The first known book in this field dates from 1958. It cannot or rather should not be considered a product of the needs of the founded retro car society, because no such society existed, but should be reviewed as a separate scientific and historical work, based on the practice and view of its author instead:

“A Car through the Centuries” by Yordan Markov

A look back to the creation and development of the automobile. The book tells about people’s efforts to create self-propelled cars, contemporary fast cars and future all-terrain vehicles. 

“Narodna Mladezh” Publishing House, 1958, illustrated, soft cover, size 200x145.

No other books with subject and contents similar to retro cars were published in the 60’s and 70’s until 1976:

“The Veteran Grandfathers of the Automobile” was published in 1976 and its authors are Petar Manev and Yordan Markov. Similar to the publication of 1958, this book is not directly linked to the need of a specific group of people, but rather its publication is provoked by the Parade and Rally of Veteran Automobiles, which took place in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970 and 1974.

The next book is published after almost a 20-year gap and it sets the beginning of a series of such editions:

"The Automobile in Bulgaria” - the book is from 2001, authored by Ivan Kolev, and it is actually the first contemporary book for cars in Bulgaria from historical point of view. Its publication is indeed provoked by the formation of a retro community in Bulgaria. It has a clear target of readers and interest groups. Extremely pleasant as presentation and in essence.

“History of the Automobile in the Kingdom of Bulgaria 1896-1946” - this book is from 2010, authored again by Ivan Kolev. In it, he makes a wide review of the automobile's development - from the appearance of the first car in Bulgaria to 1946. It covers almost all pieces of the puzzle in this part of the Bulgarian history - automobile associations, car races, renown drivers - ladies as well as gentlemen - driving courses and of course the market for new cars.

“The Automobiles of Botevgrad - 100 Years of History” from 2014 is a unique book in A4 format with 242 glossy pages and a sewn hard cover. It contains many authentic pictures from the factory archive, plans and over 200 original drawings by the author Ivan Kolev. It is published in 300 copies. The contents are divided into several sections, describing the early years of the coach building in Botevgrad, the construction, development and final years of the “Chavdar” factory. There is a 120-page list with technical specifications and graphical description of all models, modifications and prototypes. This full research on the history of bus construction in Botevgrad is the first of its kind.

“Skoda - History in Images - Part I Laurin & Klement”, authored by Stefan Ivanov, published in October 2019 with 168 pages in 33x23 cm format. The story follows the period from the foundation of Laurin & Klement until the termination of the company (1895-1929). It describes in detail the story of the founders, most renowned mechanics, drivers, contests, innovations, records and much more. The author drew the cars and the process took more than 13 years. Each model is illustrated and has a description of the technical specifications. The publishing of this part is accompanied with the announcement of the preparation of part II.

 “10 years Retro Auto-Moto Club Bourgas” is printed on 288 luxurious chrome pages in 275x184 format with sewn varnished hard cover. Its author is Nikolay Koruderliev. It is in the form of 770 pictures, most of which unpublished - the result of over 230 hours of shooting. Its preparation took more than 18 months, during which over 29 000 photos were reviewed to select those for publication. There are 18 unique drawings and 63 reproductions of covers, posters and documents. This book starts a new era in the club life with its essence and character.

“25 Years Retro Automobile Club Stara Zagora 1994-2019” - following the example of the book for Bourgas, at the suggestion of the lawyer Gancho Baev, the preparation of this book started in January 2019. The work on it took seven months with the cooperation of many colleagues in terms of pictures and facts. There were dozens of talks with witnesses of the events described in the book. Of course, due to this short term and not least to the lack of interest and desire for support by many “colleagues”, this book does not cover a large part of the club history. With its 280x140 mm format and 96 pages, it ranks second among similar projects in Bulgaria. The book was published in September 2019 in 300 copies. Its author is Nikolay Koruderliev. The book is distributed free and given as one of the three prizes in the 16th Retro Parade Stara Zagora 2019.

All books (except the two club ones) in the retro field are of historical and documentary nature. They contain facts, events and documents, which in most cases, at the time of their occurrence, belonged to another thematic group, namely the automotive industry. The creation of a book is a long process, which can be compared to the construction of a house. First, there must be a need for such book. This need occurs after a reader group in this field matures and forms. The latter on its part forms the thematic directions of the book's contents. The contents may be determined by the presence of historical facts for their construction. The research work required to write one such piece is in many cases equal to that necessary for writing a habilitation paper or a doctoral thesis.

