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Hagerty Employee

Where do we preserve the old-school knowledge?

Much of what we do as automotive journalists, outside of serving the contemporary news and reviews, is record slices of history. People who work in hands-on trades know this in a different sense, passing along generations of technical skills between tradesmen as they enter green and grow under the wings of those who've completed the same journey years before.
Pit Crew

One way to "save" an article you're found on the internet is to bookmark the page.  The problem with bookmarks is that you quickly create a list of bookmarks that is a mile long.  It helps to organize your bookmarks by creating TOPIC folders, but again you will eventually have a mile long list of topic folders -- and there is no guarantee the articles you bookmarked will still be there when you click on the link at a later date.  After a year or so, there is probably a 50/50 chance that you'll see a "404" error (page no longer exists) when you click on an older bookmark.


When I come across an automotive article online that I want to save for future reference, I highlight the content, then edit/copy/paste the content to a word document file, then save the document file in a TOPIC folder.  I also include the URL (the web address) so I know where the article appeared online.  I then copy the file from my computer hard drive to an external hard drive so I have a backup.  Now I have a permanent copy of the article for future reference.

Intermediate Driver

Great article, especially is it mentions the idea of the "half life of ... internet content ", something I have been interested in for years. Whilst it is already evident that previously published content can be lost at the push of a button / keyboard key, there are thankfully many people who are acting as information keepers and are more than willing to share this knowledge. You just have to ask. Car clubs are the key as they consolidate enthusiasts with the passion and knowledge and are happy to help like minded people. In the UK, the VSCC is a good example. They have a comprehensive library, that continues to expend as members donate books, magazines and brochures. Plus their membership has a wealth of knowledge, especially on pre-war cars (and in some cases pre 1st world war) a lot of which has been gained first hand as generations have maintained old cars bought by fathers and grandfathers. In addition there is a thriving community of businesses that are preserving old technologies. A good example is a company selling old reconditioned magnetos - they have a wealth of knowledge and are more than willing to help solve problems. That's just one example, but as many car clubs have forums and chat rooms where information can be be exchanged, its relatively easy to find out where to get hard to find information, or at least a lead that will set you on the right road to finding what you are looking for. So, in conclusion the answer is a hybrid one. Use the internet to search possible sources of information and then once you have found the source, revert back to old fashioned methods, i.e. read books in the "specialist" libraries that do have them, plus get in touch and talk to like minded enthusiasts. Also, get out and visit any car show or autojumble and you will find people with the knowledge willing to help. As I said, its a hybrid approach. Spend all your time trying to find information on the internet and you will end up frustrated that you can't find what you were looking for. Who knows, talk to your next door neighbour as there is the remote chance they may be an expert on magnetos and you didn't even know.
Pit Crew

Hi Phillip,
I have about 350 auto books, hard and soft back, tech books, shop manuals, marque books. Bought yreas ago for a song. Now an SA specific topic mbook costs near $40 at B & N. I wanted to leave my books to someplace where this info contained wouldn't get lost. I live near The Prnnsylvania stare university so I called their engineering librzrylibrary firt
Pit Crew

Sent by mistake, was still composing!! Can you take it down?
Pit Crew

What the hell -- I'll carry on, you'll get the idea. The Penn State Engrg library doesn't want hard copy donations. Then tried the local vo - tech and they'll take but won't guarantee that they won't throw out if the auto mech program is closed, ditto with Penn Tech's auto restoration program (Penn State's community technical college). Philadelphia Free Public Library has a very large automotive collection (they told me one of the largest in the East). They will take my books. They would also like a monetary donation to maintain the collection, but I think that would be used to convert it to microfiche.
Thanks for the article regarding an important, little discussed subject.
For people commenting on how great Rock Auto is, you can no longer speak to a human at Rock Auto and their parts lists are full of incorrect and wrong parts info.
Community Manager


Being a "Restorer since the '70's" I've purchased
_ Refinishing Colour Books that go back into the 1930's.
That's how you do it.
I have Factory 'workshop' manuals.
Find them, Buy Them


IN PRINT, not digital
Intermediate Driver

Most any books I've acquired over the years have gone with the vehicles when they were sold.
I'm currently taking care of an 8 car collection consisting of a senior Lincoln ( FDR's parade car) , 33 Packard,a RR , Austin Healey, 48 Merc conv. , 71 Caddy,a T-bird, all the way up to modern day Maserati Mc-20 and do wish I had an apprentice to pass on some of my experience to.
I've been restoring cars for well > 55 years with 3 classics of my own with tons of others in the past and just can't find anyone that wants to learn it seems.

We do have a fairly active car show seine going on in the VT area and it's rather surprising that I can't ?