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Concept Cars of the 1960s | Media Reviews

book on concept cars of the 1960s

American Classics, February 2023 (German to English translation)

'As Richard Heseltine explains, the public has often been more benevolent than the press, which is why the author frequently quotes from contemporary media coverage. Year after year, he shows the most important concept cars from all over the world in historical photos. Some Heseltine presents more broadly, others he only introduces in a few sentences. Of course, that's not enough for looking up or as a reference, especially since his selection is limited to those cars that have actually been shown at motor shows or at least have been seen in the press - which, by the way, points to the question of what a concept car actually is. Also thanks to a well thought-out layout, this large-format book is an entertaining journey of discovery!'

Auto Express, November 2022

'ONE of our favourite books this year features stunning photos of concept cars from a time when everything felt new and exciting. It's really good fun seeing which big ideas became mainstream and which died away, but even as a coffee table book, it's great to simply leaf through and marvel at the styling of the Atomic age. We rated this 5/5 when we reviewed it, and it's just as good when revisited.'

Classic & Sports Car, August 2022

'This heavyweight hardback does exactly what its subheading – Concept Cars of the 1960s – suggests, and in serious style. The work of former C&SC staffers Richard Heseltine (author) and Martin Port (designer), it's a year-by-year journey through the '60s celebrating almost 200 of the decade's show cars. From an eye-candy perspective there is an abundance of treats, from the outlandish DiDia 150 of 1960 the seemingly production-ready De Tomaso Mustella of 1969, plus so much in between. And it's wonderful that each of the 350-plus images is given the space to sing. The colourful design assigns each year a bright shade, helping to unite the otherwise disparate items and lending the 240 glossy pages a playful '60s vibe. But it's not style over substance: the easy-to-read text is packed with detail and intrigue, unpicking the cars' stories with an endearing delicacy and honesty, whether celebrating well-known models or often-forgotten flights of fancy.' LP

Classic Car Weekly, July 2022

'This book by CCW contributor, Richard Heseltine, looks at some of the weird and wonderful creations of the decade year by year and from all over the world. It's a large-format book running to 240 pages and Richard's write-ups are knowledgeable, informative and entertaining. It's the photos that really shine, though, while many of the vehicles are rooted in production reality some are just utter flights of fancy – the 1960 Curtis-Wright Wankel hovercar, anyone? With crisp and clear image reproduction, your dad will keep coming back to this time and again.'

Book of the Month, Best Of British, June 2022

'When I consider what cars my father actually drove in the 1960s, this fabulous exercise in modern design seems all the more incredible and even more enjoyable. Then, when you think about the safety conscious cars of today, the daring elements of what we hoped would be the cars of tomorrow sadly seem to have got lost along the way.'

Book of the Month, Octane, March 2022

'Anyone familiar with Richard Heseltine's writing will know that the subject of this book is not just right up his street but also metaphorically parked in his garage: if it's stylistically weird, of its time – or preferably out of it – and a one-off, then Richard is interested in it. Which begs the question: why has it taken so long for him to produce a book title like this? The, er, concept (sorry) is beautifully simple. Almost 200 show cars of the 1960s have been profiled year by year, each illustrated with period press and brochure shots. The text is written in Richard's trademark snappy but authoritative style, with photo captions that are often subtly witty. So, for example, the Curtiss-Wright 'Air-Car' of 1960 is described as having 'the stylistic elan of a biscuit tin' – which accurately captures its loaf-like looks. All of the old faves that you still see in classic car magazines are present and correct, of course: the Bertone Alfa Romeo Carabo, the Vauxhall VXR, the Ferrari 365P Tre Posti and many more. The real joy lies in discovering the ones you didn't know about, such as the 1964 Sibona & Basano Tsé-Tsé city car, perhaps, named after a mosquito and just as ephemeral; after just one appearance at the Turin motor show it was never seen again. Few English-speaking readers will be able to resist a smile at the FART Break (the anacronym for Fabbrica Autoveicoli e Rimorchi Torino, of course) or the Cock Cockpit II (made by Dutch electro-mechanical giant, Cock), which proudly wore the made-up registration 'COCK 68' at launch. If only it had appeared a year later. Most attractively laid out, with different-colour page tints to help differentiate the yearly chapters, it's a very hard book to fault.'

