Time is running out, it may be too late. Those of us who restore brass era automobiles continually battle time. Nature's clock works against us. Wood, leather, steel, and brass all bend to nature's will. Rust is the most obvious sign of our pending defeat. (Like they say, rust never sleeps.)
Yet, rust is only part of the problem. In a pile of rust we see an assemblage of parts that work, diligence, and plain old luck can turn into a restored brass automobile. We don't see the invisible fact that before there was an automobile, before there were pistons, drive shafts, and steel frameworks, this brass automobile was an idea in someone's head, a spark of a vision that became a powerful dream.
That dream in the minds of its inventors is now gone, passed from living memory. As of this writing there are only three living World War One veterans, one American. These three people actually saw brass era cars up close and for real. Like their fading memories, the real information that changed the dream into real brass era cars is fading into the past. To keep the brass era hobby alive we must not let the ideas go. The dream that wood, leather, steel, and brass could somehow be thrown together to make life more productive is real. It really happened. This dream changed our lives.
While we're not going to beat rust we can stem the loss of information and even win back some lost ground. There are three general levels of loss:
- Example 1: a learned restorer dies. This is a severe, irreplaceable loss.
- Example 2: an unidentified part goes to the scrap yard. All restoration projects get a tiny bit harder, less likely to succeed.
- Example 3: an old brochure lies buried in someone's library. We are all poorer not knowing the story this brochure tells. This is a reversible condition.
Automotive-Age.org creates a site for preservation and world-wide distribution of information on brass era automobiles. This includes:
- Factory photographs and drawings
- Manuals and brochures
- Manufacturer's production information
- Racing records and statistics
- Corporate structure and personnel