"Roy Richter, Striving for Excellence"
By Art Bagnall
Art Bagnall Publishing: June 1990


This is the "Holy Grail" for information about Bell Auto Parts. Art Bagnall worked for Roy Richter from 1954 through 1975. He approached Roy's family about writing the biography after Roy's death. The stories and photos that Art assembled for this volume are priceless. I was already a fan before reading it and now I am... well, you can tell from this site!

There have seen many books written about racing drivers, as they were serious celebrities in their day. With the exception of Harry Miller there has been very little written about the automotive engineers and artisans that scratch built beautiful and fast racing cars. This book documents Roy's career as a top designer/fabricator.

There have been many books and articles written about the explosion of racing activity after WWII. Most miss the importance of Bell Auto Parts and the distribution of speed equipment across the country. The role of "Racings General Store" to the rapid development of all types of auto and boat racing after the war is well documented.

There are great books with hundreds of pictures of period board track racers, sprint cars, lakes cars, and hotrods. I love them all, but this book gives you an understanding of the early racing business. Bell Auto Parts Exchange was not far from Legion Ascot and other early LA racetracks. The pre-war photos George Wight are incredible. What a place it must have been just to "hang out."

Unfortunately this book is out of print and it is very difficult to locate. You will need to be patient and ask all your "old" gear head friends if they have a copy you can read. If you find a copy for sale it may well be "expensive." Good luck! Send me an email if you would like to know if any copies become available. I will keep a list.

"The American Hot Rod"
By Dean Batchelor
Motorbooks International: 1995


Dean Batchelor had a career in motor journalism that lasted five decades. He wrote for HopUp, Motor Life, and was with Road & Track from 1958 until1973. Dean had a huge collection of original photographs. It stands to reason that this book has some incredible pictures. It also has a great section on "Speed Shops and Speed Equipment." This chapter includes a full-page picture of Bell Auto Parts in the 1950s.

This book is currently available with a new cover shot. The text and material appear the same as the first printing. A great value.

 

"Hot Rod, An American Original"
By Peter Vincent
Motorbooks International: 2001


I have not included this book because it is important to the documentation of Bell Auto Parts but because it is so much better than most books about contemporary "Hot Rods." Peter Vincent's photography is serious art and his writing is honest and fun to read. The stories behind the pictures will be important in the future to document the times that we have been enjoying. Add this to your library or start your own with this book!

 

Additional Reading
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