In the heyday of the automobile, marketing cars was an exacting process. Selling the public one of their major life purchases involved not only traditional advertising but also a crucial item that extolled the virtue of the cars: the brochure. Often oversize and sumptuously produced, including acetate overlays with fabric and paint swatches, brochures were only available at dealer showrooms or auto fairs—hence specimens of antique and vintage car brochures are rare collector’s items today.
Frequently overlooked in design and automotive histories, this ephemera offers a lucid mirror image of tastes, consumerism, and buying habits since the dawn of the automobile. Automobile Design Graphics presents for the first time a comprehensive overview of this mostly forgotten breed of collateral advertising. From the most obscure (Tucker, Ajax, Columbia) to the most iconic (General Motors, Ford, Chrysler), the visual history brings together over 500 reproductions from these rare and collectible customer brochures. Across eight decades, they present not only some of the finest cars, but also some of the best illustration and graphic design of the 20th century.
Ancillary examples of automotive literature, including the elaborate dealer manuals are also featured, alongside essays by automobile and cultural historian Jim Donnelly and preeminent design historian Steven Heller. Testament to a bygone era when cars were, quite simply, the stuff dreams were made of, this book is a visual and informative pleasure for car enthusiasts, designers, and pop culture aficionados alike.