It is that time of year again. The
North American International Auto Show Detroit right
after the New Year's holiday.
|Click for larger view
|Click for larger view
I love auto shows, have attended several
of the Detroit Auto Shows and most Houston Auto Shows
since their inception. In the 1950s I read about them
in "Road & Track", "Sports Cars Illustrated"
and "Motor Trend". That was as close as I
could get to the concept cars from Detroit and the special
bodied Italian, English and German makes featured at
the New York or Turin Auto Shows. Back then there was
no local Ferrari, Maserati or Aston Martin dealer
Alfa Romeos, Jaguars and Mercedes-Benz were about as
exotic as were available. The first auto show in Houston
was in 1985!
Many collectors living near large cities which host
auto shows have found them to be a major source of sales
literature and, with skill and luck, press kits, too.
The sales literature usually has not been the more impressive
catalogs which are available at dealerships and press
kits are the objective of most collectors.
Prior to WWII it is unknown to me as to whether auto
shows had press previews. Possibly press material was
forwarded directly to newspaper and magazine editors.
By the 1950s previews for journalists were quite common.
One of the earliest I have seen was for the 1949 Lincoln.
With time press kits improved in size,
content and presentation.
It was not until the 1980s that press kits became very
collectible, with multiple photographs, color slides,
extensive commentary and an effort to impress journalists
to the point that the presentation would induce them
to wear "rose-colored glasses" when writing
about the cars.
New cars of the 1990s brought new life to the auto industry
and the public, starved for exciting automobiles not
seen since the early 1970s, looked to auto magazines
for the latest information. Auto makers competed with
one another for the attention of the press and auto
shows were their forum. Elaborate press kits, along
with memorabilia, were handed out to eager writers.
Each year the companies devised increasingly more novel
ways of catching their attention.
Then along came the Internet and CD-ROM diskettes. Here
it is 2006 and a journalist has access to everything
necessary for a good article straight from a company's
media web site. And that makes for an easy-to-put-together
article. At an auto show, if a journalist wants a press
kit, he or she will most likely be handed a CD-ROM,
possibly in an elaborate presentation folder. They may
also be given some memorabilia or an invitation to a
media party. Press kits with slides, color photographs
and multiple pages of press release information, for
the most part, are no longer available.
Another interesting trend at auto shows is lack of new
on-site introductions. More and more new models are
not being announced there, but rather at remote private
showings throughout the year to which selected journalists
are invited. By giving journalists special attention
they get more media coverage than when manufacturers
have to compete with other auto companies at a show.
It also eliminates all the literature collectors / eBay
dealers who make up a majority of the "journalists"
at Detroit and Los Angeles. Instead, at auto shows they
provide a good time for the journalists and make it
easy to download the information into their computers.
The press kit is obsolete.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF PRESS KITS
McLellan's Automotive History will continue to acquire
new press kits / CD ROMs from journalists as they become
available, but as interest in these less impressive
ones diminishes, interest in the elaborate ones from
the Golden Age will increase and, in turn, they will
become increasingly more collectible and valuable. MAH
invites you to take this opportunity to review our current
inventory of press kits. The following selection of
Detroit Auto Show press kits from 1997 to the present
are being offered at HALF PRICE.
|For complete listing
of Detroit Auto Show press kits click here