By Gary Doyle
Foreword - by Jay Leno


One of my passions is collecting and restoring antique automobiles. I am interested in all time periods, vintage, antique or classic, with a particular fondness for Duesenbergs. The mechanical sophistication of these cars and the American craftsmanship it took to build them is awe-inspiring. Almost as important, for me, is the thrill of researching its individual and company history through books and periodicals. I truly enjoy the discovery and the detective work necessary to get the details correct and understand the context and atmosphere in which a particular automobile was produced. I do this work myself and I want to be as knowledgeable as possible. Often the books used in the research are technical in nature and talk extensively about engines and chassis details to the exclusion of the human side of the story. They help in getting the restoration details correct but do not provide historical background or comment on the car’s importance to an era.

 Gary Doyle in King of the Boards: The Life and Times of Jimmy Murphy has written a wonderful book about the history of an important period and its personalities, the human side of the story. Very few books on automobile racing have been written about the “Golden Age,” and as a result the times and the racing story has been lost. Except for the informed fan, very few people retain any awareness of one of the most colorful, interesting and exciting periods in our history, filled with larger than life personalities and cars that over the years have had monumental influence. The book is a fascinating tale about Jimmy Murphy, Tommy Milton and many other great drivers and car builders of the “Golden Age” of American automobile racing.  Gary’s book seeks to reacquaint us with the era. The men who risked life and limb on the period board and dirt tracks were superbly prepared professional athletes, huge sports stars and heroic as they raced unprotected in the machines of their day. They were at the beginning of America’s fascination with the automobile, which continues to motivate me.

Gary with Jay Leno and Chet Knox during his book signing at Autobooks in Burbank, CA.


  King of the Boards contains approximately 300 rare photographs that depict every aspect of the “Golden Age” and over 50 paintings and illustrations that give an added dimension to the story. It has a wonderful bibliography, something most of the history books of this era do not include. The bibliography is complete and serves as a guide to the secondary literature of the period.  There is much information on the sources and locations of the photographs.

 King of the Boards is a serious history book that is entertaining, well researched, well written and filled with incredible illustrations. It is mandatory for the library of any person interested in automobiles or automotive art and should become one of the standard accounts of auto racing in America in the early 1920s. King of the Boards is a terrific read. I heartily recommend it to you.  

Jay Leno


For more information contact Gary Doyle