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Cars, cars, cars ...

Originally published in the Ketchikan Daily News, July 2022; written by Pat Tully


On July 23, 1903, the Ford Motor Company sold its first car, a Model A, to a Chicago dentist for $850. It was the beginning of America’s love affair with the automobile. The Ketchikan Public Library has a variety of books for Ketchikan’s car enthusiasts.


The Life of the Automobile, by Steven Parissien, is a history that starts with the earliest horseless carriages of the 1880s to the electric cars of the early 21st century. Parissien brings to vivid life the people and companies involved in the evolution of the automobile, and the profound economic and cultural changes that took place as a result.


The People’s Car: A Global History of the Volkswagen Beetle, by Bernhard Rieger, traces the history of the Beetle from its beginnings in Nazi Germany and popularity in the post-war years, to its counter-culture status in the 1960s.


In the Library’s DVD collection, Wagonmasters is a documentary on the history of the station wagon. This distinctively American vehicle is the stuff of family vacation legends from the 1950s through the 1980s.


The automobile as art has had almost as great an impact on society as the automobile as transportation. Ketchikan’s annual Fourth of July Car Show is a wonderful example of the care, technical know-how and passion people have for automobiles.


Classic Car: A Definitive Visual History, by Martin Gurdon, is a beautiful book filled with photographs of classic cars from the 1940s through the 1980s. Barn Find Road Trip, by Tom Cotter, is an illustrated account of three friends who went on a hunt for forgotten classic cars in back yards, garages and barns.


The Library has books on basic car care and maintenance for those of us who For those who still repair their own vehicles, the Library has Chilton’s Auto Service Manuals for older cars and trucks.


For the diagnosis and repair or newer cars and trucks, the Library has an online resource with all the detailed instructions and schematics you’ll need. Just go to the Library’s webpage, click Find Stuff, scroll down almost to the bottom of the page, and click Auto Repair. At the top you select the year, make, model and engine type, and then click the system on which you’re working.


The automobile had as profound an effect on the twentieth century as the internet has had on the twenty-first century. Stop by the Ketchikan Public Library to learn everything you want to know about cars!

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