Title: Idle Torque
Author: Alex Forrest
Genre: Non-fiction; special interest; coffee table book
Publisher: Fremantle Press
Idle Torque by Alex Forrest is the perfect coffee table book for all car loving people. Published by Fremantle Press in 2021, Idle Torque is a collection of Forrest’s weekly column of the same name in The West Australian newspaper. This book is both a page from Western Australia’s local history and a look into automobile history. If you’re looking for some local non-fiction with a focus on classic cars, then this is the book for you!
This collection stories brings together Forrest’s best articles from over 21 years – Australia’s longest running motoring column. In the introduction Forrest says that “[t]hese stories are my favourites, and were chosen because they all, in one way or another, reflect the reasons why so many people still love their cars.” I personally don’t love cars, so why did I want to read and review this book? Well, my very first car was a vintage car – a 1965 Hillman Minx! I loved my first car even though I didn’t like driving and don’t have a ‘love’ for cars. And I wouldn’t have been able to own my first car without my Dad, who has worked for the RAC for decades. I am very lucky to have a mechanic for a father and agree with Forrest that so many people love their cars, whether they’re vintage or brand new off the show floors. Car rides, first cars, road trips – cars play an important part of our lives beyond just getting us from A to Z.
There is a sentimental value to cars beyond their useful and metallic exteriors. Forrest brings the stories of cars to life through his dedicated and passionate writing. And each column is accompanied by photographs of cars and often the people who drove them. There’s stories about WA’s first motor racing circuit in Lake Perkolilli, a 1967 convertible Amphicar (which can drive through water), a family driving a 1928 Graham-Paige around the world, and many more. This collection of Forrest’s columns is more than just facts and history; it’s stories about people and their cars and their lives.
I also think that one of the best things about a coffee table book is that it is there to be picked up and perused at your leisure. Whether you’re watching an automobile restoration show or the Bathurst 1000, Idle Torque is there to keep you company and entertain your car-fanatic guests. And, if you’re looking for more after finishing Idle Torque,you can find Forrest’s latest columns and articles being published in RAC’s Horizon.