Auto Antiques in the press
Sun & Record
correspondent John Addyman visited the Palmyra store in late 2018
which resulted in the following feature which
appeared in the January 31, 2019
issue of the Sun & Record
American Car-loving gearhead? This is your store full of treasures
By John Addyman
PALMYRA, NY, January 17, 2019
- It’s a gearhead’s trip to Nirvana.
Stop at the
intersection of Rts. 21 and 31, glance south, and you see flashing red
and green lights in a shop up a small incline. That’s Auto Antiques.
Theobald, sells memories in large and small doses. He has thousands and
thousands of car models. And so much more.
Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars are on display and in bins. "Customers are
welcome to come in and spend a couple of hours looking through them,"
The majority of
the cars are larger diecast modelš in various scales 1/24, 1/8, 1/43,
1/64 and others.
Walk in the door
turn left, and go all the way to the wall. There, stacked to the
ceiling are diecast cars beginning with ‘A’ — Audi, Alfa Romeo and AMC.
Come in the door
and go all the way to right, and you’re looking floor to ceiling at
Zimmers and Willys cars.
Higher up around
the store are specialty models — famous drag racing cars and NASCAR
racers and military vehicles and police cruisers and ambulances. Some
of them cost over $150, but most of the cars in the store are from $20
beautiful, because the store’s owner is fussy. Very fussy. We should
all have garages as neat and orderly and organized as the Auto Antiques
interesting car, and Mark Theobald, who owns the store, will take you
to models of it.
“Adults in this
area are totally averse to anything foreign,” Theobald said, “even
though they may be driving a Kia. In their collections, they’re
American 100 percent all the way, and primarily they want muscle cars,
TV and movie
cars are also good sellers — he can’t keep models of the A-Team van in
stock. . . . .If you re looking for a Maserati or Lamborghini, or MG or
Triumph or 240Zmodel.... he has plenty of those.
got involved with cars when he was 4 years old and managed to drive his
dad’s car down the driveway and across the street without
hurting anything or anyone.
musician and bookish historian of coachbuilders and cars, he’s written
an encyclopedia about coach builders who made some of the most
beautiful cars every produced.
He’s been a car
wholesaler. He’s worked on cars. He played in the Syracuse University
jazz ensemble. And a few years after marrying a psychiatrist, Sarah,
whom he met while working at Strong Memorial Hospital, he opened a
store in his father-in-law’s barn in Wells, VT.
That store sold
only automobile books but had a humming market.
Today, in Auto Antiques
in Palmyra, he has 5,000 car books; 80 Ferrari books, 70 Mercedes
books, 60 Porsche books, 60 Rolls-Royce books, books on Corvettes,
Mustangs, Camaros, Mopar, Ford... you name it, he’s got it.
And most are
In Vermont, Sarah had stopped working, to take care of her
mom. After five years, Sarah needed more, and took a job with the state
of New York, and the Theobalds moved to Holland Patent, NY, near Utica. The second
store, a converted 1875 country store, sold books and cars, with a huge
Coming back to the area last year (he was raised in
Greece), Theobald looked at 10 properties east of Rochester and found
Palmyra. The intersecting highways and traffic light were perfect,
although he’d like a much bigger store.
sells cars and books, yes. But also magazines — many complete sets from
the first edition to the last, like Sports Car Graphic. He’ll sell you
two vintage Hot Rod issues for $6. Not too many years ago, they were
automobiliana signs. Oil signs. Gas signs. Car brand signs. Oil filter
signs. Some start at $12. He sells the
literature you used to find in car dealerships. He has press kits.
Advertisements. Brochures. Photographs. DVDs. Posters. Model kits. And
everything is neatly arranged and alphabetized. It’s easy to
come in for one thing and leave with several.
And then there’s
Mark, who is conversant with just about anything automotive. Start
talking to him for a couple of minutes and asking questions, and pretty
soon an hour has flown by.
If baseball fans
have a hot stove to gather around, gearheads have Auto Antiques. It is
a unique place, a rewarding experience.
