July '20

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72 THE SHOP JULY 2020 Automobilia p. 72 JULY 2020 T hink of your business as just a spe- cialty car shop and you're limiting your scope to only building or restoring custom vehicles. But, think of your shop as a specialty automotive shop and, all of a sudden, you've expanded your marketplace several times over. The fact is that many car enthusiasts and collectors are into car culture that expands far beyond projects on four wheels. Car nuts enjoy everything that has anything to do with their customs, hot rods and classics. Some things in this category include what's called automo- bilia—a term that refers to automotive memorabilia. This category includes toy cars, vintage car dealer items, car company neon building signs and literally millions of other motoring mementos. Collectibles that have something to do with oil companies or gas stations are called petroliana and are very popular with enthu- siasts. Some examples of petroliana are old gas pumps, oil company signs, gas station giveaway items, oil and lube cans, road maps from years ago, tire pumps and even vintage gas station attendant uniforms and hats. Some car enthusiasts are interested in just about anything, with or without direct automotive links, that's related to the era of their vehicle and the culture of that time. Examples would include pinball machines, old television sets, furniture, dime store amusement rides, cartoon character statues, product promotional signs and so on. While specialty car shop owners can't restore every item in these categories (a broken rock 'n roll record, for example) there are many examples of automobilia, petro- liana and car-culture collectibles that can or must be restored to be worth anything. For instance, very few collectors want a rusty old gas pump decorating their car storage building. However, take that same gas pump, blast off the rust, powder-coat the parts, put a reproduction old-time gas globe on top of it, light it up and you have a thing of beauty. Dealing in Automobilia By John Gunnell Your customers will love old-car collectibles. Petroliana like oil company signs can be very eye- catching. This is a restored Kidillac—an upscale pedal car toy from the 1950s.

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