Diesel Car, February 2022

'Richard Heseltine's book is a year-by-year presentation of the most memorable concept cars of the decade. Around 200 are included, with more than 350 period photographs of cars ranging from the 1966 AMC 'Rambleseat' to the 1969 Pininfarina 512S Berlinetta Speciale. Brief histories are included, along with period magazine quotes, key features and innovations, and after a read you should have a glimpse into how the future looked in the 1960s from the sublime to the frankly ridiculous.' 

The Automobile, February 2022

'Whilst there have been several books on similar subjects before, none has been produced with quite so much elan as this one. It's surprisingly rare to find a book about design which actually looks as though some thought has gone into the layout, but this is one of the best we've seen. It's visually playful and engaging and makes the best use of an impressive selection of archive images. Those images take centre stage – with around 25 cars per chapter, the text is understandably brief, but it's light-hearted and interesting and all the pertinent facts are here. It's a coffee-table book, not an exercise in deep-dive research but, as motoring coffee-table books go, it's a great one.'

Auto Italia, February 2022

'Concept cars are hardly new subject matter for a book but by concentrating on the undoubted golden age of the 'dream' car – the 1960s – a welcome new focus is provided. Auto Italia contributor Richard Heseltine sweeps us through a decade of heady design dreaminess via a selection of the most intriguing showstoppers, neatly presented as a year-by-year rundown. Nearly 200 concept cars from the 1960s are featured. As well as all the expected cars – Bertone Alfa Romeo Carabo, Pininfarina Dino 206 Prototipo, Ferrari 400 SA Superfast et al – it is the obscurities that delight the most. If you want to learn about the Ghia Bugatti 101, the OSI Secura or the FART Break (yes, seriously), then here is your perfect guide. Prominence is given to the photographic content, with text limited to just a few dozen words on most of the cars. With shapes as dramatic as these, that's fully justified. The use of historic imagery, rather than modern Pebble Beach-style images, is entirely laudable. The 350-plus period images lend the book a true 1960s flavour, a bit like one of those old Panini sticker books. Yes, in some cases the images look a bit soft and washed out as a result but somehow that just adds to their authenticity. This is a big, hefty, 240-page book that provides a great coffee table experience, oozing charm and delivering surprises by the dozen.'

Classics Monthly, February 2022

'Concept cars are meant to break moulds and push envelopes, to forecast or establish trends. They afford designers the opportunity to use their imaginations and envisage the sort of vehicle that we will be driving in years – perhaps decades – to come. Some concept cars are displayed at an event and never seen again, while others cross continents and become media darlings, only to be placed in storage – or worse – once they are no longer of use. The 1960s witnessed the emergence of countless memorable showstoppers, and this book presents a year-by-year rundown of the most memorable, with several obscurities thrown in for good measure. Some have long since earned legendary status, foretelling the future, while others fell a long way short. It is a fascinating glimpse into how the future of motoring looked in the 1960s, from the sublime to the frankly ridiculous.'

Auto Class Magazine, January/February 2022

'The best way to make this exceptional and sometimes extravagant journey into the golden decade of automotive design is by browsing through Richard Heseltine's new book...'

Yahoo! UK and Ireland (Web), January 2022

'...this glamourous coffee table-style book roars into life with a look at the very raison d'etre for the genre.'

Auto Express, January 2022

'WITH hundreds of photos, this guide concentrates on one of the best decades for concepts. Forward-thinking, endearingly anachronistic, yet in places absolutely stunning cars all feature.

…it's well written and very interesting.'

Wheels and Things, January 2022

'The book Yesterday’s Future, Concept cars of the 1960s is written in a light-hearted and entertaining way. It is also a fascinating reference work on the development drive of the 1960s. Highly recommended.'

