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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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November 2003 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Honest Reprint Literature
By Robert McLellan
 

Prior to the 1960s reprint literature was very rare because prewar literature collecting was not widespread and communication among those hobbyists was limited. In the 1960s growth in the hobby and the formation of clubs such as the "Auto Enthusiasts International" exposed old brochures to new collectors. Previously most collections began with the current new cars literature and a few old ones from parents or older friends. Now young collectors corresponded with old collectors and were envious of their old brochures. But these elderly collectors were not interested in parting with their precious gems. Reprints were born. No one attempted to pass them off as originals and most were clearly marked as "Reprint".

Auto Enthusiasts International
Formerly "Auto Maniacs" of the 1940s and 50s, this club was a major supplier of brochures to its members. In 1961, along with their name change, came the "Charter Reprint Club". The initial reprint of a 1929 Durant "65" brochure was not marked as a reprint, but the group quickly began an identification and numbering system. There were unofficial reprints, which were not marked as reprints, as early as 1951, but they were of such poor quality that they were not considered to be actual reprints. Their later, higher quality, reprints are very obviously copies but, thankfully, an effort was made for clarity.

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In 1961, when the first reprints appeared, an "AE1-61" on the back cover indicated that the print was made in 1961. In 1970 the full name "1970 Autoenthusiasts" appears. Later they use "Autoenthusiasts OCP-1971". The OCP denotes "Offset Camera/Press Print". Their last reprint was done in 1976.

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At no time during their reprint history did"Auto Enthusiasts International" try to make exact reproductions, but the quality is very acceptable.

Rolls-Royce Owners Club
Between 1961 and 1997 the Rolls-Royce Owners Club produced over fifty different reprints of Rolls-Royce and Bentley literature. Most are clearly marked with the club name and reprint date. They were normally included with issues of "The Flying Lady", the club's newsletter as a bonuses to members. The quality varies but, in general, is good but obviously not an original printing. Since most club members are car owners and not literature collectors this was a way to introduce them to factory literature and promote the importance of the publications. In current issues of "The Flying Lady" some members offer the reprints for sale, sometimes for prices that match or exceed the price of an original, while admitting that they are reprints!

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Classic Motorbooks
Throughout the 1970s this top notch new book dealer in Minnesota published catalogs of automotive books from all over the world which included reprinted brochures, repair manuals, parts books, owners manuals, service bulletins, etc. The broad selection covered most makes throughout the world for all popular years. The hundreds of reprints provided car owners and literature collectors with the best source in the world. If you had not yet found an Owner's Manual for your 1929 Chevrolet, a reprint for $2.95 was a good deal. Although each item was described as a reprint in their catalogs, many of the actual items were not marked as reprints. Still, most of them were obviously reprints and at the same time are quality reproductions.

These are just three examples of sources for "honest" reprints. Many clubs, publishers and automobile companies have, and still do, produce reprints. The objective here is to introduce you to the opportunity of acquiring them when you cannot find an original and to make you aware that what you find may not be original.

 
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, November 2003
 
 
 
 
 
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