Find Your Make

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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
HOME | Articles index | media | use of content | contact us  
April 2005 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Literature Life
By Robert McLellan
 

After 50 years of collecting automotive literature, many trends become crystal clear. Most literature collectors do not spend time thinking about anything other than what they like to collect and how much it should cost. But literature has a life of its own and can be a great investment.

Automotive brochures were collected by youngsters as well as potential buyers and enthusiasts when the first cars were sold about 100 years ago. Those same young collectors became nostalgic for those cars when middle-aged in the 1930s. It was a time when the old Brass Era cars were disappearing and a hobby of preserving the cars, the literature and memorabilia became popular. While today's young people are collecting literature on cars they would like to own, they will be nostalgic about the cars of their youth when their kids are grown.

 
 

New: Auto dealers and auto shows have only new literature for free – for one year – then it is gone. If you like this year's Porsche and a dealer is nearby you are in luck. If not, or if you want past years' models, you will have to get them from a literature dealer. Act quickly as prices trend up for recent models because they are still in vogue.

Contemporary: After about 5 years the newness wears off and demand slows down. The older the brochures get, the more the prices rise, but this is offset somewhat by styling, engineering and performance changes that are now less exciting. This is an excellent time to put together deals for large purchases before prices rise significantly. Once brochures are 20 years old, like the cars, interest in the old literature begins anew.

Nostalgic: The kids are grown and adult hobbies flourish. Memories of youthful years and postponed accomplishments and goals send automotive enthusiasts to restoring old collectible cars, touring with clubs and collecting literature and memorabilia from the past. Time and money are more available and our hobbies make us feel good. Whether it is the cars or the literature, demand intensifies and, with only so much literature available, prices increase rapidly. A good investment early can become a great investment by the end of this 30-year period.

Historic: If you cannot remember the cars when they were new then the literature is historic. Add 50 years to when you picked up a piece of literature new, at about 15 years of age, and you would be 65 years old. You may still be a literature collector, but most collectors will be younger and what you like will be historic, not nostalgic. Most of those historical cars will have strange names and be long forgotten. Maxwell, Adler and Salmson prices may not fall, but the rise in prices will be slow and getting slower. Others, like Duesenberg, Bugatti and Packard, will still get enthusiasts excited. Literature on them is rare and expensive and demand will keep the prices climbing. Today's 1962 Chevrolet catalog will be more interesting to more collectors than a 1930 Chevrolet catalog. But the 1930 will still be a prize find for many collectors and well worth a good price, but finding a buyer will take some time.

Today thousands of teenagers are picking up brochures at local car dealerships. When they go off to college hopefully their mothers will not throw those brochures in the trash, because until they settle down with a house and family they will probably still be car crazy. Twenty years from now those kids will be grown and the "bug" has a good chance of rekindling the spirit of the cars of yesteryear. By the time they are 80 years old that historical literature will hopefully find a new owner. The collector will sell it for a nice profit to McLellan's Automotive History and new collectors will enjoy it.

Other articles of similar content are:

 
 
 
LITERATURE INVESTMENTS
 
Looking Both Ways
Golden Eras
Good Investment? - Yes!
Buying For Tomorrow
Good Investment?
Profitable Portfolio!
Unanticipated Investment
Today's Bargain Can Be Tomorrow's Treasure
What Is It Worth?
 
 
 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the "Automotive Chronicles" are those of the writers' exclusively. Information contained in the articles has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness. When considering literature as an investment keep in mind that past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Some literature will not increase in value, and other literature varies in potential and results. Condition and desirability are important factors in considering any literature for investment.

 
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, April 2005
 
 
 
 
 
Spacer
Spacer
 L I T E R A T U R E
I N D E X
Click here
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Spacer
separator
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Literature for
OVER 600 MAKES
Sales literature