& Record Wayne
Apex Auto Magazine staff writer
Brian Coupe and photojournalist Jordan Polizzi visited the Holland
Patent, NY store in late 2015 which resulted in the following feature which
appeared in the January 2016 issue of Apex:
Car Enthusiast Shop // Collectibles & Books
Nestled in the Village area of
Holland Patent stands a quaint, two story building for the Adirondack
Motorbooks & Collectibles. We had an opportunity to meet with the
owner, Mark Theobald, who is an incredibly knowledgeable individual
when it comes to all things automobile. Entering
the store brings about the feeling of stepping into the pristine wood
interior of a magazine quality camp many of us would enjoy spending
time in during weekends. The entire location is alphabetized and
organized in an almost too good to be true manner. Looking to the far
right corner of the front section we see numerous 1/18 scale diecast
models near the ceiling and it continues around and behind our heads at
the front entrance. With a glance to our left, we see the wrap around
and continuance to the back of the store. The floor level shows us rows
of documents, classic magazines, article blurbs, and brochures. All in
like new quality. I quickly pulled a random magazine from 50+ years ago
and it looked like it had never been opened. Something like that is
both exciting and heartwarming to see how well kept everything is in
the store. Mark certainly takes great pride in finding quality pieces
for automobile enthusiasts to come check out in person or decide to
take home and add to a personal collection.
on inward through the store brings about factory vehicle literature and
enough hard cover books of all shapes and sizes to embarrass any chain
bookstore automotive section. The 1/18 scale diecast models are still
at ceiling height, but we are now also greeted with Matchbox sized
vehicles neatly placed on pegs at eye to floor level. The room furthest
away from the front entrance is filled to the brim with additional
models all still in their retail boxes, each lovingly placed on the
shelf to prevent box damage. At this point in time we had already been
at the store for over an hour, only seen 50% of it, and moved about 30
feet from the entrance. Tracing our path
back towards the front of
the store we can choose yet another path which leads to even more
diecast vehicles and Matchbox cars of various, but alphabetized, makes
and models. The outside of the store is certainly deceiving in regards
to the amount of items able to be stored within. DVDs…and I think I saw
some VHS tapes, are also available. This store is just another example
of “I can’t believe this place is right here in Central New York”.
addition to being the owner of the Adirondack Motorbooks &
Collectibles website, www.motorlibrary.com, Mark is also the curator of www.coachbuilt.com. This website is an incredible resource and
glimpses into the world of custom, coach built vehicles from
yesteryear. It’s difficult to put into words the amount of work
completed here by Mark to compile and post this amount of information.
All we have to do as viewers is simply locate and click on any of the
1,200+ represented builders. Please, after reading this article take a
little bit of time to check out either of these web pages and complete
a browse. There is an absurd amount of information here and will take
less time than a Google search on the same subject matter. We
here at Apex Automotive Magazine would like to thank
Adirondack Motorbooks & Collectibles for taking the time to meet
and show us around the store after hours. This article simply cannot
fully describe the experience. Be sure to head up and check it all out
for yourself. Perhaps indulge in a sweet diecast vehicle purchase to
remember the initial visit like I did. We look forward to future visits
because the store is in constant flux of what may now be available and
what may have been sold since the last visit. However, make sure you
set aside a couple of hours to do so because this store is certainly a
time vortex. What feels like a half hour visit will suddenly be
discovered as three hours passing. Have fun!
©2019 Brian Coupe,
Apex Auto Magazine
John Sturbin visited the Holland Patent, NY store during late summer of 2014 which resulted in the following feature which
appeared in Racin' Today:
Car Culture Lives On In Upstate, N.Y.
John Sturbin | Senior Writer,
HOLLAND PATENT, N.Y. September 17,
2014 – For many curious visitors, Mark Theobald’s hobby
shop is the last business they expect to find in this sleepy, Central
New York village.
“It’s a very common response,” said Theobald, owner and curator of
Adirondack Motorbooks & Collectibles. “There’s only a couple of
stores like this in the whole country that have an equal amount of
books, magazines and die-cast.”
