Many of you have responded to my several writings about the health of the historic military vehicle and militaria hobbies. The overwhelming sentiment that readers have conveyed is, “We need to get more people involved.” We at Military Vehicles Magazine and Military Trader take this suggestion seriously. We believe we are all “ambassadors” to the hobby.
The motivation to involve more in the hobby that we love and treasure are varied. It is natural, as we age, to have the desire for someone “to pick up” where we leave off. It could almost be an instinctual reaction for elders to pass on their wisdom to the next generation.
But it goes beyond wishing that younger people hold dear the same things that we cherish. While most of us will agree that we feel it is important for the next generation to value the history that we have so carefully preserved, there is also a financial component to consider: As collectors, it is in our best interest to be sure that there are willing and able customers when it comes time to sell our treasured relics. Finding new people to share our interest is a very strong step toward protecting our investment.
To that end, Military Vehicles Magazine took a big chance last year when we produced a special, “Ambassador Issue.” At the time, we worked with two groups to finance the venture. The premise of the Ambassador issue was to produce a magazine that would provide a basic road map into the hobby. We sent the issue to all of the then current subscribers of MVM and encouraged them to give them to people who might be interested in acquiring a historic military vehicle (HMV). Additionally, we provided extra issues to those who were willing to give them to prospective new entrants into the hobby. In all, we distributed about 18,000 copies of the “Ambassador Issue.”
It is hard to measure the success of such an effort but we can report that about 500 new people subscribed to Military Vehicles Magazine as a result. We don’t know if they took followed through and bought a vehicle, started restoring it and attending events, but we do know that it is a positive step when most collector-based hobbies populated primarily by the 30- to 70-year-old set are shrinking.
Encouraged by the infusion of enthusiasm in the HMV hobby, Military Vehicles Magazine is planning 2011 Ambassador Issue with the hope that it will fall into the hands of even more prospective HMV enthusiasts. You can help by becoming an HMV “ambassador.”
We want you to share your experiences in the hobby. The good, the bad or whatever sticks out in your mind as possibly being a benefit to someone who might be considering buying their first Jeep, truck or even a tracked vehicle. Last year’s issue was populated with several of these “Tales from the Field,” and in discussing the magazine with new users, we have learned those articles were the most influential in their decision to eventually become involved.
So, once again, we are turning to you—our most knowledgeable advocates of the hobby—to write your HMV-related stories and share them with a new audience. I would like to read your stories about “Why I bought an HMV,” “Lessons Learned,” or “Why I believe it is important to preserve and drive HMVs.” If you are interested in sharing your story, I would ask you to write about 800-1,200 words, include a high-resolution photo or two and send it all to me by Feb. 5, 2011 (email it directly to me at email@example.com).
I can’t guarantee that every story will appear in the “2011 Ambassador Issue,” but I can tell you that I didn’t waste a single story that was sent to me last year. If a reader-submitted story didn’t appear in the 2010 Ambassador issue, it was published shortly thereafter in our regular MVM feature, “Tales from the Field.”
This is your opportunity to be an HMV-Ambassador. We can all agree, it is in our best interest to share the excitement, honor and pleasure that we experience in the magnificent hobby of preserving, restoring and driving historic military vehicles.
Keep ‘em rolling,
Editor, Military Vehicles Magazine and Military Trader