Goodwill Score: Small Wonder – The Amazing Story of the Volkswagen

I scored a couple automotive books at the house that donations built: Goodwill. More specifically, the giant Goodwill on Portland’s eastside. I hate it there. It’s too bright, noisy, dirty, expensive, and addictive. You’ll find me and my girlfriend there a few times a week. As my friend Kevin says – it’s the Wal-Mart of thrift stores. I guess the only difference is that I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Wally world.

I shouldn’t complain – I’ve scored a lot of Chilton and Haynes manuals there for about 3 bucks each. Some of them look like they never left the glove box or the garage bookshelf, while others have the signature greasy thumb smear along the text block that tell you that someone loved that book, and more importantly loved the vehicle that the book was written for. Actually, maybe they hated the book, because their car was always breaking down. Maybe donating that well-worn manual was a relief. Either way, I find that the pages detailing valve adjustments and carb tuning are usually the dirtiest and most referenced.

So I found a neat little paperback squished between all the Volvo 240 Haynes manuals titled “Small Wonder: The Amazing Story of the Volkswagen” by Walter Henry Nelson. Like most sane people, I love the original VW’s. I’ve never owned one but I can’t rule it out for the future: my head turns at every Vanagon, Beetle and Karmann Ghia I see putting around town.

This book did the same head turn— I immediately admired the the cover design of this 1970 “Revised and Enlarged” edition. Simple illustration and three colors compliments the classic curves of the Beetle. I can imagine this cover pattern on the shirt of a gray-haired hippy walking around a car show. “Far out, man.”

This appears to be the second or third edition. It weighs in at about 300 pages with a hefty bibliography at the end, so this little paperback is more of a historical novel than a light read.

As for the actual content? I’ve only flipped through at this point, but I’ve added it to my nightstand rather than the garage bookshelf. However, if I’m honest with myself, this will probably find it’s way into the stacks of other mechanical books that I’ve purchased for their vintage and design, but never really get around to reading. It’s a looker for a couple bucks.

The first edition of the book is equally handsome, and you can score a signed copy of that edition here,

Image Credit: Antic Hay Rare Books

The other book I scored is from a similar timeframe, but the content is much more my style. More on that in a future blog post.

Amazon Affiliate Link for the Current Edition

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