The #1 New York Times–bestselling humorist’s tribute to car travel is “a ride worth taking, even for readers who don’t know an oil pan from a frying pan” (The Washington Times).
From a veteran of both Car and Driver and National Lampoon magazines, this hilarious book chronicles the golden age of the automobile in America—and takes us on a whirlwind tour of the world’s most scenic and bumpiest roads in trouble-laden cross-country treks, from a 1978 Florida-to-California escapade in a 1956 special four-door Buick sedan, to a thousand-mile effort across Mexico in the Baja 1000 in 1983, to a journey through Kyrgyzstan in 2006 on the back of a Soviet army surplus six-wheel-drive truck.
For longtime fans of the celebrated humorist, the collection features a host of O’Rourke’s classic pieces on driving, including “How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink,” about the potential misdeeds one might perform in the front (and back) seat of an automobile; “The Rolling Organ Donors Motorcycle Club,” which chronicles a seven-hundred-mile weekend trip through Michigan and Indiana that O’Rourke took on a Harley-Davidson; his brilliant and funny piece from Rolling Stone on NASCAR and its peculiar culture recorded during an alcohol-fueled weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1977; and an hilarious account of a ride from Islamabad to Calcutta in Land Rover’s new Discovery Trek.
“Never in neutral, O’Rourke offers laughter on wheels.” —Publishers Weekly
“An insightful look not just at the American love affair with cars, but also at one man’s changing outlook on life, all of it fast-paced and over the top . . . Even readers who know nothing about cars and motorcycles will appreciate the joy and hilarity of this book.” —Booklist
Humorist O'Rourke shifts gears, covering and combining past pieces on cars (for Automobile, Car and Driver, Esquire and Forbes) with new material to set this auto anthology in motion. Much has been reworked "because the writing how to put this gently to myself sucked." Starting with car journalism language ("Drop the bottle and grab the throttle"), he steers the reader toward California cars: "Many automobiles were purchased to attract members of L.A.'s eight or ten opposite sexes." He writes about a variety of vehicles, from off-road racers to Philippine jeepneys ("a Willys cut in half and lengthened"). Accelerating the humor, he updates his 1979 account of a 700-mile weekend trip through Michigan and Indiana: "I can imagine what the farm girls and small town teen angels who looked so longingly at the Harley-Davidson FXE-80 Super Glide would have thought if I had been riding a Segway: 'dork.' " His early essay "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink" is followed by wild road trips, NASCAR nights and selecting "a new grocery hauler, parent trap, Keds sled, family bus." Never in neutral, O'Rourke offers laughter on wheels.