Auto Class Magazine, January 2022

'If a time machine will be ever invented, I challenge anyone not to choose the legendary 60s as their destination, perhaps only after a quick visit to the certainly more dangerous prehistory. Dinosaurs aside, the decade that has probably more than any other characterized an entire millennium is precisely that of the sixties, an era of full economic boost, of pioneering in which mankind even managed to set foot on the Moon, distorting forever the concept of science fiction and thus making the border with reality imperceptible. It was also a decade in which we no longer only thought about what it would take to make life better, but also about everything that would make it more enjoyable. In no other period beauty is celebrated as a pure desire for elegance and class as in the 60s.

These are just some of the reasons that have outlined the social and economic background of a world that stopped moving in one direction and began to look beyond, to dream and create objects that would make everyday life a fantastic journey destined to be passed on to future generations. The automotive world was experiencing a magical moment, having resumed its business at full speed now that the Second World War was becoming an increasingly distant memory and was characterized by the numerous designers that were ready to satisfy the most extravagant requests of wealthy customers. But the sixty were not only for a few lucky ones, because at the various car shows everyone could admire and appreciate models with unique shapes and which sometimes looked like real spaceships.

It is the decade in which the soft and sinuous lines of the most beautiful cars of all time coexisted with the edges ready to underline the near future, but above all doubt it was the period in which Italy almost monopolized the sector with immortal names such as Pininfarina, Bertone, Giugiaro, Zagato, Vignale, Italdesign, Michelotti and we could go on for hours. The best way to make this exceptional and sometimes even extravagant journey into the golden decade of automotive design is by browsing through Richard Heseltine’s new book, published by Porter Press International, entitled “Yesterday’s Future – Concept Cars of the 1960s”.'

Through 240 pages and over 350 images it is possible to retrace the most famous models, prototypes and concept cars and also those we are sure you have never heard of. There is everything, from wonderful prototypes to the quirky ones, from models that have introduced solutions taken on large production to slightly less refined experiments. Neatly divided in chronological order, Heseltine’s book presents about 200 concept cars carefully described and introduced in the historical period of reference, specifying the salient details that made them innovative and analyzing those trends that went crazy and that contributed to pieces often singular and certainly impossible to forget. For example, we find cars like the 1960 Lancia Loraymo, the 1963 Prince 1900 Sprint, the 1966 AMC Rambleseat and the 1969 Pininfarina 512S Berlinetta Speciale and never as in this case every chapter – every page – deserves to be literally lived, a little as if the destination of your time travel dated 1960 did not foresee a return to the present day, thus letting immerse yourself in the golden age of automotive design., December 2021

'Renowned auto journalist and author Richard Heseltine has compiled some of the most incredible concept vehicles for Porter Press. For some, the impression arises that the designers were influenced by science fiction films or that they belonged more on an airfield than on a street, many of them disappeared without a sound and no one wept a tear after them. But some turned out to be so popular that they were shown at several exhibitions and now have a decent place in a museum.

In this lavishly illustrated work, Heseltine goes through the entire decade, year after year, and has found numerous diamonds and ugliness. We are amazed and smile at the numerous anecdotes about the construction of the almost 200 show cars, which the author describes. And Heseltine also knows how the Alfa Romeo Carabo got its name – it is a derivative of the green-orange ground beetle from the genus Carabidae.'

Rare & Unique Vehicles, Vol.3, Issue 9

'...a highly entertaining coffee-table book!' FS

Retro Speed, by Peter Baker

'I signed up a long time ago as a fan of the Richard Heseltine-style of book writing. Always seriously informative but, at the same time, written in character or, to put it another way, lifted out of the norm by the injection of wit and incorrigible dry humour. Some might even call it droll.'

'…unlike books with complicated story lines, remembering what occurred in the last chapter is unimportant. You could, and this is in no way an insult, keep Concept Cars of the 1960s in your smallest room (the loo), reading one page per visit, maybe more. Either that, or leave it on the coffee table. The choice is yours.'

'I award Mr. Richard Heseltine five stars on the grounds of effort, investigation, fast flowing text and general entertainment.'