"A quiet Greatness" features the most amazing Japanese cars. The book set by Mark R. Brinker and Myron T. Vernis has five volumes and 1,395 pages.
Can 60 years of Japanese car history fit between two book covers? Yes, if you take several of them. The two car collectors Mark R. Brinker and Myron T. Vernis spent six years collecting facts and pictures, writing tables and texts. The result of her enthusiasm for Japanese cars are five volumes that together weigh 16 kilograms. However, "A quiet Greatness, Japan's most astonishing Automobiles" does not claim to be complete. The book focuses on sports cars, coupes and sporty versions of road cars. For example, a Toyota Landcruiser is completely missing and the Mitsubishi Pajero only makes an appearance as the Evolution rally version.
Celica successes and Century brochures
The authors consider the worldwide success model Toyota Corolla in the sportiest versions to be astonishing enough to move on to the Celica after a few pages. Brinker and Vernis dedicate wonderful pictures and detailed tables to their sporting careers. Enthusiasts will also love the imprint of Japanese Toyota Century brochures.
The automotive heroes of Japanese automotive culture are given plenty of space: Honda NSX, Mazda MX-5, the Z models from Datsun/Nissan, Mitsubishi Lancer, Toyota Celica and Subaru Impreza WRX can each be seen on several pages.
There is also plenty of exotic stuff from Hino to Mitsouka. The authors tell the story of the Dome P2, the title hero of a "Road & Track" issue from September 1979, as well as that of the sporty models from Hino - both names should only mean something to a few enthusiasts in Europe.
Double-sided pictures and illustrations
More common models that are also known in Europe can also be found: The Honda CR-X, for example, is described in both generations and with the changes for the Japanese, USA and European markets. Numerous illustrations such as those of the Honda NSX show the technology of the cars. Thread stitching ensures that the double-sided images are easy to look at without the pages falling shut. The 2,200 pictures and illustrations are a strength of the book. It's a pity that technical data is almost exclusively in the scrolling text; Tables with dates and production figures would be easier to collect. Some tables in the supplementary volume, which is set up as an index, cannot replace such data tables.
Tight text, lush pictures
"You'll end up wanting to add a car or three to your collection," writes Jay Leno in the foreword. The presenter and car collector owns three sports cars from Japanese brands: Honda S600, Mazda Cosmo and a new Honda NSX. All three also appear in the book. There are a total of 240 models from 18 brands, which are presented in mostly brief English texts. The images are all the more opulent on the glossy 150 gram paper.
The book with 1,395 pages in four volumes costs 334.95 euros plus shipping in the USA . The volumes are available from the German distributor for 449 euros including shipping . Delivery to Switzerland costs 19 euros extra.
With their five volumes on Japanese automobiles, the two US collectors and authors Brinker and Vernis have delivered a monumental work and closed a gap. There has never been a reference book on Japanese automobiles of this size and this lavish presentation.
The fact that the texts are all in English shouldn't bother enthusiasts. The steep price of 449 euros is more of a hurdle. Direct shipping from the US is even more expensive.