Hooniverse Asks – What Kind of Automotive Memorabilia Do You Collect?

My garage is full of Healeys. Well, two of them at least- a side curtain Sprite, and a Jensen. And sharing that space with those two British oil-leakers is my pretty extensive collection of car magazines, remember those? I have Road & Track, complete back to the mid fifties. I have Car and Driver and Motor Trend from about ’75 through ’95, as well as a decade of Skinned Knuckles, the English rag CAR and various and sundry other pubs like Car Test and Sports Car Graphic. All in all there’s several dead trees worth of glossy car books out there.
That’s my collection, but based on the garages I have visited, as well as some of the homes of those equally afflicted with car nuttiness, but of more means, where even living rooms are adorned with collections and automotive detritus. Some people don’t just talk the talk, they live the life. That usually means either a very, very understanding, or equally rabid spouse, or the swinging single lifestyle. Regardless, there are many folks I have met whose collection of parts, signs, ads, or what have you, can make even the Peterson museum look like a box of Hot Wheels cars.
But what about you? Do you have a drawer where you keep a stack of car show brochures, added to each year, and separated by make and model? Or maybe it’s  a wall of badges in the garage- pulled from junk yard corpses before they went to the crusher. Whatever it is, we want to know what it is. What do is either your pride and joy, or your private shame of automotive obsession?
Image source: [arteauto.com]

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  1. bzr Avatar

    I collect car brochures. I have about 3 or 4 Tupperware bins tucked away in my childhood home, and the end of any car show is a workout. I usually fill up three bags of press kits, brochures, flash drives, and pamphlets to tuck away and bury for at least 50 years, in the hopes that I can look back upon mid-2000s cars and remember how quaint they were (when I'm on the moon base in my hovercar).

  2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    They last forever and there's always room for more.

    1. Alff Avatar

      I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption.

      1. Lotte Avatar

        I've lived, a life that is full, and traveled each, and every highway. But more, much more than this, I did it, my(yyy) way.

  3. muthalovin Avatar

    Speeding awards, er, tickets.

  4. P161911 Avatar

    I think I have the dealer brochure for most of the cars I have owned. I have Rubbermaid tubs full of brochures from auto shows. I've got a few emblems pulled from the junkyard. I have several thousand pictures that I took before I went digital. Several hundred automotive books of assorted types.

  5. LTDScott Avatar

    I'm not much of a collector other than toy/model cars. However my fiancee is cool enough to allow some car related stuff in the house. I have two glass cabinets filled with 1/18 scale models, and there are framed prints of my LTD's magazine article, the Porcubimmer in action, an abandoned Datsun photo from Lost America, and an old 50s F-series wrecker on the walls.

  6. Black Steelies Avatar

    I have a collection of Hess trucks that started in 1993 with the Patrol Car I got for Christmas. I've gotten one every year since and when I was younger, my dad thoughtfully bought two so I could play with one. I've expanded the collection to 1990, my birth year, mint in the box. I have a few scattered through the 80s in boxes and some without. It's hard to find any real earlier as they are a pretty common collectors item but I know I have a better set than my friends, and that's what counts. Starting to run out of room on my shelf, but hey that's what collections are for I suppose. I also have a smattering of books, license plates and old emblems/keys/junk etc.
    <img src="http://www.fast-autos.net/diecast-cars-models/diecast-car-image-large/1993-hess-toy-truck-patrol-car-vintage-hess-truck-car_120673955928.jpg"&gt;

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      I just saw Hess trucks for the first time last Xmas. Do you have the space shuttle transporter? Because that was rad.

      1. Black Steelies Avatar

        Yes. Yes I do.

      2. Black Steelies Avatar

        Indeed I do. Full size or Hess-mini? I have both.

