the manufacturer’s skunkworks as well, providing glimpses of racing programs, upcoming models, concept cars and other behind-the-scenes bits of insider information.
Back then, those scoops were regular fare for Schorr’s magazine, but years later, after Detroit had all but abandoned its supercar efforts, he’d observed the growing interest in the performance cars of an era gone by, and was inspired to compile some of his best stories from that time into books, spawning the Quicksilver Supercar Series back in the early 1980s.
Recognizing that brand loyalty was still very much a part of muscle car enthusiasm, Schorr elected to group the compilations by manufacturer; it proved to be the right approach, as the books were quite popular. Years later, after the books had long been out of print, Schorr noticed that they were still frequently referenced by enthusiasts, who seemed to covet original copies, prompting him to revisit the Quicksilver efforts.
Now, working with publishing partner Peter Bodensteiner of Stance and Speed, Schorr is reissuing two of the most popular books from the Quicksilver series: Mopar: The Performance Years and Pontiac: The Performance Years.
We got our hands on advanced copies of each, and found ourselves being sucked in each time we started flipping pages. In fact, several of us were familiar with these books from their first go-round, recalling some of the proving grounds photo shoots and interviews with key factory racing program contacts. It’s all there in the new books, which are essentially presented exactly as they were. We should point out that as a product of a small automotive publishing effort in the early ’80s, these books were done entirely in black and white, with very basic layouts, reflecting typical car magazine style of the ’60s and ’70s.
But that shouldn’t hinder enthusiasts, because the real meat here is as valid and interesting as it was more than 25 years ago. Both books are organized somewhat chronologically; the Mopar version starts with a history of the Hemi engine before charting Chrysler’s performance developments from 1962 into the ’70s, while the Pontiac book actually kicks off with the division’s launch before moving into ’50s concept cars and then starting its year-by-year reporting with 1955 and the introduction of the Pontiac V-8.
Each book is illustrated with a mixture of factory images and Schorr’s own photography – every page has some sort of artwork accompanying the text. In addition to the reviews of new performance models for the era covered, there are detailed listings of part numbers for factory speed parts, accounts of factory-backed racing efforts, engine specs and more. Each book hovers right around 200 pages, and each is priced at $24.95, available at www.stanceandspeed.com or at amazon.com (Mopar, Pontiac).