|Click for larger view
|This 1991 Ferrari
348 folder, one of my favorites, opens to a huge
Dad would bring me to have our 1967
Dodge Coronet serviced at Ethington Brother's in Nicholasville,
Kentucky. While waiting, I would look at the new models.
Their showroom held two cars, desks and chairs. A nice
lady who worked at one of the desks, would see me gazing
at the literature stand and welcomed me to "help
myself to the brochures."
Next year, I contracted mumps and missed school. I ran
a fever and lay on the couch, watching television. Mom
felt sorry and asked if she could get me anything at
the store. "Could you bring home some brochures
from Ethington's?" I asked. That afternoon, I studied
new Plymouth catalogs. I returned to Ethington's for
other visits, discovering the Chevrolet and Ford-Mercury
dealerships. When riding in the back seat, I would pretend
I was ordering a new car as I looked over the options.
During high school, I categorized my collection into
model year and marque, carrying them all of them in
a gym bag.
I began reading the classifieds in magazines to see
if anyone sold or collected old brochures. In 1978 I
ordered a 1968 Barracuda catalog from Walter Miller
- for $8.00. That summer I ordered a 1968 Charger catalog
from Auto West Advertising - for $8.00!
|Click for larger view
|Marnie, my fiancee,
being introduced to "The Collection"
Obtaining my driver's license, I drove
to dealerships in Ashland, Charleston, Huntington and
Lexington to add to my collection. My favorite dealerships
were Don Jacobs Oldsmoble-Honda-Jaguar, Lagrew Motors
(Alfa Romeo, AMC and Mercedes-Benz) and Quantrell Cadillac-Volvo.
"Road & Track" magazine began printing
the addresses to importers in their test articles. Rolls-Royce
was especially generous to me. I also began keeping
motorcycle and truck literature.
Later, I called the coastal importers to ask for exotic
literature. "Road & Track" ran an article
on the Detomaso Longchamp. I dialed the number for the
importer. The man told me the very car that "R&T"
photographed was in his showroom, three feet from his
desk! About a week later, I received a package from
him containing the Longchamp brochure.
I tried to reach Bob Grossman of West Nyack, New York
for Maserati brochures. The receptionist said he was
in a meeting, but she sent me catalogs on the Bora,
Khamsin and Merak.
for larger view
thrilled to receive this Ferrari factory reprint
of a 1948 Ferrari brochure!
When I enlisted in the army, I chose
Fort Ord, California because it was close to Pebble
Beach. The training schedule never permitted me to attend
the Concours D'Elegance. I was in the field the year
the Bugatti Royales came! There was a Ferrari dealership
in Seaside at that time. Every month I would buy a new
brochure from the parts counter. One day the counter
person exclaimed, "I sell more brochures to you
than anyone else!" Every Thanksgiving I attended
the San Fransisco Auto Show in the Moscone Center.
Obscure pieces enthrall me as much as the mainstream.
Some of my obscure pieces include: Apollo, Bianchi,
Clenet, Cumberford, DeLorean, Excalibur, Forza, Lancia,
Monte Carlo and the Panther.
Collecting auto sales brochures brings me a happiness
that no other hobby can match. I have over a hundred
plastic cases filled with literature. I prefer pieces
from the 1960s, but my tastes have shifted from 1960s
American cars to English, German, Italian and Swedish
I'm not sure why dealerships have decreased the supply
of brochures - isn't this the industry that allowed
Oldsmobile and others to falter? Collecting brochures
has given me a confidence about the industry that the
automakers lack. My point is, I'm not embarrassed to
collect their literature... why should the automakers
be stingy in providing it? If I were in management at
General Motors I would have developed Oldsmobile products
and marketing to the point that Lexus would be building
"Final Editions" now. If I were chairman of
Chrysler, Chrysler would still be an independent automaker
not a subsidiary of a German firm. And if I worked
at an independent, AMC, Checker and Studebaker would
still be manufacturing cars and trucks!
Including the manufacturers, there are several sources
for sales literature. McLellan's
Automotive History is the most collector friendly.
Most impressive are the personal attention, packaging
and that web site!
I would recommend sales literature to curious and entrepreneurial
teenagers as motivation guidance toward a career or
as a hobby. Many a dealership is launched as a lifetime
dream! I know I'm working on launching mine.