One of the biggest problems with having a huge fascination with the car industry is the sheer amount of published material that one accumulates.
As something of a fan of high quality publishing, my urge to collect car magazines was made worse by my urge to collect any type of interesting publication. My brochure fetish went beyond collecting literature for cars and brands that interested me. I also hoarded anything obscure or rare or particularly well designed.
The first brochures I ever bought were from a classic car gathering at Sunbury racecourse in 1993. I spent big money on the press packs for the then-new Mk3 VW Golf and the VW Chico concept. I marvelled at the all the technical details and illustrations that would never find space in a magazine.
When I moved to London to work on the short-lived Carweek, I bought around eight years’ worth of Autocar and stacked them in my room. Once I was in the trade, it was far, far easier to get hold of brochures. For a while they piled up in the tiny brick and concrete bomb shelter in the garden of my first flat.
But the collection was getting out of hand. Over nearly two decades, plastic boxes spread to a stable in Hertfordshire and then to a garage and then into a relation’s basement. I kept up my collection of Autocar, which takes up huge space and, literally, weighs tonnes.
Then came the fateful day when the whole lot had to be moved and a new home found. An overloaded van took them to a 20ft container at a farm near Biggleswade. A year later, it took two (legal) vanloads and hundreds of pounds to move the collection again, this time to Greater London.
Once, being able to look up the in-gear times of a V6 Ford Mondeo or VW Corrado VR6 was a virtually necessity. And Autocar was the only place you’d find the information in depth. But now my huge Autocar collection and many, many brochures need to go.
But I live in a flat and will probably always live in a flat. So I’ve got to get rid of the collection, somehow, rather than leave it to moulder in a lock-up. I’ll keep the best brochures and automotive publishing, but majority with have to go.