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 2008 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
My Story
By Gary Grant
 
Click on photo

My first inkling of interest in car literature occurred in 1957. My Dad ran a jalopy (1933 Chevy #22) at the local dirt oval and he received some minor sponsorship from the Chevrolet / Oldsmobile / Cadillac dealer in town. One day I was with him at "Goodspeeds" and wandered into the showroom. Aha! These were nice! I ended up with 1957 Chevrolet, 1957 Oldsmobile and '1957 Chevrolet Pickups brochures - and I still have all three. I was 11 years old.

Over the next ten years or so I did pick up various other brochures, but mostly General Motors stuff sold at that dealership. Never did get a 1959 Cadillac piece, owever.

Click on photo

Then in 1967, while living in St. John's, Newfoundland, I got involved with a motor club. Through a couple of ex-patriot Brits, I garnered a real interest in British cars.

From then onward, my real speciality became anything from the United Kingdom and especially Mini and Morris Minor.

It was not until 1978 that I obtained my first collection from another party. A young mentally challenged man had about 1,000 pieces, but he was only interested in keeping the truck stuff.

Click on photo

It was after acquiring this nice collection of all 1950s, '60's and '70's Canadian brochures, that I got real serious.

I began to write to manufacturers in North America and the U. K. at first, but soon realized that, if I could get the addresses, there might be literature to find from throughout the world.

At my peak, there were 80,000 sales brochures in my basement, with 20,000 related to trucks and buses. I still have all 5,000 bus brochures, but only about 20,000 car pieces.

Click on photo

Health and age have had a large bearing on my collecting the last few years. Those boxes get heavy after two shoulder operations and advancing age.

At the end of 2002 I took early leave from work to be with my wife of 35 years, who had been diagnosed with the big "C". She left us for better places in late 2003 and at that time I began slowly lessening my collection. All of a sudden there is now six years of selling on eBay, under my belt.

Click on photo

Other than acquiring rare items for my collection, the very best part of collecting literature has been the many wonderful people I have met over the years. On three occasions in recent years I have travelled to the U. K. and Europe, mostly visting with fellow collectors. As most long-time literature collectors would know, The Netherlands, for some reason, has more collectors per capita than any other country. I know about twenty and there are hundreds more. A couple of these people have become close friends and they have shared their collections.

The largest collection I ever saw was over 100,000 pieces of worldwide car only literature. This was in the U. K. in 2004 and I also got to travel at 280 k.p.h. in a Porsche!

Click on photo

Even though I have lessened my collection radically over the past few years, I will always be a collector. At least once a week I do some searching on the internet looking for Mini stuff I don't have. It is now rare to find something unique, whereas I have 90% of showroom items available. Same goes for Citroen ID/DS. There are some early pieces that I still need, but don't have a lot of hope of finding some. They are out there, but the prices are now astronomical. Saw some at a car show in France but they were upwards of $50.00 each.

Other than Morris Minor, the only other literature that I still seek out is bus and small commercial vehicles, based on car chassis.

Click on photo

A friend in Europe sells buses for a living, so new literature is quite easy to get. Older bus stuff continues to be quite rare (and expensive).

Another collecting interest joined in at the time of my retirement and that is street scene postcards (must have a vehicle in the scene). Over the last six years I have been successful in acquiring about 8,000 such cards and I particularly enjoy finding views with Citroen ID/DS.

The near future for me has a move to much smaller quarters and most of the bulk won't be coming with me. I suspect there will be a small amount put in storage, and I will always keep my "special" stuff with me, but at least 10,000 pieces have to go in the next six months. Should be fun!

Gary Grant

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