Downtown Holland Patent is an equidistant 10 miles north of Utica and
east of Rome in the bucolic Mohawk Valley. Theobald’s store is located
at 9554 Main Street, two lanes of blacktop dotted with similar
mom-n-pop shops after one drives past a gazebo and a small cemetery.
“Thankfully, it’s (his store) on State Route 365, which is kind of the
western gateway to the Adirondack Mountains, so there’s a lot of
traffic between Memorial Day and Labor Day,” Theobald said on a late
summer afternoon. “Unfortunately, very little of it stops. It’s a great
place to live but I’d still rather be in Vermont.”
Theobald and his “SWAG” reluctantly relocated from their former home in
Wells, Vt., in the Green Mountains, after Mark’s wife, Sarah, accepted
a psychiatrist’s position with New York State.
“I didn’t want to move here because I had a great place to stay,” said
Theobald, a 56-year-old native of Rochester. “And she mentioned that
she would buy me a building to put my books and magazines in and then I
could have a proper store. Took her up on the offer. We picked a really
great location to live – not so great business-wise – in Holland
The Theobalds purchased the former Jweid’s Market – built in 1875 as
your basic, full-service country store – nd converted it into a
customer-friendly 2,500-square-foot, wood-paneled shop filled with all
“We bought the building in 2005 and I traveled back-and-forth (to
Vermont) for a couple of years,” Theobald said. “The building was a
total nightmare. It had to be gutted. I did
almost all the work myself and finally got it into shape after four
years. Got everything arranged and opened on Dec. 1, 2010.”
Here are the updated inventory stats:
– 6,500 die-cast replicas ranging in size from Hot Wheels to 1/43,
1/24th and 1/18th-scale NASCAR, NHRA IndyCar, Formula One, Sports Car,
Muscle Car, Sprint Car, TV/movie, farm, military, construction vehicles
and motorcycle replicas. “Most of what I have other than Hot Wheels is
in 1/18th scale…because that’s what sells here,” Theobald said.
– 75,000 back-dated magazines, most sealed in cellophane, as well as
rare/out-of-print advertisements, brochures, photos, posters and DVDs.
“That’s pretty accurate,” Theobald said. “I’ve counted them (the
magazines) a couple of times and the average is 70,000 to 75,000. And
if you look around the room and see all these stacks of cars, if you
pull the cars away there’s stacks of magazines behind them. There’s
wooden book boxes all around the place that have (periodicals).”
– 4,000 new and used hard-cover books. ”That’s dead-on,” Theobald said
of a library that includes hard-to-find biographies (Jim Clark) among
more typical individual marque histories (Corvette, Porsche, etc.)
“They’re strictly categorized and pretty well organized,” Theobald
said. “But the fact is that 90, 95 percent of the people that come into
the store never even look at the books. It just has to do with nobody
reads anymore. I’ve had people come in here and say, ‘What do you do
with these books? Is it a library? Do I need a library card?’ And they
were dead serious. And I said, ‘No, it’s a book store.’ They hadn’t
even been to a book store ever in their life.”
Indeed, watching the world drive by at 30 MPH from his front window
perch has given Theobald plenty of time to contemplate the state of the
collectible industry and its
“Your typical adult male who used to read magazines and books
recreationally – typically they read about cars, hunting and fishing,
military history or sports,” Theobald said. “Those guys now sit at home
and watch TV. And they’ll go on the computer for maybe half-an-hour a
day and think they’ll get all the news and information there is.
“My average customer, you would think it would be little kids. Little
kids are not interested in cars. Once they hit 5-years-old and get
their own iphone and ipad, cars are a done-deal to them, which is sad.
And they’re not the first generation who are not into cars. For the
most part, their parents are not into cars. People come in here all the
time (and remark), ‘Boy, my grandfather would really like this place.’
Or, ‘My father would…’ And these are guys that are 30-35-years-old.
“My average customer in the store is 60 to 65 years old; you wouldn’t
think that, but it’s true. I had children’s toys when I opened up and
they just did not sell. The diehard collectors now buy exclusively on
the internet. Here, you could literally spend hours just researching
stuff. Essentially it’s a research library that people have access to
and the stuff’s for sale.”
