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Advertisements From the Glory Days of the Automobile

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Mini Cooper Sales brochure. (GP Library/UIG via Getty Images)
Mini Cooper Sales brochure. (GP Library/UIG via Getty Images)

 

Advertising any product before the advent of the internet was understandably much more difficult and required a lot more talent and patience. Products were marketed as major life purchases—”the only [blank] you’ll ever need.” One of the finest examples of this sentiment is the car brochure. Though it’s a nontraditional piece of advertisement, brochures were only found in showrooms or dealerships, and have since become a collector’s item.

Beyond their collectibility, vintage car brochures offer a peak into old-school tastes, consumerism, and buying habits. An upcoming book, featuring over 500 reproductions of rare and collectible car brochures, offers a comprehensive overview of this mostly forgotten breed of collateral advertising. Covering eight decades, the book presents ads for a range of cars, featuring top 20th-century illustration and graphic design work. A testament to a bygone era when cars were the stuff dreams were made of, the brochures are compiled alongside ancillary auto literature and essays from historians. Automobile Design Graphics goes on sale in September 2016, but you can get a preview of it below. If you like what you see, pre-order it here.

Studebaker, 1916 (Courtesy of the Jim Heimann Collection/Taschen)
Studebaker, 1916 (Courtesy of the Jim Heimann Collection/Taschen)
Mercury, 1964 (Courtesy of the Jim Heimann Collection/Taschen)
Mercury, 1964 (Courtesy of the Jim Heimann Collection/Taschen)
Volkswagen, 1957 (Courtesy of Jim Cherry)
Volkswagen, 1957 (Courtesy of Jim Cherry)
Cover of Automobile Design Graphics (Taschen)
Cover of Automobile Design Graphics (Taschen)