Suspension and Vehicle Dynamics Books

By Greg LoCock

I’ve arbitrarily split them up into heavy textbooks/references, and cheaper books. Note that none of the textbooks describe the actual nuts and bolts of sizing the arms and so on. All of these books pay little to no attention to the design of rubber bushings.


Road Vehicle Suspensions
Wolgang Matchinsky but be prepared, only for people that want to become experts in suspension analysis. I(dynatune) bought it back in 1988 and it helped me to write some nice tools for designing my suspensions. If you are just looking for easy reading then do not bother.

The Automotive Chassis Engineering Principles
J. Reimpell H. Stoll J. W. Betzler.
ISBN 978-0-7680-0657-5
Description: Vehicle dynamics and chassis design from a production car perspective. Very useful, if you are designing a production car. Not exactly an armchair read, and the mathematical notation is excessively complex (but logical).

Race Car Vehicle Dynamics
Milliken and Milliken.
Description: Vehicle dynamics and chassis design from a race car perspective. Probably the most useful generally of the big books, it is a good read as well. A fair amount of aero.

Fundamentals of Vehicle Dynamics
Thomas Gillespie.
Description: Mathematically oriented derivation of standard vehicle dynamics equations, and definitions of standard terms. A bit dry.

Chassis Design - Principles and Analysis
William F. Milliken and Doug Milliken.
Description: Vehicle dynamics as developed by Maurice Olley from the 1930s onwards. First comprehensive analytical synthesis of vehicle dynamics. Great historical stuff, and some nice explanations. Not as generally useful as RCVD.

Tires Suspension and Handling
John Dixon
Slightly more analytical than RCVD, covers much the same ground, except less aero.

Car Suspension and Handling
Donald Bastow
Perhaps a rather more old fashioned approach than the other books listed, but he does cover every aspect of the suspension and says what needs to be said, from a fundamental viewpoint. Better on ride than most of the above. Good discussion of slip angles and some second order inertial effects as well.

The Racing and High-Performance Tire
Paul Haney
If you don’t need aero then this book has about the right emphasis - a good discussion of (circuit) tires in more detail than any of the above, and interesting interviews with various people. The suspension chapters are pretty good as well. This is not an academic textbook, more of an attempt to understand what tires are, and how they work. (OK, I like it, but some people sniff at it).

Cheaper books

Carroll Smith - Tune to win etc. Generally a good introduction, but his explanation of roll axis in one book is confusing at best. I also disagree with him about single sided mounting for Heim’s, but agree it is nicer to do it his way. Good on practical details, and fundamentals. Probably good enough for FSAE and solar cars, for example.

Fred Puhn “How to make your car handle”- billyshope says this is a useful reference especially for oval racers, evelrod recommends it as well. So you’d better buy it!

Herb Adams - Never seen it

Staniforth - Misguided approach to steering theory, according to Ben.


Thanks Greg… It’s a neat list… I have “Race Car Vehicle Dynamics”; I thought it was a great book, and you have confirmed that opinion.