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Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Historic Military Vehicle (HMV) Collectors

Have you made any promises to your self about your hobby to fulfill in 2022? It isn’t too late, but there is a trick to ensure your resolutions are successful: Start with a goal. Ask yourself what it is you want to achieve. Here are a few resolutions that you, as a collector, might want to consider:

1. Start your collection “inventory.”

Sure, inventory doesn’t sound fun, but you have probably amassed a lot tools, accessories, and books related to your vehicle. If you don’t think an inventory is important to you, consider your heirs. An inventory will be invaluable to them should you happen to be hit by a bus. The more information you can leave in an organized fashion, the less likely your vehicles, tools, accouterments, accessories, or library will end up in a dumpster.

2. Perform basic maintenance

Every year that goes by, I am surprised the chores that I seem to have never finished. Basic maintenance is too easy to put off. There is always a parade, a rally, a convoy, or just some other activity that allows us to think we can put off changing the oil, rotating the tires, or checking the brakes until next weekend.

This year, why not get out your calendar and mark in a few basic vehicle chores so that you have self-imposed deadlines?

3. Clean and inspect.

If you have any vehicles, military relics, or accessories in storage, get them out and inspect them for rodents or insect damage. It will be a good time to check for any moisture seepage in your storage area as well. Again, write it your calendar: “Clean HMV and storage area.”

4. Sell a few items.

You say you are worried about the health of the hobby? Well, nothing is better for its good health than putting items into circulation. Cull out a few pieces and sell them. Let someone else experience the same excitement you felt when you first discovered the items.

5. Write something.

Many collectors like to call themselves “historians” but let’s be honest. Until you share the knowledge you have, you are just a collector sitting in a corner. Real history is a sharing activity. Maybe you can share your accumulated collecting and mechanical knowledge in a blog, a forum post, or an article.

But most importantly, start. You might be surprised at how much you have to share. For example, there is a whole new generation of historic military vehicle drivers and collectors coming into the hobby. What you might think is basic knowledge, might be foreign to them. Not everyone grew up changing oil, rotating tires, or bleeding brakes.

Again, if that bus hits you tomorrow, all that great knowledge rattling around in your brain about Jeeps, engines, blank-firing weapons, or how to change a tire on a combat rim — is lost on the pavement — unless you write it down.

6. Finish an area.

Whether you are restoring a truck, jeep, bike, or some other vehicle, determine something specific that you will finish this year. Maybe its something complicated like rebuilding a carburetor or rewiring the cab or something a little less delicate like rotating the tires or recovering the seats.Whatever it is, decide on an achievable goal now. It will keep you focused later in the year when something might distract your hobby endeavors.

7. Expand: Try something new.

Have you been driving the same vehicle for the last twenty years? Spread your wings, baby…look at something new!

Nothing invigorates the collecting juices like settling in on a new area of interest. Have you always dreamed of a military motorcycle? Well you aren’t getting any younger — take the plunge! You know how excited you feel when you are learning about a new vehicle. That excitement is what keeps us engaged in the hobby, talking with others, sharing ideas, and exploring for parts to discover. My dad always said that passion is what “Keeps you young!”

8. Join other collectors.

Subscribe to a hobby publication (like Military Vehicles Magazine—I know, that was a shameless plug) or join a local HMV club or the national MVPA. For the price of subscription or joining, you can open your collecting world to a whole new group of enthusiasts this year. But it starts with joining.

9. Go to a new show.

Plan a vacation or a trip around attending a show you have never attended before. One of the biggest thrills I have each year is when I walk into a show and realize I haven’t seen all the vehicles before!

10. Share your Enthusiasm.

Make a point of introducing your hobby to at least one new person. Display your vehicle at a local event or national convention. Give a talk to a group of school kids or your Veteran’s organization. The point is, share what it is that excites you about collecting and history—it is infectious.


Once you have a goal, make a plan. It might even help if you write it down.

Then, put the plan into action. It’s time to make things happen. Decide on a resolution or two and initiate!

After a few weeks, review what’s working with your resolution. Make adjustments and continue on your path. You will feel a great sense of personal satisfaction and pride in being a protector of the historic vehicles and relics you treasure.

Preserve the Memories,

John Adams-Graf

Editor, Military Vehicles Magazine and Military Trader

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