Bangernomics came out in 1993. I’ve written books that have sold more copies, won awards and had prettier pictures in them, but none of them are Bangernomics.
Over the years I’ve had an awful lot of very nice people who told me that Bangernomics changed their lives, forever. They only buy older cars and consequently have money to spend on important things like food and a mortgage because they have followed the very simple and quite basic tenets of Bangernomics.
The origin of the books was quite simply buying a pretty awful FSO Polski Fiat for eighty quid in 1990. It was pretty easy to turn the story of a rusty Eastern Block into a long form story. As ‘Better than Walking’ it was published in Steve Cropley’s Buying Cars magazine. It went down fairly well. I also used the term Bangernomics in it and drew some silly little graphs.
A year later I was in India and realised that what kept the country mobile at the time, was Bangernomics. Keeping old mechanical things going and repairing them by the roadside with sometimes incredible ingenuity was something we had forgotten to do. Bangernomics wasn’t new, but many people had always bought old cars through necessity and sometimes out of a sense of fun.
Bangernomics seemed like a good idea for a book to me and I trawled around some publishers. One thought it had something to do with sausages. Ian Allen got it though and in 1992 I set to work, writing, taking pictures and putting an absolutely astounding amount of hard graft into the project, as we never called anything back then.
When it came out in 1993, Bangernomics seemed to strike a chord. It was also a time when you actually travelled around, at your own expense, to promote it. I’ll never forget going to Northern Ireland and buying a Ford Orion for a television show.
Ian Allan, the original publisher, gave me the rights back a long time ago when I asked nicely. I actually bought all the unsold copies they had. There were only around 30 and I sold them all fairly quickly before the interweb was a big thing. They were pretty clueless about marketing when it came out. My name was printed J.Ruppert on the spine and they copied my mascot Slog the Bangernomics dog and put him on the cover of another book they were publishing at the time called My First Car. They didn’t see the problem. Publishers are a nightmare really. I had one editor a few years ago that put a picture of his girlfriend’s mini in one of my books, because he could.
There was always a demand for Bangernomics and I did print a photocopy version for a bit. I rewrote it and redrew some pictures, which have made it to the rebooted version. Eventually the Bangernomics Bible in 2010 was the more modern version. Then in 2019 the Bangernomics Diet was an update of the principles giving everyone an excuse to go for an older car, be it a classic, or a luxury barge.
Readers still asked after the original, so I decided to reprint Bangernomics. The point was that every word would stay as it was written back in 1992. There is a new introduction, but otherwise this is how it was written back before the Internet actually existed. Essentially then it is of no real use to anyone unless they have a time machine.
I couldn’t use the original layout or the front cover, but I experimented for a bit on the basis, how on earth would they know?
Just scanning it all in just wasn’t going to work. It looked awful. The format was fairly quirky anyway a landscape paperback. I tried to copy that but it just didn’t work. I switched it to a traditional portrait layout, but kept the portrait cover just to confuse everyone. It was also to accommodate Bangernomics, which is a very long word.
Anyway, I would have to re-enter all the text. Luckily all the pictures and illustrations were mine. What I did not realise was how much time I must have spent, planning, writing and drawing the book originally. Reformatting all the content with the text took forever.
I started it all way back in March of 2019 and thought it would take a day to do. It didn’t. I lost weeks on it and then realised that the cover was copyright. I tried to find the illustrator, I presume that he has retired or got a proper job. I then dug out my crayons and attempted to right the wrongs of the original cover. The original cartoon car was clearly inspired by a Ford Sierra, but not quite. I thought a a three door, 1.3GL Sierra is probably one of the rarest models in Britain now. So I drew that. I changed the colour from blue to yellow. Slog the dog would be bigger and have a cheesier smile. Rebooted would be in faux plastic chrome typeface.
My good friend Nick Bailey got it instantly and immediately tweeted a picture of the book with a couple of rather wonderful three door Sierras.
Bangernomics is back and of no use to anyone really. It is a time capsule from the early ‘90s when buying cars was simpler and possibly even more dangerous pastime.
You can buy it through the usual channels, but if you don’t want the physical one from Amazon fine, but I also offer a simple download for £1.99 on the Books Page. Oh yes and for a fiver you can download all the Bangernomics books in the Bangernomics Box Set.