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Make sure of accurate info in 1:1 historical references

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  • Member since
    January, 2011
Make sure of accurate info in 1:1 historical references
Posted by Wick Humble on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 9:28 PM

As an auto historian of some tenure, I'd like to ask feature writers to ake sure of accurate info in 1:1 historical references -- really positive -- before committing them to print.  Teddy Roosevelt said that the presidency was a 'bully pulpit' to preach from, and an article with historical 'facts' might be seen the same way; at least when some factoid is commited to print it tends to assume authority and may be cited or quoted to substantiate some point, right?  I've seen some wonderfully researched and accurate data in SAE (and other model mags) and also some real gems of misinformation and hooey.

SAE writers, if the magazine deigns to set up as a historical resource, you must not propagate inaccurate or speculative statements as fact; 'urban legends', 'conventional wisdon (sic), or just hip-shootin' with information isn't so.  No one expects an article in a journal concerned with toys -- which is what our scale models are, really-- to cite sources, list references, and so forth, but do run your historical factiods by someone who has the unimpeachable knowledge, at the very least.  We owe it to our younger modelers not to feed them convivial hooey, don't we?

I hope no one sees this as a rant; however, when things are written in ink and distrubuted to hundreds of thousands of readers, statements had better be iron-clad confirmable.  And yes, I've seen some really bad faux pas, mis-statements, and just plain silly information in even such authorities as AUTOMOBILE QUARTERLY, which is just sad.

Thx!  Wick Humble   [Modeling since early 'fifties]

Oh yes; I'm guilty also, and I apologize!!

Moderator
  • Member since
    November, 2003
Posted by jhaught on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 10:52 AM

Wick,

We always strive for accuracy; and "unimpeachable knowledge" can be in the eye of the beholder. You also cite no specific examples of editorial malfeasance here.

However, your note has a number of spelling, grammatical, and style errors that are just as egregious as the factual errors you're talking about – not least among them is that the title of the magazine is not Scale Auto Enthusiast, and has not been for the last 15 years or so.

(And, to the detractors out there: I have heard and read all that stuff about "SA no E," so don't go there. It isn't true, and never has been.)

Bottom line: Let's not cast too many stones here.

Jim Haught

  • Member since
    October, 2015
Posted by Tim Boyd on Saturday, September 17, 2016 10:39 PM

Wick....I can speak for myself, and I presume other SA authors, when I say that anything I put in writing in the magazine is extensively researched.  

Sometimes 1/1 scale information from multiple sources is not entirely consistent from reference to reference; in those cases I use the info that appears in the preponderance of my library sources.  I've also noticed that information that is listed as certainties in referencles dated 10 or 20 years ago often gets updated, and sometimes outright contradicted as additional historical sources are located.    

 Here's a photo of only some of the many resources I used in preparing the Scale Auto Muscle V8's stories on Big Block and Small Block Chevies. 

Best Regards.....TIM BOYD 

  • Member since
    January, 2009
Posted by DAYTONA on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 10:09 AM

...as a long time auto enthusiast I fully understand the facts being different or even changing from source to source...I have owned numerous Muscle Cars over the last 50 plus years and have had many of them published in magazines and books and the info is usually supplied by the owner of the vehicle, right or wrong, and then interpreted by the photographer/writer...I have seen articles on my own cars riddled with factual errors, even after proof reading the articles myself...as stated, you must go with the best info available and what was correct on a particular vehicle might not be correct on the same vehicle built at a different assembly plant or even the same plant during a production run... bottom line, it's a hobby, enjoy it as such

  • Member since
    October, 2014
  • From: Payette, ID
Posted by dsldriver9900 on Thursday, October 20, 2016 11:49 AM

Be careful when using the internet for reference. I recall an instance where someone was building a replica of the F&F '70 Dodge Charger. The research they had done indicated that the distibutor was supposed to be at the rear of the engine, but missed the fact that some of the movie cars actually had Chevy engines.

  • Member since
    January, 2011
Posted by Wick Humble on Sunday, November 19, 2017 8:39 PM

Jim,

I hope I didn't touch a nerve; I like your magazine very much -- and nothing is ever perfect, as my life can prove!  I will say that when writing for SPECIAL INTEREST AUTOS, OLD CARS WEEKLY, LATE GREAT CHEVY, Z CAR MAG. (Restoration Editor of this one, the 7 years it lasted), and most lately STREET RODDER, I have never had even one fact challenged successfully.  Thats how much care I use.

"Mistakes, I've made a few, but then too few to mention..." as the song goes, but I can relate a few from interviews on tape that my wanton mouth let slip; usually in print I do better.  I've interviewed (transcribe to text) Smokey Yunick, Mickey Thompson, Chuck Jordan (GM Design head), Harry Barr (VP of  Buick), Carl "Nomad" Renner, Bod Cadaret, Malcolm Bricklin, Semon 'Bunky' Knudsen, Bill Collins,  'California Bill' Fisher, Pete Brock, and a bunch of original sources whose names aren't well known.  

I revere print; once a mistake goes on paper, it achieves authority -- right?  Not like a Tweet or even a blog.  Even my typos/misspellings.  Style errors?  If I were writing for money, you wouldn't have that complaint, my friend.  I definitely can quote specific issues and pages for errors in your mag, but I am not looking for a brawl, just a paying subscriber asking for my money's worth.  Jim, you have to respect that.  It is factual misstatements that bug me, and believe me I read every word that my subscription brings me.

Yes, I am a retired teacher, but I didn't teach English; also I have  been modeling since about 1953...

Sincerely,

Wick Humble

PS/Can I submit some articles to you for consideration?

  • Member since
    January, 2011
Posted by Wick Humble on Sunday, November 19, 2017 8:45 PM

Tim,

I respect your modeling skills -- and your model and article output!  I can't compete there, and I don't want to.  I'm at the stage (age 72) that my fingertips have about as much 'feel' as my tweezer tips, alas.

I'd be glad to be a resource for you, on 1:1 authenticity, beyond compendium collectors books, or even dealer materials.  For many cars, I've been there!  I'd rather trust my experience to a mag article, even from a respected source.  Even prestigious AUTOMOBILE QUARTERLY has dropper a few bloomers, and I can prove it.  :-<)

Thanks for the reply.

Wick Humble

 

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