Written by Tom | 4th June 2020
For some, classic cars and motorcycles have long been seen as the ultimate collector’s item. But the world changes and so does the motoring world, which has broadened its appeal from keen drivers and car enthusiasts to collectors who are as happy off the road as they are on it. Enter automobilia – which involves all car-related merchandise like helmets and artwork – a burgeoning field among collectors. To help uncover what drives collectors and understand what automobilia really is, we asked expert Jan-Bart Broertjes to join us.
This art print is titled 'Bugatti Racing Green' of the First Monaco Grand Prix
The next step in the collecting career of a young petrolhead usually consists of car brochures, picked up at car dealers or motor shows. Then there are posters, magazines, books etc. From there on, you can go in many directions: mascots, badges, advertising materials such as enamel signs and lightboxes, promotional giveaways, petrol pumps, oil cans, automotive tools, toolboxes, car parts, stickers, clothing or fashion accessories with a car brand, artworks depicting cars, motorsports memorabilia – you name it.
Jan-Bart: Nostalgia is an important one. For many collectors, their dream car is one from their youth. It can be a sports car like a Ferrari or Porsche, but also the car your father or uncle owned like a VW Beetle, a Peugeot 404 or a Ford Escort. It’s about reviving and preserving memories.
Posters are another favourite among collectors – this is of the Coppa Franco Mazotti in Brescia
Don't knock the Michelin man – he's a popular collector's item
But it’s not just car brands that are collectable. For instance, Michelin material is very popular and the same goes for a lot of petrol and oil brands, like Castrol and Esso.
But over the last 10 years, a classic car has become much more of a lifestyle item. For many people, working on their car is not what it’s all about, and maybe not even driving it (although they probably love polishing it). It’s about expressing your individuality, capturing that feeling of freedom that’s connected to old cars and that atmosphere; like 50s American style or 60s Italian. These pieces blend in perfectly with anybody that’s a lover of retro style; think a home bar, jukebox or pinball machine.
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