  7. Maxichamp Avatar

    I collect 1/43 scale Minichamps cars (hence my handle). They fall into two categories: Cars I would like to own in real life (UAZ van, LM002, 240Z, 288 GTO, etc.) and Nick Heidfeld's F1 cars. Though it's a sizeable collection, it's nowhere nearly as impressive as this one:

  8. Alff Avatar

    Because my wife is afflicted with the collecting bug, to the point that it causes strain on our relationship, I have actively avoided keeping stuff. This is not out of spite, but so that I am on firm ground when I tell her that some of her collection of Santa figuines, pillow cases or home decorating magazines has gotta go to make room for us to live. That said, I do have an impressive assortment of nuts, bolts, zerks, bleeder valves, shims etc.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      I know we've already chatted about this, but I'm a lot like you in this regard. The way it happened for me is I was a kid and did not have much money. My interests were cars and computers. Cars were too much money and I had no place for them by the time I got to college. So I had a great collection of old computers by that point instead. Then my first kid was on the way, and again I had the no room scenario, but now even less. So I got rid of those computers.
      Now when I have money and space, well I have kids. So they get the toys. But before I throw anything away, I keep what ever can be useful later. I have just oodles of junk I will never use in the garage and basement, but occasionally I get to use that fraction of a percent. It's a great feeling. For example my wife recently signed me up to make some games for a school fun fair. I made catapults from left over fence stuff, and she told me to get rid of those hinges years ago! Or that really sticky tape for when we redid the windows, that worked great for the cub scouts making a ping pong toss game last night. I pre-made most of it, just pulled the backing off at the end of the den meeting last night and had the boys put cups on the sticky board, which was left over from when I fixed the rotten floor in the bathroom. It's just, I like to feel like a winner instead of a crazy hoarder.
      Now my wife, she also has a tendency to collect. The last thing was the 'precious moments' Chinese crap. Oh wait, China. But somehow she got out of all that. I'm very thankful for that. I really think what happened is she got interested in photography and so that takes all attention and money. now instead of feeling resentment at no place for books on the bookshelf, I feel pride in the great pictures she takes.

      1. Alff Avatar

        I've been like that for years – saving left over lumber and hardware for future projects. Those days are over but they did pay off. I'm just wrapping up turning the last unfinished part of the basement into a bedroom and design studio. I feel like I hit the jackpot, as I've been able to use all of the old lumber, Romex and hardware that I no longer have room to store, plus I've expanded our living space by several hundred square feet for less than three grand.
        I shudder at Precious Moments. Years ago I visited some friends who had a collection of them in a china hutch. It just so happened that I had a plastic figurine of a couple engaged in oral sex in my jacket pocket – a bachelor party gift from one of my goofy friends a couple of weeks earlier. Of course I left it behind, nestled amongst the doe-eyed porcelain children. Got a call a couple of weeks later, asking if I was the one responsible for offending someone's mother-in-law. Heehee.

    2. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      What the I KNOW I replied to you, H.N. Lucas! Now there it is.

  9. SSurfer321 Avatar

    I inherited a collection from the previous owner of the home.
    3 boxes of vintage Hot Rod, Classic Car and other various mags in the house attic. 3 boxes of vintage Playboy, Penthouse mags with centerfolds removed. I sold off the Hot Rod mags and donated the girlie mags to the bodyshop next door.
    The garage attic is STILL filled with old car parts and other useless junk that I intend on bequeathing to the next owner of the home.
    I do have a small assortment of Hot Wheels and 1:18 scale models boxed up somewhere. Like Alff, my spouse is a collecter also, so I try to keep my clutter to a minimum.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I've given away, sold, and thrown away more car magazines than I would ever admit. Those purgings contribute to my regret (see my initial post above), but to be honest, you can only keep so much of that crap, or eventually it ends up owning you. I do have a single banker's box in my office marked "vintage and collectable magazines" that has the cream of the collection still in it.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        Same here. I ditched collections of C/D and R&T that went from the mid '70s to the mid '90s when I split with wife #1. I'm still bummed about that. I do still have a few '60s Hot Rod magazines that I bought as a kid, along with some '60s and '70s car brochures.

  10. acarr260 Avatar

    I collect the tears of failed F1 drivers.

    1. Flavio Briatore Avatar
      Flavio Briatore

      I'll make you some. For my part, I collect starlets … and euros.

