The Art of the Classic Sports Car

by Stuart Godling. Photography by James Mann. Book review by Gary Smith.

Twenty-two marques are featured in this book. There is a concise, well-written history of each manufacturer, with one or two examples of a model chosen to represent the marque. The histories are quite interesting, and tell the stories of motivated enthusiasts moving through their place in time, having to react to the prevailing business climates, investor problems, and political interference.

James Mann has caught the essence of the featured models by photographing unique details and views of the cars. For example, if there is one view that characterizes the 1963 Stingray, it’s a top shot with it’s trademark split rear window.

Several cars have top views. There is very little perspective in these shots which tells me that James was able to shoot directly overhead with some telephoto, not an easy set-up. All of the photos appear to be studio shots, with backgrounds dropped out, and replaced with black. Nicely done.

There are four major sections. Classic Roadsters feature the AC Ace; Austin Healey 100S; BMW 328 and 507, MG TC Midget, and MGA; Porsche 356; Sunbeam Tiger, and the Triumph TR4. The GT section include the Aston Martin DB4; Chevrolet Corvette C1 and C2; Ferrari 250 California; Marcos 3-Liter GT. and the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. Sporting Coupes section has the Datsun 240Z; Ferrair Dino 246GT; Renault Alpine A110; and the Toyota 2000GT. The Race Bred section shows the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale; Fiat Dino and 8V; Jaguar XKSS and E-Tpe; Lotus Elan and Elan S1; Maserati 300S; and the Porsche 911 Carrera RS.

Available on Amazon

Description from the Publisher

Sports cars are the athletes of the automotive world. Always nimble and quick, often powerful, sports cars fly where other cars lumber, and dash where others plod. The definition of a sports car is somewhat fluid, and the question “What was the first sports car?” will often incite a heated debate among enthusiasts. Still, most car fans feel that they know a sports car when they see one and when asked to name a few will rattle off a remarkably similar list of name plates: Jaguar, Corvette, Triumph, MG, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lotus, Alfa-Romeo, BMW. Pressed harder, more exotic and obscure brands will emerge: DB, Alpine, Bugatti, Lancia.

Sports cars have offered road and track excitement for nearly 100 years. The original cars evolved for racing, but their appeal and popularity ensured that production versions were soon available for those whose sporting intents never left the boulevard or winding back road.

Along the way, sports cars became more comfortable, sometimes almost practical, and above all handsome. But never have they been boring.

The Art of the Classic Sports Car offers enthusiasts a beautifully illustrated review of several decades of high-performance cars, featuring cars from around the globe all shot in the studio to ensure a handsome and desirable book. Each featured car includes a profile discussing the car’s place in sports car history along with technical and performance specs as well as a smattering of historical images and period ads.

About the Author

James Mann is one of the world’s leading car and motorcycle photographers, with more than 20 years of experience shooting for enthusiast publications, the motor industry, and businesses around the world. His work has appeared within and on the covers of more than 50 books and has provided stunning visuals for numerous magazines, including Classic and Sports Car, CAR magazineForza, The Sunday Times, and Automobilemagazine as well as being chosen to photograph the British Auto Legends stamps for the Royal Mail. His advertising clients include Aston Martin, BMW, and Toyota, among others. Visit his website at

Journalist and broadcaster Stuart Codling has worked in motorsports for over a decade, covering sports cars in the United States before joining F1 Racing, the world’s best-selling Formula 1 magazine. He has ridden pillion with World Superbike Champion Neil Hodgson, gone snowboarding with (former) FIA President Max Mosley, and been sworn at by ex-Ferrari F1 driver Eddie Irvine. He has appeared as an F1 expert on TV and radio, has hosted for Renault F1, and contributes to F1 RacingAutosport, and Autocar. He is the author of the Motorbooks bestsellers Art of the Formula 1 Race Car and Real Racers. Read more about him on his website:


Published by Motorbooks
Format: Hardback, 208 Pages
ISBN: 9780760352168
Illustrations: 200 color and 25 b-w photos
Size: 12 in x 9.75 in / 304.8 mm x 247.65 mm
Published: June 1, 2017
Cost: $50.00

  1. Tom Semple

    The Ferarri California with the Boranni wire wheels wins. My my.

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