Adventures of World of Speed Archives Intern Amanda Stowell

One the most fascinating experiences for an archivist is the discovery of a unique, obscure, or rare object. At World of Speed, with the intake of many especially varied donations, locally and nationally, the Archive has the opportunity to experience such instances any time we meet a potential donor or open a donor shipment. At times the object is so unique that the donor does not know its origin, when it was created, or even what it is. An archivist must resort to subject experts and at the World of Speed this can often come in the form of our tremendously knowledgeable volunteers. Additionally, online research through word, phrase, and image searches frequently yield just enough information to fine-tune the search and can subsequently lead to a positive identification. 

Recently, we received the donation of an Auto Meter Competition Tach Model #339-8 complete and in its original box. The donor had received it as part of a trade and had made multiple attempts to determine the age of the tachometer through online searches for the model number or image. This was made even more difficult by the fact that the model number was three digits and Auto Meter began using four-digit model numbers in the 80s. He finally resorted to contacting Auto Meter directly to which they determined that it was early 70s technology and was cutting edge drag racing tech for the period. The most excellent end to this story is that, as part of World of Speed’s Archival Collection and subsequently cataloged and uploaded into the online catalog, this Auto Meter Competition Tach Model #339-8 is now searchable on the internet with a corresponding image!

Unfortunately, even with our vast pool of personal knowledge and the seemingly endless information of the internet, we can still fail to properly or specifically identify all objects in the collection. This can lead to a mostly generic entry into our archive’s catalog. You can help! By visiting our online catalog you can apply your own unique knowledge and experiences to help us solve some of these mysteries. Taking a look through our quickly growing catalog will reveal a diverse collection of motorsports related memorabilia, publications, photographs, vehicle parts and tools, and so much more. If you recognize incorrect or incomplete information or want to share your relevant knowledge you can leave us a comment or send us an email – even if you just have a story to tell! We would love to hear from you!