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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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April 2008 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Thanks Dad!
By Scott Christie
 
Scott with one of his
Sunbeam Alpines

I owe my passion for classic cars and collecting literature to my father, who when I was young enough to remember, would take me along on his literature collecting jaunts, grabbing one or two copies of anything he could get his hands on. This was in the 1970s, when car manufacturers still produced lavish brochures and a variety of materials to lure the prospective buyer. Like me, my father also started at a very early age, visiting all the dealerships in his native Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a young lad in the late 1940s / early 1950s, begging, borrowing, and sometimes stealing to get that elusive piece. He once told me of his trick in checking the glove boxes of rental cars in order to add to his growing collection of owner's manuals!

Growing up I was aware of the numerous boxes stored in the basement, literally stuffed with literature from the 1950s through the 1990s, but rare were the opportunities to glimpse this collection as security was tight and justice swift if I dipped my sticky hands into this treasure trove. Full color brochures, both large and small; press photos; dealer albums; paint chips; owner's manuals - the list goes on and on. When I was allowed a glimpse I was amazed to see names I was not familiar with - Kaiser, Packard, Studebaker, Willys, Hudson. My father's collection brought history to life as I dreamt of those bygone days when car manufacturers were plentiful, and the new model introduction was a city-wide celebration.

My particular interest is in the cars offered by the English manufacturer The Rootes Group. Names such as Sunbeam, Hillman, Humber, Singer, Commer, and Karrier spur me on to collect. Have you noticed that owning the literature simply isn't enough? It usually leads to a purchase or two of the actual car. To date my garage houses a 1961 Humber Super Snipe, a 1963 Sunbeam Alpine, and a recent addition, a rare 1962 Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans, one of only 250 built.

For me, collecting the literature helps in restoration, and I have a special appetite for original press photos. Dealer stamps on the brochures are an added bonus, especially since I've had the privilege of talking with some of these ex-Rootes dealers over the years.

Now a grown adult with two young boys of my own, I hope to impart this love for classic cars and literature to my own children in order to keep my father's legacy alive. Thanks Dad for giving me an appreciation for the cars of your youth, and for passing along a hobby I can one day enjoy with my own sons.

 
 
 
We would like to hear the story behind your literature
collection — and so would our readers!
 
 
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, April 2008
 
 
 
 
 
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