Theobald’s NASCAR offerings are highlighted by autographed, limited
die-cast editions of Ford stock cars driven by Fred Lorenzen and A.J.
Foyt Jr., clearly playing to that mid-60s age bracket.
“I still have a decent selection of 1/24th scale NASCARs and a lot of
sprint cars and NHRA stuff,” Theobald said. “But in the past two years
my NASCAR sales have almost become non-existent. When I opened up it
(NASCAR) was still pretty popular. I opened up right after the big
economic downturn of 2008-2009. And lo-and-behold there were some
NASCAR dealers going out of business. Didn’t occur to me at the
time…why are these guys going out of business?”
Adirondack Motorbooks & Collectibles is open year-round, seven days
a week, from noon to 6 p.m. “I probably close maybe six or seven days
all year long,” said Theobald, who began his collecting adventure with
a selection of Gibson guitars. “I’m not a morning person because I was
in the nightclub business for 20 years. I was a musician and also a
sound engineer. My day, I got up at noon and stayed up until 4 or 5
(a.m.) Those were my normal hours for 20 years and it really gets
ingrained in you.”
In reality, the fact that the store isn’t all that busy fits neatly
into Theobald’s alternative automotive interest. “Having all these
books and magazines gives me access to information, which started me
writing about coach-building,” Theobald said. “In my spare time, I’m a
coach-building historian. I have a website, coachbuilt.com, which I’ve
been working on for 15 years.
“I have 1,200 coach-builders listed on the site and I spend almost the
entire winter working on the coach-builders. I’m the only one that’s
documented America’s coach-builders – these are the firms that made
automobile and truck bodies, ambulances, hearses, etc.”
In 2010 the Antique Automobile Club of America awarded Theobald’s
website the Society of Automotive Historians’ E.P. Ingersoll Award,
honoring that year’s best
presentation of automotive history using media other than print. The
site and store also have been highlighted within the pages of leading
periodicals like “Hemmings Motor News” and “Old Cars.”
Theobald said he always has been interested in specialty automobiles.
“I loved ambulances and hearses when I was a little kid,” Theobald
said. “There was an ambulance/hearse dealer probably five miles from
the house. So whenever my grandparents took me to go somewhere I made
them drive by there.
“And I actually bought an ambulance when I turned 16. I had a paper
route from when I was 11, so I had money. Unbeknownst to my father, I
went and put a downpayment on a gorgeous, 1963 Pontiac ambulance that
was in beautiful shape. It was like $1,200 and I needed insurance cards
and stuff. I had the money to buy the rest. I went home and told my dad
and was all excited. He said, ‘Well, you can buy the ambulance. But
you’re going to have to go live in that somewhere else. The choice is
yours.’ I was 16 and as badly as I wanted it, the guy gave me my money
back and said, ‘This happens more often than you would think.’^”
Theobald studied broadcast journalism at Syracuse University for one
year before transferring to the State University of New York at
Brockport for another year. “I was a musician (jazz guitar) but also
was interested in the technical side, the engineering side,” said
Theobald, whose two-decade career in the music industry was built
around installing sound and lighting systems in large nightclubs.
“If you ever go to a big concert, the guy in the middle of the audience
with the sound board - that’s what I used to do,” Theobald said of his
stint as a sound engineer. “I got out of the sound business because I
started feeling too old. I was almost 40 and all the people I’m working
for were 20-years-old. Are they going to listen to an old guy? So I
sold the sound equipment and put that money into used cars.”
Working for an auto wholesaler gave Mark the opportunity to attend and
participate in auctions. “I did that as a part-time job for the next
10-12 years until I got married and my wife got an opportunity in the
Eastern part of New York,” Theobald said. “It turns out her parents
lived not very far away so that’s why I ended up in Vermont. It was my
father-in-law’s house but he wasn’t there much. I got out of the car
business when I moved there.”
Theobald said the only hobby store he knows of similar to his is
located in Burbank, Calif. “They do a drum-up business because people
think Jay Leno is going to come there,” Theobald said. “And he does go
there occasionally. They have a Cars ‘n Coffee-type crowd; there’s a
lot of wealthy car guys in Southern California.
