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Forty Cars That Owned Me

Patrick J. Nowak (Author)

ISBN: 0-7414-3736-8 ©2007
Price: $19.95
Book Size: 5.5'' x 8.5'' , 331 pages
Category/Subject: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs

A collection of short stories about forty cars that “owned” the author. Great cars, great people, great stories with happy endings. Nowak had two addictions, beat one, kept one.

This is a collection of short stories about forty cars that “owned” the author. Race cars capable of 175 mph, unique cars like the 1953 Nash with its factory installed queen bed, three Jaguars including the classic XKE, an Aston Martin DB-5, pro rally cars, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Chevys, and lots of Ford Mustangs that all had their stories, with a number of larger than life characters associated with these cars.

Pat Nowak had two addictions, fermented liquids and automobiles. He beat one but not the other. These are stories of great cars and wonderful people.

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Customer Reviews

  A book for folks who love cars! , 02/20/2007
Reviewer: Rob Winike
Most guys who were born between the late Forties and early Fifties have a love affair with a car they owned at one time or another. It’s part of the American Experience, as they say. Sometimes the cars overtake their owners, and seem to radiate a kind of love of their own. Then, it can be said the cars “own their owners.” Anyway, that’s author and auto aficionado Pat Nowak’s view. And his brand new book, Forty Cars That Owned Me from Infinity Publishing, is right on the mark. Pat Nowak tells as much (and WAY more) in this, his first book, about cars, life, and everything connected. In that even those of us who love cars and love to drive them will probably never log as many miles as Nowak, or own as many cars, or drive in road rallies and own a Jaguar XKE, it’s a treat to share his memories and experiences. He talks of his adventures in a light-hearted manner that even readers who have only had casual experiences owning and loving cars can appreciate and enjoy. Pat is witty, and his writing is easy on the ear. The result is a highly attuned and well crafted work that mines the stories surrounding forty cars that fell closest to his heart. In actuality, he admits to having owned 65 cars in all. Pretty much all of them embraced a story or two. The beauty of these stories lies in the connections he makes with guys and gals who had great times with their cars, and are willing to share them. It has taken him more than four years to get it all down on paper, but this book turns out to be a gem of a collection that explores the fine art of finding, buying, and building the car of your dreams. Everybody has a dream, what’s your dream? In Forty Cars That Owned Me Nowak explains that the dream comes from not only owning the car, but incorporating it into your life experience, which is a very American phenomenon. Yes, other countries have produced drivers that were prolific road racing and Pro Rally drivers, but Pat’s writing really personalizes the experiences as a young guy and then an adult living in the Midwest -- a very specific, unique experience. You feel like you are there, in Michigan, on the road, in the race, possibly driving 150 mph, slip-sliding through tight corners, down long straight-aways, maybe on a long deserted highway. He crashes a few cars, yeah, but so haven’t we all? The charging on through, breaking on through smoke and debris to the other side -- not to mention but yeah let’s mention, through raising kids and keeping a marriage together, through excruciating long nights on the road as a salesmen -- that’s what makes these car tales human. This is stuff we’ve all been through, a very American experience. No one maybe would want to go back and do it over again, but damn, it’s a blast to revisit it! Nobody can say it wasn’t a time to survive, and a time to carry on. He keeps his comments on his sleeve, and shows you everything that he feels. He loves that blonde “fox” (his words, not mine; in my day they were called chicks!) who sat in the seat beside him in his favorite all-time car, the 1962 Triumph TR-3B roadster. So you know very early on that he’s not just some motor head. In fact, what he shares about his struggle and eventual victory over alcohol addiction is endearing. Thanks to his perseverance, the foxy blonde who shared the other seat in the TR-3B, Nancy, is still with him, his wife. I like that Pat is able to step away from the minutia he talks about with each car, to expose his feelings about cars, and life in general. There is a thing he calls “the Secret Sauce” that might stand for the “circle of life.” Something like Obi Wan Kenobi might have described to Luke Skywalker as “the force.” In the author’s words, “It looked great and ran great, just like it was supposed to do. But more than that, it defined the times for me. (Sometimes) the car makes the events.” My suggestion is that you buy two copies -- one for your own to keep, and one to give as a gift to the person that you know who loves cars the most. You won’t be sorry! Rob Winike is an author living in Portland, Oregon.

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  Forty Cars 'drives' well , 02/21/2007
Reviewer: Colin McCleery
I met the author before reading the book, adding another dimension to this great little book. I'm a 'car guy' so the title rings with my experience also. The book is divided up into chapters by car and describes the cars in non technical terms, in many cases explaining the love/hate relationship with each car. How can you become so emotionally attached to a car ? Pat explains that in some detail. I was traveling during the time I was reading the book, and I was able to read aloud some portions to my wife as she drove.....and she appreciated some of the observations that Pat made about why we 'car people' act the way we do about our cars. Some of the things Pat says about car ownership are things I've said to her many times, in fact she asked if I was somehow related to the author...only in the fact that Pat and I are both owned by some of our cars. It would have been nice to see some more pictures of the cars ( and people) described in the book, but that's my only nit pick. I've recommended the book to some of my non 'car people' friends already, as a way to help explain my own life with cars. Easy to read and entertaining.

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  Secret Sauce , 02/27/2007
Reviewer: Jeff Kruizenga
In Pat Nowak's new book he regularly refers to the "secret sauce" that endears us to our cars. An impulse certainly shared more by the male populace rather than the females. It's that rare mixture of aesthetics and performance that make our pulse quicken that impish grim appear on our face. Pat's latest book, "Forty Cars That Owned Me," has that same curb appeal - or - secret sauce, if you will. He writes in an easy, affable style that draws you in and then maintains your interest throughout each of the short tales of various cars he has encountered in his many years and miles behind the wheel. Each tale is a good mix of humor and adventure with a fair portion of automotive history and easy to understand technical information sprnkled in as well. I am not a gear head and could hardly be considered a car enthusiast but I enjoyed reading all the stories. As Pat once said to me: "Everyone has a story about a car" - which is true - it's just that most of them aren't nearly as entertaining as Pat's. Highly recommended reading.

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  very cool , 06/02/2008
Reviewer: davie looman
Some of the cars are not my style, yet the author made them sound like good cars. Especially liked the race car! It sounds like it was a fun part of his life.

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