  11. Ryans92L Avatar

    I don't collect much, I mean I got Hess trucks and Top Gear on DVD, but my dad holds the Award for Car Crap. He has every single Racing Program (1971-2005) from Silver Spring Speedway in Mechanicsburg PA. He also has years and years worth of Area Auto Racing Newspapers, plus all kinds of racecar body panels hanging up in his garage.

  12. OA5599 Avatar

    <img src="http://aadezyn.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/oil-can-collection.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Some people collect oil cans, but I just don't have the room for it.
    To save space, I collect drops of oil in my driveway. I show off some of my collection in my parking space at work, in restaurant parking lots, at friends' houses, and pretty much anywhere else I go.

  13. Maymar Avatar

    I've been building up my stash of car magazines and brochures for the past 20 years, along with a copy of the guide to the Toronto Auto Show from every year I've been (although I've misplaced my copy from '95). Now that I've started to work a few auto shows, I've also got my growing collection of ID badges (although that's more out of a pack rat refusal to throw them out).
    I also compulsively buy 1:64 scale cars (and the occasional 1:18 if something catches my eye).

  14. Froggmann_ Avatar

    I'm not real selective in my "collection", so it's a bit scattered. Recently I've been on an emblem kick. Essentially I "rescue" interesting nameplates and whatnot from the junkyard I visit. I also have an affinity for 1963 Thunderbird stuff, one of these days I'll have another.
    This is what my "junk" shelf at work looks like, The most notable things are the International Harvester hood emblem and the 1946 Dodge Ram hood ornament.
    <img src="http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q53/Froggmann/Misc/Phone/IMG_20110211_084225.jpg&quot; width="600" img="">

  15. lilwillie Avatar

    I used to collect Rusty Wallace stuff or Miller Lite Racing stuff when I was big into Napcar. Then collected parts, odd parts that are scattered in the back area of the shop. Cool things I liked I would put on the shelf. Stacks of Hot Rod and Car Craft in the bathroom. I like gadgets for fixing cars. I have a old Sun Machine I should clean up and display, another AC Delco tune up machine. Older Snap On diagnostic stuff stacked in the back. Things people would want to throw out I would take.
    Cars, to many of them…I should thin the herd but I just can't.

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      I've got some of the old MGD and "Midnight" collectible stuff!
      Used to follow Rusty and Ernie Irvan back when it was it was racing, before it became a "lifestyle accessory". Rusty was a hoot to watch, you never knew what was going to happen.

  16. Jeremy Wilson Avatar
    Jeremy Wilson

    I like my hobbies to be useful, and crap like brochures, toy cars, models and other junk just take up space and collect dust that needs to be cleaned.
    If it’s car related and I can’t drive it or work on it, then I want nothing to do with it.

  17. longrooffan Avatar

    <img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_zCnDCJkPVTc/SVl5P80fw9I/AAAAAAAAE6g/o0iW1aYWEks/s400/0+002.jpg&quot; end>
    Pretty much every surface, both horizontal and vertical in my small beach side condo is covered with automobilia related crap.
    <img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_zCnDCJkPVTc/SVl3t8fa41I/AAAAAAAAE6A/ZuCDdHUeA0Q/s400/0+006.jpg"end&gt;
    All scales and makes of diecasts, posters, ads, license plates, even an old firetruck pedal car hangs from a wall. Yeah, I am OC!
    You can read about it here.

  18. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    I have a buddy that has the most incredible collection of model cars I have ever seen. Left to my own devices I would hope that I would have pulled something off like this. That or model rocketry. This is only a portion of his collection. I'm exceedingly proud of his collection if it's not clear already, bordering on jealous really. Only thing, he needs more Volvos 😉
    <img src="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/comment/12/2010/12/e85ae0a1e619ddc411076c157f6af6fd/340x.jpg">click to embiggen

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I've got several hundred model cars and motorcycles, from 1:64th to 1:18 scale, scattered around my house. I either need to get them all in one location, like that, or just get rid of them. As it is now, some just take up valuable shelf space and collect dust, while others sit in boxes in the basement.

