I tend to avoid keeping too many car-art-type books on my shelf—if a book is going to be full of pictures, I much rather they be reference photos than studio shots or closeups of badges. But there are always exceptions.
One of those exceptions is Tom Glatch’s new The Art of Mopar: Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth Muscle Cars, with photography by Tom Loeser, which delivers exactly what the title promises, ‘art’ and ‘Mopars.’ Being a classic Chrysler fanatic with a keen interest in styling and design, I’m saving a spot for it on my wall specifically because it delivers on that promise.
The subject cars hail from the famous anonymous Brothers Collection, and are generally factory-appearing, gorgeously optioned, and detailed to a spotless finish. They make the perfect canvas for Loeser, and I use “canvas” deliberately, both because his photos’ awesomeness is derived in large part from the “light painting” technique he has perfected and actually quite thoroughly describes in an afterword; and because the images he turns out truly are art.
He breaks down how he does it with just enough detail to inspire you – at least if you’re an amateur or semi-pro photog like me – to attempt it yourself, though perhaps not enough to get exactly the same results.
Accompanying the photos are selected period ads featuring the spotlighted cars, which add a nice bit of history to the full-page, full-colour photo spreads. The Brothers have also broken down each car’s particular as-ordered options and their prices, which, too, added a neat bonus trivia feel.
Outside of that, though, information specific to the particular feature car is pretty sparse, usually reserved for a few paragraphs at the end of a longer chapter talking about the history of the model being photographed—personally, I would have liked to read more about the Brothers’ Challenger T/A, for example.
The history Glatch does recount, however, does strike a nice balance between succint and to-the-point; yet detailed, with period anecdotes. The writing carries you along, but it’s hard for it to compete for your attention with the art adjacent to it.
The Art of Mopar: Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth Muscle Cars is available in hardcover format in bookstores and via Amazon.ca.