Technology changes so rapidly that
one good thing after another disappears, only to be
replaced with something new. The auto industry demands
rapid transmission of information from the manufacturers
to the public via the auto media. Printed sales brochures
and catalogs are no longer the primary channels of communication.
Unlike earlier times, printed automotive literature
items are now few and far between. And while the car
literature collector is being by-passed in this new
scheme of things, the older paper literature and press
kits are becoming more rare and therefore more valuable.
Prior to the 1990s, press kits were not much more than
folders or notebooks with a few printed pages of text
and some black and white photographs. Then came the
golden era of elaborate press kits. This was followed
by their recent demise into CD-ROMs and download offers
on the car maker's media web site.
The 1990s to mid-2000s press kits became more and more
spectacular. Innovative packaging and elaborate on-stage
presentations at auto shows were the norm as each company
tried to upstage its competitors. Most press kits came
with color photographs and color slides. Others included
model cars or some memorabilia. The objective of course,
was to get the journalists' attention and to give them
something memorable to place on their office desk or
bookshelf that said, "Remember us. We gave you
a good time and a nice gift. Now give us favorable press
The unintended consequence of that Golden Era was that
literature collectors descended on the auto shows in
droves and soon outnumbered the media. The "darling"
of the interlopers was eBay. Often press kits could
be found listed for bid on the same day as the press
conferences at astounding prices. High prices then,
but reasonable to low prices now, these press kits are
becoming harder to find as they attain higher collectible
value. They have become good investments as collectors
age and become nostalgic about the 1990s.