Putting the missing pieces back together of a once great collection
As I wrote about back in February, I had a huge flood at my office and my entire reference library was destroyed—literally thousands of books and magazines, along with the other stuff a person accumulates. The inventory was straightforward, if tiresome. But, being an insurance claim, every item had to be documented, which took weeks.
Some were harder than others. I had a brochure from a 2006 exhibit at Toyota’s corporate museum in Japan, which a friend there had sent to me. It turns out they still sell it at the museum shop, and it’s only ¥600—about $5.44. But they don’t ship, so I’d have to find someone in the middle of nowhere, Japan, to buy it and they’d have to ship it to me, which ends up at something over $150.00 altogether. It took endless hours and emails to figure that out.
Then there was the Koenigsegg book. Koenigsegg is a Swedish supercar, and the single book about them was printed in a limited edition of 250. None of them are for sale, anywhere, and I had to come up with a price. I found one sold at an auction in 2011; and one on eBay in Australia a year ago. That one went for about $813 and needless to say, the insurance company had some questions.
Actually, they still have questions, but they’ve cut me a “good faith” check and I’ve started putting my collection back together. This time, instead of getting what I can when it’s a good deal, I get to go ahead and build exactly what I anticipate needing, without the dead weight. It’s literally an AC (think AC Cobra) to VW bookshelf. Maybe Zagato—a coachbuilder—if I can find one that isn’t $300, just for completeness.
That has all been kind of fun to do, but it’s nothing compared to the support from my peers. Offers of support have been everywhere. Last month, an auction company donated their last four years of catalogs, nothing to sneeze at when it was five boxes of them at about $50 per catalog. They followed that up with a great deal on a complete set of the fantastic Special Interest Autos magazine, including shipping them from Canada.
A friend in Italy hooked me up with a deal on a 10-year run of books at a discount, and they’re shipping them over. Another has a huge collection of Fifties and Sixties Car and Driver and Motor Trend from the Forties and Fifties. He’s putting them all in his truck and driving them 275 miles to meet me, his only condition being that I donate what I can to a fellow autowriter who’s raising funds for a medical condition.
What I didn’t know was that I still had friends in the first place. I’m not an easy person to get along with and I’ve burned a lot of bridges. We’re talking Sherman’s March. Yet still, they came to my aid and continue to do so. I certainly don’t deserve it, but I guess it’s a small community and we tend to look after our own.
I recognize that compared to someone who’s been through a tornado or something, a bunch of things like these are meaningless. Even in my life, this doesn’t make any “worst things” list. It’s mostly really, really inconvenient. At the same time, it’s the way I make my living and it’s been a mighty thin winter and spring. I have a family depending on me, and I feel I’ve been letting them down.
I don’t know why people still like me, but I’m grateful that they do. As much as I lost in property, I’m coming out of this feeling as though I’ve gained.
David Traver Adolphus is a freelance automotive researcher who recently quit his full time job writing about old cars to pursue his lifelong dream of writing about old AND new cars. He welcomes the inevitable and probably richly deserved kvetching about Air Bag and anything else on Twitter as @proscriptus.
Photo courtesy Koenigsegg