'A Quiet Greatness' Is a Japanese Car Collector's Dream Book

suzuki alto page exert from a quiet greatness
'A Quiet Greatness' Is a JDM Collector's DreamCourtesy of Myron Vernis / Mark Brinker: Photo by Toni Scott.

Coffee table books were a foundational part of my automotive enthusiasm. Even before I could read, I often spent time flipping through the pages of those large format books, admiring (and occasionally modifying) the photos throughout. When I was old enough to understand the text found on each page, I was enthralled by the cars and the places behind them. By ten years old, I was eager to regurgitate information about Ed Cole, Enzo Ferrari and “Butzi” Porsche to anyone who’d listen.

Toyota, Honda and other Japanese brands weren’t prominently featured on the pages of my father’s book collection, however. To the mind of a child, it seemed that those brands didn’t have any history or cars worth commemorating on those expensive, glossy pages. Publishers were still putting Hispano-Suizas and Delahayes in books, after all.

a quiet greatness page exert featuring toyota sports car
Photo by Toni ScottCourtesy of Myron Vernis / Mark Brinker

Of course the assumption from my youth couldn’t have been more wrong. Japan's influence and impact on the automotive world was never limited, it just hadn’t been celebrated. Japanese cars and the culture that surrounds them have exploded in popularity over the past few decades, with fanbases much younger (and more alive) than the likes of De Soto and Packard. In fact, it was the excitement among young people at the annual Japanese Classic Car Show in Los Angeles that inspired Myron Vernis to start this project in the first place. A project aimed at ensuring a continued passion for these historically overlooked cars.


It has taken a long time for Japanese car brands and their dedicated fans to receive the same level of appreciation as their partners from Europe and the United States. While you can buy any number of encyclopedia lengths takes on Ferrari or the American auto industry, there hasn’t been anything similar for the JDM fans among us. That’s no longer the case, as Myron Vernis and Mark Brinker’s “A Quiet Greatnessbrings a 1395-pages of Japanese automotive excellence into your hands.

Vernis is a lifelong automotive enthusiast, and in his sixties, he’s not your stereotypical JDM fanboy. That said, Vernis’ collection has become littered with a number of obscure and tantalizing cars from Japan, which he’s likely introduced many of you to by way of his social media accounts. Frustrated by the lack of an easy resource to research cars like his own, Vernis reached out to fellow enthusiast and collector Mark Brinker with an idea.

a quiet greatness page exert featuring suzuki sports car
Photos by Yamaha, Daniel O’Grady and Mobilia Garage Collection. Courtesy of Myron Vernis / Mark Brinker

The goal was to research and write a coffee table book about the Japanese automotive industry, which Vernis told R&T was initially supposed to be around 300 pages. Things quickly spiraled once the research process began however, as the pair realized how many vehicles deserved a spot on the page. The end result is a four-and-a-half volume collection that spans nearly 1400 pages, which contain some 2200 photos. The volumes themselves are split up by automaker, though this is not a complete encyclopedia of every car from post war Japan. Each car that is featured is well represented, with information ranging from technical specs to development stories and trivia. The visual layout of the book is striking, ranking higher than most of the books in my collection. The cover of each volume is a beautiful piece worth displaying on its own. Of course I might be the ideal target for the design work, as Road & Track’s former art director Richard Baron was responsible for the layout.

Ferrari was the brand that captured my interest as a child, thanks to those aforementioned glossy book pages. If “A Quiet Greatness” had been on my desk as a young car fanatic, I might very well be yearning for a Suzuki Alto in place of a 275 S. The collection is truly a wealth of information, full of plenty of vehicles you’ve likely never heard of or seen before. As Vernis explained to R&T, the Japanese kept their best cars to themselves, much like France is known to do with its wine. While I can't speak to their wine consumption, the two authors did collectively purchase over a dozen JDM cars during the writing process. Good stuff, indeed.

a quiet greatness full volume image
Courtesy of Myron Vernis / Mark Brinker

Vernis and Brinker struggled to find a large publisher willing to commit to a book about the Japanese collector car world, as the companies feared there would be a limited number of customers for such a “niche” product. As such, the pair went ahead and self-published the book, which is no small financial feat. While the $395 is nothing to scoff at, you simply won’t find a better book for the Japanese car fan in your life. There are currently no plans to release the book once supplies are gone, with an extremely limited number remaining. Don't expect me to give up my copy any time soon.

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