Road & Track Illustrated Automotive Dictionary
by John Dinkel
Books Worth a Spot on a Car Buff's Shelf
For many people, automotive mechanics will always be one of the everlasting mysteries of life. Trips to the dealership for service or even combing through car reviews seem to entail a certain amount of technical decoding, which inevitably leads to head-scratching and frustration.
The staff of Road & Track magazine had these laypeople in mind when it came up with its original Illustrated Automotive Dictionary in 1977.
Since then, there have been all sorts of breakthroughs in automotive technology, from antilock brakes to drive-by-wire throttles to the continuously variable transmission. A few years ago, John Dinkel, who was Road & Track"s editor in chief at the time of the original publication, updated the dictionary to include these advances. The latest edition contains more than 1,300 definitions and 435 black-and-white photographs and illustrations.
The latest edition arrived in 2000, just before the recent boom in environmental awareness, and there is a huge gap in the dictionary regarding alternative fuels. Ethanol made the cut, but other newfound catchwords, like biodiesel, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell, didn"t.