Working with the media, whether traditional or digital, has always been a part of the organization and of conducting retro car events in Bulgaria. From the press releases to the live news feeds, all that is part of the social awareness and interest. Many partnering media (mostly for news and current affairs) have always been interested in personally communicating with participants and collectors.

The appearance of one, two, three magazines in the same field was a natural process for the printed media until the beginning of the 21st century. This process was determined by the niche markets, the size of the advertising market, as well as by the natural processes of the competition. The emergence of retro car press in Bulgaria right at the end of that period shapes it as non-complying with the above rules and processes. The attempts to create new periodicals in that field are mainly determined by the attempts to present various points of view and different journalistic practices. The small target group and the specifics of the contents most often define the complexity of starting and preserving such type of media, which ranks them next to the niche scientific journals in terms of penetration. In view of that and given the cost for writing and publishing, this type of product takes a lot of time and financing. The complexity of these factors also defines the controversial history of this direction of our hobby. From point of view of history, however, today we may safely say that the retro car movement in Bulgaria in the 21st century was a solid publisher of more than one monthly issue, which ranked it among the first in Europe.

It would be fair to mention the many regional and national newspapers as well or the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency, which made space for boxes and articles for retro car events. Nevertheless, their essence remains in the informative journalism and their contents cite almost word by word the press releases of the respective promoters or their interviews.

For many years, the Bulgarian TV market had no specialized show for historical vehicles. A few attempts were made to start such a project in various televisions, but unfortunately unsuccessful. GTV were the first to introduce such foreign shows in 2005. This changed in 2010 thanks to the air of Bulsatcom, where the first Bulgarian original show for retro cars started.

The video production (as foundation of film and television production) of any kind of short and long forms was born back in 1999. After 2015, with the explosive development of smart devices as well as with the emergence of more affordable extreme cameras and the appearance of all digital platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, a large retro car themed content began to emerge.

The first WEB solutions for retro cars inevitably appeared with the distribution of Internet in Bulgaria in the second half of the 90's. At the beginning of the period, between 1999 and 2002, there were several pages in the Bulgarian web space regarding historical vehicles in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, most of them disappeared with the disbanding of Internet providers and free hosting platforms, but they definitely played a role and left a footprint on this historical trend. At present from those first ones only classiccars.zonebg.com still exists.

The main reason for the large variety of brands, models, ages and manufacturing countries in the garages of the historical vehicles connoisseurs are their restoration workshops and skills. Dozens of cars were brought back to life exactly because of them. The precise work, high quality of materials used, original parts and accessories, and last, but not least, the attention towards the details contribute for the many national and international prizes won by these cars. The hundreds of working hours, the knowledge and skills of the restoration team, the financial scope and sleepless nights turn this activity in a sort of patronage for the engineering mind and art.

Many retro lovers have their dream car. In most cases, it is a luxurious car, often a sport coupé, but also one that brings about memories for times past - not everyone cares only for the high speed, large horsepower and latest fashion trend. Often you can spot a car on the road, which is of respectable age, but looks better than its contemporaries, especially in the active season in the months from April to October. Some of the owners of such cars are retro enthusiasts; others have decided to restore their old car for sentimental reasons. Absolutely all brands and models of vehicles are subject to restoration. Except Western, Japanese or American cars, many retro lovers focus on socialist classics, such as Lada, Moskvitch, Zhiguli, GAZ, Skoda or Trabant.

Before you decide to start restoring, you must be sure that it will surpass your initial budget and will approximate the value of such already restored automobile on the market. Depending on the state of the vehicle, the activities and purchases may amount from several thousands to several tens of thousands BGN, depending on the specific car, its condition, level of restoration and availability of parts on the market.

First, after you have chosen a car to restore, you must make a rough estimate of its condition, bodywork, driving assembly and missing parts. An incomplete set in many cases may cost you as much as you give for the work on the car. One of your first tasks must be to get to know the car as much as possible. Search information for the specifics of that particular model in specialized forums, technical books or directly from people who own the same car.

Figure out which of the activities you will do yourselves and for which you will seek the services of workshops, engineers and friends. If you find this impossible in terms of work and organization, you may delegate your project to specialized workshops for full restoration.

