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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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October 2008 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
The Making of a Ford Collection
By Seth Klinehoffer
 

I'm only 27, and got into collecting this stuff recently. I am a manager at a Ford store and in 2005 decided to bring home one of each brochure from the 2005 model year. As with many things people (men) do, it was actually to impress a girl. She was my neighbor and was interested in buying a Ford so I brought home one of each. She never bought the Ford and the short-lived relationship we were in faded pretty (really) fast.

I was going to bring the brochures back and, when I did, I decided instead to put them in the file cabinet in my office for safekeeping and future reference. Upon digging through old cabinets at the store I came upon other old brochures someone had set aside so I put them in my cabinet as well. In my never-ending tendency to be packrat, I decided "Hey, I wonder if you can find even older brochures on Ebay." I did, and purchased a crate full of them going back to 1979 from someone. Soon after, I started keeping copies of all the Source Books and Upholstery albums.

Soon after that I had a chance conversation with a man via email I met through an eBay auction. He mentioned that he had about three boxes of old Ford albums he hadn't looked at in years, going back to 1967. These included the original Fact Book albums. He offered each album to me for only $10 each. Upon receiving them, I discovered they were in almost pristine condition. Not only that, but tucked into some, such as the 1968 and 1972 albums, were the original black and white photos and brochures as well as comparison booklets, all dead mint.

I now have many such albums from that collection (although I'm missing a few years.) I couldn't believe the luck. I decided to build a collection of Ford literature and have been doing so ever since. I actually got an offer of $200 each for the late 60s albums but turned it down. They seem to be VERY rare. At my younger age, I missed out on most of these classic cars so collecting these books has become a major hobby of mine. I've focused more on dealer albums and have built a pretty substantial collection, although some I've acquired from other dealers are not in the best of conditions.

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The items that I think are most important to me are the older dealer albums. I like the brochures too, but there's something about those old albums that seems special. Obviously albums are much harder to come by, and the sheer amount of extra stuff that was stuffed into them is amazing. This dealer apparently kept everything. In the 1978 Upholstery album, he made notes on one page regarding extra interiors for the Landau models. I would normally view the writing as a bad thing, but in a way it makes everything feel a bit more authentic.

As for brochures, I've got literally hundreds of them I've gathered. There are some missing from a few years in the 80s and I plan to find them shortly. I keep them all locked up in the aforementioned file cabinet at the dealership since it's in a climate controlled room. They're locked away safely until I have a better place for them.

The following photographs show some items in my collection with descriptions of what you're looking at.

1: This is a box containing most of the 1960s and 70s albums. The bright blue one in the middle (between the 1967 and 1968 Fact books) is actually a newer binder I stuffed extra documents in. The 1968 book had so many extra bulletins and comparison guides in it that I was afraid it might break. I chose this picture since it's the older books. I figured you guys have seen plenty of the newer books. Besides, newer ones are more common anyway. Also, apparently some late 1980s books wound up in the picture.

2: This is that newer binder that I put the many bulletins in. The bulletins are pristine and look to have hardly ever been handled.

3: This is a strange oddity. It's an "Import Fact Book: Vol. 2" released by Ford. It's a mini-binder containing information on import brands from 1966-72. Apparently the book came with pages for model years 1966-69, and the pages for 1970-72 were added later, likely sent to the dealer from Ford. The person who added them put them at the front of each section and, thus, the sections are out of order. I left it that way for now. The book is in great shape although it's not very in-depth. I assume it was meant to be a sort of precursor to the Black Books used nowadays. Although all it shows is the cost of vehicles when they were new, it's different and I've never seen another one. I'd like to track down Vol. 1 if any still exist.

 
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, October 2008
 
 
 
 
 
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