automotive art and book illustrations
As a graphic designer involved in the
public relations and printing business, I have re-kindled
my childhood interest in automotive literature and books.
This love of auto promotion started when I was a boy
growing up on a farm in Iowa. We made our vehicles last
as long as possible, but when my family did trade cars
I was always fascinated by the brochures and showroom
sample books showing exterior and interior trim, as
well as the engineering features. I built plastic model
cars and ran slot cars like most boys in the 1960s and
admired the promotional models at the dealers.
variety of sales literature, anniversary
booklets the Mercedes-Benz literature
and some of the better books on various
marques and auto manufacturing history.
My family mainly bought General Motors
vehicles for passenger and farm truck needs. My first
car was a 1962 (and I always said "1962 1/2")
Chevy Corvair Monza Turbo Coupe. It was an early production
model built in April, I believe, with the 180 h.p. turbocharger.
"Popular Science" (or "Mechanics"?) ran a story by late
1962 that showed the 1963 Monza, along with the other
"hot" compacts...Lark Daytona, Falcon Futura,
Pontiac Tempest, Olds Cutlass, Chevy Nova, and Buick
Skylark that had V-8s, turbos, sporty features, etc.
car and racing related periodicals, books,
programs, VHS tapes, novelties, etc.
My dad and his dad liked the 1959 Studebaker
Larks when the compact era started and my folks bought
a coral colored station wagon. In high school my friend's
sister dated a local young guy who owned both a 1963
Avanti and a 1959 Hawk. That gold Avanti was the car
I wanted to own when I got the money. Alas, I haven't
had one yet but $300 bought that 7-year old Monza with
18,000 miles and it was red and fun to drive.
diecasts, dragster & Mustang I built,
Grand Prix LP record, GTO 45 record, photo
from 1967 drag race near Omaha.
The family would go to Omaha for our
occasional doctor appointments and it was in the city
that I picked up some nice literature from the Mercedes-Benz
/ Volvo / Saab / Avanti II dealership of Morton Motors.
I cherish the Mercedes-Benz literature because they
gave me a glossy 50-page booklet on the German company
and its heritage. Also I was given model brochures on
all but the Avanti II. All these I have carted around
all these years and they are tucked away to pass on
to my grandsons (who are into cars and monster trucks!).
photographs and specifications.
In the early 1980s I made it my relaxation
hobby to collect plastic and die-cast replicas of production
cars, especially sports cars and sports racing cars.
In 1963 was introduced to F1 Grand Prix racing thanks
to "Wide World of Sports", "Road &
Track", "Car & Driver", and my favorite,
"Sports Car Graphic" (no longer published).
Along with the little cars, I again added to my collection
of brochures, specialty items ("Sounds of the GTO"
test track recording, 1962 Watkins Glen Grand Prix LP,
photographs and specifications.
I have attended nearly all of the Kansas
City Auto Shows since 1983 and have always enjoyed the
literature from there. There have been some favorite
concept car postcards and posters that I am glad I have
now. In high school I had considered going to college
to study auto styling and so concept cars are fascinating
to me. Having attended the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix, 1994
"Eyes on the Classics" Concours at Grosse Pointe, the
Corvette factory, and corresponding with auto art galleries,
there have been some really special items to include
with the general material.
In the late 1980s my wife and I owned a 1974 1/2 MGB
GT and a 1979 MGB Roadster. Getting involved in the
Kansas City sports car club scene gave me an opportunity
to purchase a bookstore closeout of many beautiful hardback
books on sports cars, antique models, racing annuals,
and technical books. These I especially take care of
since they are all in new condition.
Other literature includes advertisements from my Mom's
old "Life" magazine stack, Grandpa's "Popular
Science", and newer glossy advertisements from
"National Geographic" and other magazines
to which we subscribed.
wife and me in the restored Cartercar at
the time of its unveiling in 1994.
In the late 1980s my hometown in Iowa
was bequeathed several old autos, trucks, tractors,
and farm implements from the estate of a local farmer,
whom my Grandpa said told him, "I've gone to sales
and auctions since I was a boy, and I never throw away
anything". This gift produced a 1911 Cartercar.
The Cartercar was built in Flint, Michigan. It had a
unique driveline the transmission was large pads
that made contact, thus eliminating steel gears. Sloan
bought the company when forming General Motors. The
car has been restored by local interests and runs every
year in the Septemberfest parade. It is now at the Kline
Museum in Prescott, Iowa. When doing research on it
for my town's museum I found out through the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway Musesum that they only knew of 25 existing
Cartercars. So, I have come into contact with some printed
examples of that company. It helped as reference for
the Kline Farm Museum's logo I designed.
My most prized item is a 1903 Haynes-Apperson sales
brochure that is the size of a small notebook of about
20 pages. It shows the models, lists features and performance.
Also, it makes note of the winning of races and endurance
feats of their company's cars. My Grandpa handed it
to me late in his life, at the time of the Cartercar
restoration. I asked if I might have it and thankfully
he said I could. He told me about his riding in that
Cartercar in the mid-1920s. I have no idea where he
got the Haynes-Apperson booklet, but it is in fine shape
and is safely kept for posterity.
is the Studebaker Lark mentioned in this
article. It illustrates how our cars furnished
us transportation on rural Iowa roads. I
was about ten years old in this winter snapshot.
After a severe blizzard the county snowplow
went the 1/4 mile to our farm from the "main
road". (Before it got plowed, I walked
the tops of the snow drifts on that road
to meet the schoolbus!) The shorter phone
poles stuck out of the drifts by only 3-feet.
The last mention of anything with old
autos is that a local hardware store here in Liberty
back in the late 1980s was auctioned off. The owner
had passed on, but back in the 1910s-20s era had been
a Ford Model T dealer. What was auctioned off was a
Model T partially assembled, shipped in a wooden crate
to the hardware store. If I recall correctly, it was
said that Henry Ford in the early days of Ford Motor
Co. would sometimes deliver his cars this way to promote
and assist his "dealers" on how to sell and
assemble these cars. Unfortunately, I was on vacation
and missed seeing this unique item at the auction. I
also have no idea what literature may have been boxed
up with it.
In conclusion, I still plan to seek out interesting
literature, books, automobilia, and miniatures to help
tell the history of the automobile to pass on to my
grandchildren. So much of the change I have been able
to witness in my lifetime and transportation is being
revolutionized here presently with new power plants
and fuels. But it is the beauty of those sculptured
metal beasts that is my passion.