Yet another volume distinguished by marvelous photography is Porsche 911: Perfection by Design. Car historian Randy Leffingwell provides the ample text, but he also shares the photo-taking duties with David Newhardt. The result is around 300 color and black-and-white shots of this hot-blooded Porsche sports car, from the early forerunners that first appeared in the 1950s, to the beginning of its distinctively long 40-year run in the 1960s (with the Type 901), on to the present 2005 models. Leffingwell's words provide the inside scoop on the vision behind the inspired aesthetic and technical design of the 911, drawing upon interviews with dozens of Porsche engineers and executives as well as competitors who were admittedly influenced by the automobile's powerful, sleek image and its nonpareil manual-shift high performance. Casual car buffs might get a little daunted by Leffingwell's discussion of things like digital engine management systems, while full-blown gearheads will be solidly engaged. But everyone will revel in the views of the various incarnations of this incredibly stylish car through the decades, distinguished by subtle, tasteful body tweaks and carefully thought-out mechanical enhancements, resulting in ultra-cool specific models such as the Turbo, the Carrera, the Cabriolet and the Speedster, many produced in limited editions and carrying price tags of upwards of $200,000. If you could afford one, you'd surely buy it, and this gorgeous volume shows why.
Martin Brady is making out his Christmas list at home in Nashville.