“Upstate New York…this is probably one of the worst places you could
have a store like this. The local economy is horrible, and it gets
worse every year. Unfortunately, the store doesn’t make any money. It’s
currently breaking even and that doesn’t count paying me. So it runs at
my wife’s leisure, actually. She works and I keep the store and it
keeps me busy.
“I’m committed to doing this until I die, providing my wife is into it.
But if she decides tomorrow she wants to move to Hawaii, I’ll move to
– John Sturbin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Automobilia store bucks the big-box trend
Palmyra, N.Y., November 1, 2018 — Award-winning automotive historian
and writer Mark Theobald’s lifelong passion for cars has led him to
establish Auto Antiques, a source for all things automotive in Palmyra,
"Die-cast replicas, signs, sales brochures, books and magazines are
almost impossible to find these days," according to Theobald. "I fill
the gap that the closure of numerous big-box stores has left in their
A decade ago, Wal-Mart, Target and Toys 'R' Us had aisle upon aisle of
die-cast cars while Borders and Barnes & Noble featured multiple
bookcases full of automotive books and magazines. Today the stores that
remain have all but abandoned the auto enthusiast save for a couple
racks of picked-over Hot Wheels.
Although the big box stores’ automotive inventory vanished, car-lovers
didn't. Today's video games are bringing yet another generation to the
car hobby and their parents and grandparents continue to remain
interested in cars. Both young and old will find what they're looking
for at Auto Antiques - and if he doesn't have it - he'll find it for
Located on NY Route 31, the 2,000-sq.ft store stocks 4,000 new, used
and rare books, 50,000 back-date magazines, 200 signs, 10,000
automobile ads and brochures and well over 5,000 die-cast replicas in
all scales and price ranges. While the emphasis is on trucks and
automobiles, he also carries books and replicas of construction
equipment, military vehicles, farm machinery and motorcycles.
Included is a spacious coffee bar where people who enjoy and appreciate
automobiles can sit and enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee with fellow
auto aficionados. First-time visitors will also receive a FREE
automotive magazine valued at $3-$6.
The shop in Palmyra is not Theobald’s first. Before moving to the
Rochester area last fall, he operated a similar operation in Holland
Patent, NY - and before it another in Vermont’s Green Mountains.
During a career in the wholesale automobile business Theobald developed
an on-line encyclopedia detailing the history of America’s automotive
body builders, several of which were located in Western, NY. In 2010 at
the Antique Automobile Club of America’s Fall Meet in Hershey,
Pennsylvania, Theobald’s online encyclopedia was awarded the Society of
Automotive Historians’ E.P. Ingersoll Award, which honors the year’s
best presentation of automotive history using media other than print.
Both the website and his various automotive enterprises have been
highlighted within the pages of such leading periodicals as Hemmings
Motor News, Old Cars, Vintage Truck, Apex Magazine and many others.
"I established the Palmyra shop in order to provide local residents a
place where they can inspect prospective purchases in person, unlike my
competition who sell and display their merchandise exclusively through
the internet. I hope local auto enthusiasts take advantage of the
hands-on buying experience that Auto Antiques offers and trust they’ll
get the same enjoyment from the automotive hobby as I do," says
Starting December 1st, 2018, Auto Antiques will be open Friday,
Saturday & Sunday between 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm and Monday-Thursday
by chance or appointment. The store is located at 610 East Main Street
(NY Route 31 at NY Route 21), Palmyra, NY 14522 - directly across the
street from Breen's Market and Rite Aid.
Palmyra is a historic Erie Canal village located on NY Route 31 between
Syracuse and Rochester. The shop is situated 25 miles southeast of
downtown Rochester, 8 miles north of NYS Thruway exit #43 and 70 miles
west of Syracuse. The store is wheelchair accessible and off-street
parking for 20 cars is available directly in front of the building.
Press contact: Mark Theobald, 315-502-0188, or e-mail him at:
Theobald's previous store was featured on
an episode of Mohawk
Valley Living, a weekly television program broadcast on WKTV
Utica, New York's NBC affiliate. The video is also available for
viewing on YouTube
HERE TO WATCH!