Cars have a talismanic quality. No other manufactured object has the same disturbing allure.
More emotions are involved in cars and car design than in any other product: vanity, cupidity, greed, social competitiveness and cultural modelling.
But when all this perverse promise ends in catastrophe, these same talismanic qualities acquire an extra dimension.
The car crash is a defining phenomenon of popular culture. Death Drive is both an appreciative essay about the historic place of the automobile in the modern imagination and a detailed exploration of the circumstances of twenty celebrity car crashes, from Isadora Duncan in an Amilcar, in 1927, to Helmut Newton in a Cadillac CRX, in 2004.
En route the narrative traces one very big arc - the role of the car in extending or creating the personality of a celebrity - and concludes by confronting the imminent death of the car itself.