Imagine a library that only housed amazing new and vintage books about all kinds of cars… and planes…

… now turn that library into a bookstore, and you’ll find that such a place really does exist! Autobooks-Aerobooks was “founded in 1951 by Harry Morrow, a well known formula 500 racer and all around car guy. It has been a Burbank institution ever since. In the 1980’s the Aerobooks side was added,” satisfying those with a love for all types of planes.

Today, they are the oldest and largest automotive bookstore in the U.S., and one of the best Aeronautical stores in the country.

We learned about Aerobooks-Autobooks from Harry Pallenberg, the Writer/Director/Producer of the new documentary Where They Raced.  Harry was on hand at this incredible bookstore to chat with fans about his new film.

Just steps inside the door, we quickly realized that this is a dream come true for automotive nuts like us.  Filled with car books of all types, it is the perfect place to discover, learn, and…

… even bump into your former auto shop teacher from Fullerton College!  Wes and I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Bob and his wife Sue, who shared the same passions and pursuits we do when it comes to cars.

Everywhere you turn in this store, there’s a new book shouting for your attention…

… along with interesting and practical works of art like this automotive-minded lamp.

Lining the shelves was every type of manual and guide imaginable…

… along with a great collection of hot rod and auto-themed books for kids!  How did I not know about this bookstore when I was a kid?!?

I thought I was fairly familiar with most of the automotive publications until I reached this aisle – wow!  The ENTIRE stretch of wall (even more than what is pictured here) was covered with industry mags!

Hooray for Hot Rod Deluxe – celebrating retro automotive style by featuring the beloved Linda Vaughn on the cover!

This piece gives new meaning to Autobooks…

… as it is made from an old Cars & Parts manual from 1975.  Notice how the spine of the book is gently carved out to make room for the driver – you can actually see the pages of the book in and around him!

Scanning the DVD aisle was a treat, as I was introduced to so many new titles I hadn’t yet heard of and desperately wanted to see…

… and many classics that I wanted to revisit.  The DVD on the far left is The Long Long Trailer, featuring Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, a film Wes and I were able to see recently in full glory on the big screen at the old Grauman’s Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.

I literally did a double-take when I ran across this gorgeous vintage copy of Road & Track from July 1961…

… and was thrilled to find that there were plenty of back issues of all types of classic mags to peruse.


Classic Hollywood cars abound on this George Barris themed cover of Hot Rod Magazine

… followed by this 1964 copy of Car and Driver

… and this incredible 1953 copy of Road & Track, complete with a story on “How to Install a Willys Engine in an MG” – now that is an article we’d like to read!  Aerobooks-Autobooks needs to make the cover of this magazine their official company photo – jet planes and race cars together?  Perfect!!

Part of what makes these vintage magazines so great are the many ways they reached out to their readers, even for subscriptions.  The text on this subscription ad card reads,  “1. Pictured above is a happy soul – gay, abandoned, for he knows that this is the 1st of the month and his NEW copy of ROAD and TRACK is in the mail.  2.  This unhappy wretch is also a ROAD and TRACK reader – forlorn and blue.  He will remain this way until the 10th of the month – when he can rush to his newsstand and get his new copy of Road and Track!

3.  So, if you are the type who finds waiting difficult… 4.  Subscribe now to ROAD and TRACK (and feel GOOD again).”  Well done, Road & Track.  Sixty years later, I think we felt good just by reading this goofy, vintage subscription insert!  Is there any way we can make our subscription retroactive, circa 1953?

Did I mention we spent HOURS in this store?  Each shelf presented new surprises, from rare vintage auto manuals to splashy, glossy photo books filled with sexy pics of irresistible race cars.


Above is an excerpt from a book about vintage auto advertisements.  This “Through the Looking Glass” Alice in Wonderland themed ad was released in 1963 to advertise the Rambler.  In a time when small cars and fuel economy were not things people took very seriously, the objective here was to make the economical Rambler American look like fun.

We appreciated all of the different types of art that graced the walls, from vintage-inspired…

… to classically minded.

Half the fun was peeking into books at random, hoping to find little gems that jumped out at us, like this 8CTF Maserati straight-eight engine with two superchargers.  Anyone with us on having this pic enlarged and made into wall art?  Living room or den – either way, if this pic graced the walls, we’d call it home!

While bibliophiles will be thoroughly impressed with this bookstore’s stunning collection, anyone who is automotive (or airplane)-minded in any way will fall deeply in love with Autobooks-Aerobooks.  There is absolutely no substitute for a superbly curated bookstore like this.  No amount of “recommendations” from an online store can do for you what getting lost down just one of these well-stocked aisles can.

What was most exciting about this trip, even for reasonably seasoned car fanatics like us, was realizing just how much more we have to learn and discover about the automotive world.  A trip to Autobooks-Aerobooks is a MUST – reserve yourself a few hours inside, and prepare for a thrilling experience filled with tomes that cover the automotive (and airplane) world in both breadth and depth!


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