The best book for a beginner is:
Tom Gillespie's "Fundamentals of Vehicle Dynamics" It is sufficiently in depth that an engineer who doesn't know vehicle dynamics will enjoy it, but not impossible for a non engineer to understand. Almost all the people I know in my field own it, but it is weak once you know the fundamentals.
If you want something more in depth, most vehicle dynamic types consider:
"Race Car Vehicle Dynamics" by Milliken and Milliken to be a bible.
Another great book, I haven't finished it yet, but what I have read is excellent, is:
"Chassis Design Principles and Analysis" It is "by" Milliken and Milliken but is mostly a presentation and explination of Maurice Olley's work.
Another good Chassis Book is:
"The Automotive Chassis" by Reimpell, Stoll and Betzler.
For an OK Chassis book. It is not well written, but does have some good info in it is "Car suspension and Handling" by Bastow and Howard.
A good pure Vehicle Dynamics book with little to no Chassis is:
"Theory of Ground Vehicles" by Wong.
Lastly, If you want a great Engine/Combustion book and aren't afraid of Thermo Heywoods "Internal Combustion Engine Fundamentals" is a bible of sorts to the Powertrain guys I know.
I think almost all of the above are available from the SAE website. www.sae.org If you are an SAE member you get a decent discount.
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