    2. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      &gt;poof!&lt; I wonder if that works for other people's replies… Sure does, your ways are mysterious oh half prince H.N. Lucas.

    3. dukeisduke Avatar

      Are those scale models or diecast? I still have quite a few plastic scale models from the '60s and '70s, and some ('70s) that are still in boxes, unassembled.

      1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
        mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        They are 1:18 die cast, though I think a couple are BBurago die casts taht were in model kit form. This is my favorite off course:

  19. mdharrell Avatar

    Same here! Of course, four of those "containers" are cars and some of the smaller cans are stacked in the living room instead, but it's all basically the same idea.

  20. DrJomamachubby Avatar

    replaced parts – each one is a trophy of the pain and money expended in getting its wretched hulk removed and replaced
    The prize of this collection is the bolt from a '95 Bronco's radius arm. The fool thing took over 3000 ft/lbs to break loose according to my back of the napkin calculations. It has the scars from liberal applications propane and every kind of cutter and grinder known to me.

  21. Lotte Avatar

    I have a lot of small Matchbox, Tomica, and no-name cars from my childhood that is now stashed under the bed somewhere. As expected, they are all scuffed up, some with cracked windshields, and most losing their paint. I won't throw them out, however, and once in a blue moon they would be accompanied by a new one.
    There was once that I passed by an accident scene where someone hit the cepter traffic light pole and the traffic light box fell off. It ended up on the side of the road and I just slowly drove past it. I kick myself everyday for not snatching it away; it would have been really, really cool to have!

  22. CptSevere Avatar

    I still have my collection of Matchbox, Corgi and Hot Wheels cars from when I was a kid. Some of them are pretty collectible by now, like the James Bond Aston Martins. I'm glad I managed to hang on to them. Other than that, not much car related stuff. I used to have a pretty good collection of motorcycles, one or two of which ran at any given time.

  23. Beater_DeLuxe Avatar

    I have a small collection of license plates. Nothing too rare or exciting, mainly Canadian tags from the early '50s to current designs, maybe 20 states worth of American (I'd guess my oldest of those is a either a battered black California or an Alaska centennial "North to the Future"), and a couple of West German plates. One of these days I'll round out my North American collection and decorate a wall in the correct geographic order.
    Other than that, my old Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars are still occupying a dusty corner of my parents' basement, and I never could bring myself to throw away my old Countach/959/Testarossa posters .

  24. kah Avatar

    I try to collect a diecast model of each car I have owned still need a few anyone have a model of an 88 VW Fox wagon? or 77 Corolla Lift Back?
    <img src="http://www.pbase.com/kraig/image/132454933/medium.jpg“&gt;

  25. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    I've got nearly every magazine I've ever bought going back to around 1990, a bunch of 60's & 70's brochures and waaaay too many diecasts.
    About 10 years ago I had a second bedroom turned into a racing/sports bar. I had racing mirrors, hanging lights and liqueur store advertising balloons, and a Rusty Wallace Thunderbird Telephone. The walls were covered with 1:64 Racing Champions and Johnny Lightning diecasts, and all the shelves were stacked with 1:18 models. It got to the point where the collection was taking over my life, so I sold all but about 30 of my favorite larger models, and roughly half of the diecasts.
    I have since started collecting the full sized versions. MGBs and Mopar seem to be a particular weakness. The silver lining is that they all use the same oil filter.

  26. cmdrfire Avatar

    Haven't really got space to put any dedicated collection anywhere, but I seem to have small piles of mechanical components in many places from my various projects.

  27. Morro00 Avatar

    I made a couple of panels from the grandstands tickets of the races I've been to.
    Also, I try to collect whatever fits into my cars when I travel to those races!
    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/2u4sk8x.jpg&quot; width="600">

  28. 2stroke4life Avatar

    Pretty much everything under the sun, mostly parts, badges, diecast and plastic models, brochures and magazines tho.
    -Darnell's Auto Wrecking, formerly of Jalopnik