Authors and Publishers Tell Their Stories on hobbyDB

Over the last couple of years hobbyDB has become home to the official archives of many brands of toys and collectibles as well several museums that highlight the sorts of things we love here.

The latest trend is for authors and publishers to set up an archive page on hobbyDB. The benefits are similar to how well it works for brands and museums, in that their books can be cross-referenced with a variety of subjects and collectibles. We talked to a few authors of books on automobiles, automobilia, and collectibles who now have archives here to get some insight on the process.

Arthur Ward airfix

Arthur Ward, Airfix expert and author, also knows a thing or two about vintage cars.

Arthur Ward might be a familiar name to certain collectors as the authority on all things Airfix related. In addition to being on our Advisory Board, he has an archive on hobbyDB. “My first book, The Model World of Airfix, was published in 1984, a few years after they  spectacularly went bust in 1981 to be rescued by American multinational General Mills. I knew, and the publisher agreed, that a history of this famous brand would catch the zeitgeist prevalent at the time – the Brits had nearly lost a famous and iconic brand.” As you can tell, this is a bit more than just a hobby for Arthur.

He’s since written several guides to the Airfix brand, but is also the author of books on other subjects such as World War II collectibles. This isn’t too much of a stretch, he says. “The models I built as a kid, the Spitfires,  Messerschmitts, Lancaster bombers, Sherman tanks, Flying Fortresses and the like, encouraged me to research their subjects carefully,” he said. “Making models was always about much more than simply assembling a selection of components – it was about immersing yourself in the subject. Airfix understood this, which was why their box top artwork by people like the legendary Roy Cross was so much more than a simple illustration of the subject at hand.”

Having an expert like him not just curating his books, but also the models he writes about helps lend a lot of credibility to hobbyDB with collectors, which benefits everyone with an interest in collecting.

Frank Barrett

Frank Barrett is the latest automotive author to host his archive on hobbyDB.

Frank Barrett is the latest author to archive his books on hobbyDB. After spending 25 years as editor/publisher of The Star, the national magazine of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, he generally writes about Mercedes-Benz and his first love, Porsche, but his biggest and best book is about a British/American collaboration, the Shelby Cobra. “Writing is hard work,” he explains, ”so you have to find the best publisher you can. For example I did this book with David Bull and he was fantastic to work with.”

Since Frank has worked with several publishers over the years, it can be hard to find all of his books online unless you stumble onto them in a neutral place. Or, you can go to his archive, and find them all. Long story short, it’s good to have a single source that ties them all together. Frank is only in the process of moving his Toad Hall Motorbooks store to hobbyDB where you can buy his books – plus over 1,000 other vintage automotive books and more than 200 original factory-published Porsche posters.


William Taylor and his company Coterie Press have published a huge array of automotive books.

William Taylor, another author archived on hobbyDB, has found a reliable publisher he likes to work with… his own company, Coterie Press. Their books (and his own) cover a range of mostly European makes, everything from the manufacturer, the cars, the races, the memorabilia, the models, anything related to the subject. If you don’t believe us, just punch in “Coterie Press Lotus” and look at the depth in coverage.

“Over the course of 15 years publishing automotive books, Coterie Press has archived the motor racing images of photographers Ian Catt, Peter Darley and myself,” William said. “Along with the Classic Team Lotus Collection and several other smaller collections we’ve acquired, Coterie currently have over 100,000 images accessible to them when working on a book project.” So add the vintage photos to their stunning original photography, and that results in some really nice books.

Taylor’s (and his company’s) accurate, beautifully designed books have earned them a reputation with folks in the auto industry and the racing world to grant them access to even more in depth writing possibilities. In this case, we don’t just get a single author’s work accurately represented, we get an entire company to go with it.

We’re looking for other authors and publishers of books that appeal to any type of collectors… brand histories, spotter’s guides, price lists, let us know what you write. When you add your books to our database, we can build a great online library for collectors!

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