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Road and Track Technical Correspondance - April 2003


I recently began receiving your magazine, and as a longtime car enthusiast, I decided to bone-up on the more technical aspects of automobiles. What I am looking for is a source for good explanations of engines, suspensions and race modifications, whether it be in a book or on a website. I am pretty new to the technical side of things, but would like to change that quickly.
Jason Forden


Now here’s a tall order, thanks to the geometrically increasing complexity of current autos. The best, although general, answer is to read, read, read. The more information you devour, the more understanding you"ll simply pick up.

For a primer, try Road & Track’s Illustrated Automotive Dictionary. Written by former editor John Dinkel, with 1300 definitions, 435 illustrations and 250 pages, it covers all common and some not-so-common terms. The dictionary format makes finding a term easy, but not so researchoriented as to discourage casual reading. It is available for $19.95 from Bentley Publishers, 1734 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Mass. 02138, (617) 547-4170, www.BentleyPublishers.com

Much more technically dense is Racecar Engineering, a monthly magazine. It’ll throw you into the deep end of the racing pool, but will give you the technical exposure you crave. It’s published in the UK. but appears on major bookstore shelves.

Finally, there’s nothing like hands-on experience to cement understanding. Any time spent in a repair shop or class (community colleges and Regional Occupational Program classes are prime candidates) quickly increases understanding, as will volunteering on a race team.