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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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June 2006 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Letteratura Di Automobile Di Italiano
By Robert McLellan
 

"Ferraris come in all shapes and sizes with similar price tags — expensive... If you are in the market for the best in imports and have the loot, write your check to Alfred Momo and then sit down and wait — it may be a long one. Ferrari's delivery service is as independent as independent can be and it is quite possible that if he doesn't like you he won't sell you a car, regardless of how long you are willing to wait. At times Ferrari has shut down his factory in squabbles with the government about over-taxing; sometimes he's open. Since Ferrari is a wealthy man in his own right, he is in a position to tell the government and his customers to go to hell at any time — and often does.

So, I will repeat, if you have the loot and can buy one, go ahead. In this way you'll know for sure that you own one of the greatest sports cars in the world, even though it may come apart in the first ten miles.

From The Modern Sports Car by Tom McCahill, 1954."

 

A lot has changed at Ferrari since the death of Enzo, but in the early 1950s he was interested more in racing than in building civilized cars for customers. When he needed financing he sold cars to "regular" rich guys. The rest of the time he sold them to race car drivers. Enzo, a former race car driver with Alfa Romeo, had priorities.

I knew several collectors who received brochures directly from the factory, and even personal letters from Enzo, by persuasively making the case that they were the "right type" of person to command his attention. Using SCCA stationery and mentioning Laguna Seca helped make a positive statement.

A number of serious collectors of Ferrari literature began their collections in the 1950s, but when Richard Merritt published Ferrari Brochures and Sales Literature in 1977, the number of collectors more than doubled. It was at that time that I shifted from being a casual to a serious Ferrari literature collector. Prices quickly began to rise and by 1990 I felt they had peaked as reflected by the insane prices the cars were fetching. Actually I was a bit premature when I sold in 1990 as they didn't really top out until 1991. My nearly completed collection sold to the very distinguished collector of both Ferrari cars and literature, Junichiro Hiramatsu (Read article).

   
       
   
   
   
   
   

Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Fiat, in that order, generate the most interest in collectors' minds, whether we're talking about the cars or the literature. While the values of these cars and their literature retreated for awhile, after setting records in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the prices are once again rising dramatically. This time around the prices paid are not receiving much attention and most collections seem to remain hidden. Possibly collectors are waiting for prices to become exorbitant. Or maybe these collectors have moved on to other hobbies, have forgotten about their literature and are not watching the movement in prices. We have noticed that when the rarer items become available they are quickly snapped up. If these marques appeal to you, keep your eyes open for opportunities.

 
LAMBORGHINI
 
       
       


 
MASERATI
 
       
       


 
ALFA ROMEO
 
       
 
       


 
LANCIA
       
       
       


 
FIAT
 
       
       
       
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, June 2006
 
 
 
 
 
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