In most cases, the car restoration includes its full disassembly. It must be very slow and careful and the removed parts must be stored and arranged in a suitable closed and dry place. It would be good if these premises are your own and not rented. We recommend that you also keep a diary and film each and every step of the process. This is not only for keepsake, but because afterwards you will have to assemble everything back. Only when the car remains only a naked frame the actual restoration work begins. Depending on the need, it may include processes such as: cleaning the chassis with sandblasting, repairing the tin plates of the bodywork and replacing those that need to be changed, hammering out, welding, sanding, putting on primers and protective layers and painting the tin plates, refurbishing, repairing the engine, gears and other driving assemblies, replacing rubber items, maintenance of the cooling, fueling and braking systems, assembling the coupe. If possible and available, buy new old stock (NOS) parts, and if there are not any, find second hand and aftermarket solutions. Do not compromise on the materials, choose those of renowned international brands of medium and high class or recommended by FIVA.

The whole process may take from months to years, depending of your chosen path for its implementation.

The conservation consists of two completely different parts - preserving the material (security / protection) and the authenticity. The first is the attitude towards the material item, and the second - towards the historical. The first tries to preserve the material intactness and the second - the spirit of the car and age. The conservation of historical vehicles is one of the most pressing issues before the owners of such cars. First, because they are not for daily use; second, because their impeccable appearance and originality define their participation in various events; and last, but not least, because of the difficulty to obtain spare, interior and exterior parts.

We look at the conservation as an attitude: not only to provide shelter, but, if needed, to replace one part not with the cheapest possible, but with the most authentic. The use of parts and elements, not corresponding to the originals with the respective specifications of that age, leads to defacing the aesthetics of the time. The communication, exchange of information regarding the accessibility of original spare parts (even if aftermarket) is the core for preserving the authenticity.

The difference between the two is just one step! From having something aesthetic and useful for the community to overstocking things you think will be useful or will make you insanely rich. Sigmund Freud first reviewed the hoarding, but he does not see collecting as arising from the same motives as hoarding. Everywhere around the world, not only in Bulgaria, one can see places, such as yards, hangars or just fields, filled with dozens and sometimes hundreds of cars. The latter in unsightly state, without any effort for the purely material preservation, and one day they turn into scrap. The bad thing is that many of these people are also scrooges and their pathology has been studied for centuries - they neither give, nor sell, nor make, nor invest. In other words, the important for them is to acquire a certain car and not invest a penny more afterwards!

It is not necessary to have 100 cars in order to call yourself a connoisseur or collector. What is important is to have the attitude and view towards the historical vehicles. Those do not come with the money, but with the education and environment.

The museum as a form of contemporary communication appears in Europe during the Renaissance. And so, for almost 350 years, these material collections, institutionalized or purely private, have an educational or purely informative impact on the formation of the society. Following the natural course of things, in the 70’s of the last century, the first car museums open their doors. Today, their number in one form or another is over 200 worldwide.

We can proudly state that we have visited over 50 in Europe. Their imprint unequivocally influences the formation of the worldview of each retro car fan. As an inspiration or as a standard, in one way or another they contribute to the events for historical vehicles that follow their opening. Currently there are seven such expositions in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, the lack of a true national automotive or transport museum is a loss not only for those that carry the retro car idea, but also for the whole society. The dozens of attempts of private and public entities, as well as of civic associations to found such a museum have yielded no result.

Fortunately, the promoters of this idea become more and more, which increases the hope that this dream may become a reality in Bulgaria.

International activities are an inseparable part of the modern globalized world. Every person and organization in the retro car field in Bulgaria must have the information and the vision how things happen in the countries with traditions and culture longer than ours. Clubs and communities with long-term experience best implement the contemporary trends and ideas for organizing events and promoting historical vehicles.

Our first contacts, which we initiated, began in 2011 with Nebojsa Djordjevic and the annual summit of the Car Historians Association in Serbia, the Klasik OTO Show in Bursa, Turkey and the Tour d’Europe 1 in Germany.

Today, from the point of view of nine years of personal experience abroad, we state our wish to develop this direction in order to exchange experience and promote.

The promotion as an instrument for our hobby in Bulgaria is much less prominent. The promotion of specific cars, events, persons in general is visible only in the two specialized magazines, issued until recently in Bulgaria. Attempts for such activity are seen sporadically in forums and Facebook pages. The lack of a Bulgarian digital promotional platform is a definite minus for the whole guild. Many of our colleagues regularly visit such platforms in Greece, Hungary, and Italy. This type of communication is the business card of the specific promoted subject.

The development of this direction is an inseparable part of the historical documenting of the retro car movement in Bulgaria.

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