Saturday, July 24, 2010

Original Dealer Brochures From the Seventies; It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

Maserati-powered Citroën SM: exotic in every way. When's the last time you saw one though? The European version came with headlights under glass, including one set which swiveled with the front wheels as you cornered to light your way, but US regulations demanded these less-than-svelte round fixed sealed beams. Lexus, among a few other high-end brands have recently reintroduced swiveling headlights for their cars, although today's are Xenons and are electronically controlled. All images clickable to enlarge, of course.

BMW's now-classic 1600/2002 series set the stage for Bimmer's world domination in recent years. Their recent 1-series of small cars is supposed to be evocative of the 2002 models, but I think they missed the mark a bit.

Jaguar has gone from being part of a large UK conglomerate, British Leyland, to being a division of the Ford Motor Company to being currently owned by Tata Motors of India, which also bought Land Rover from Ford a couple of years ago.

C O L L E C T I O N — When I was young, my dad always drove me around to the various car dealers in our area, and even brought me to Manhattan to see the imported cars' large dealerships. I collected dealer 'literature' or brochures, and I can honestly say that this period of marketing/advertising was the greatest influence in my later publication design career and of course, my inspiration for the way I present my car chops today.

Follow the jump for three more import car brochure covers from the '70s.

There was a Peugeot dealer in my small town of Guilford when I was growing up, in fact my first car, a used 1969 Mercury Comet was bought from that dealer, a friend of my Dad's. Sonny Lazaravich, the Pug dealer, was a pretty well-known sports car racer in the '50s, driving the also little-known Arnolt-Bristol to some of its victories. Peugeot's 504 model was prolific in Guilford, as was the 404 before it. I really loved these cars back in the day. I could get into owning one today. 

Another classic French Citroën, the DS. This phenomenally forward-thinking car was introduced in 1955, and really set the world's car aficionado's on their collective ears.  For more about this groundbreaking design, click here. Interestingly, these models were also referred to in France as the "Goddess," as DS became Diesse in the minds of the French populace. I would LOVE to have one of these today. I say that about millions of cars, lol, but in this case, the DS is certainly in my Top 10.

And last, but not least, was the little car company that could, Honda. Though a household name by the seventies for motorcycles, this was very early in their car-building years, and the car that put Honda on the map for most buyers. CVCC referred to the engine's design and emissions-controlling design, but this little Civic soon spawned the slightly larger Accord, and we all know how THAT turned out. When I lived in Hollywood in '79-'80, one of my friends Christie, a very talented hair stylist,  lived in her first generation Civic for a while, but went on to much greater things as so many do in Tinseltown.  


  1. Some of these I have never heard of (I know...shame and surprise, hm??) Anyway, I LOVE the Citroen...That could just pull up in my driveway any old day with a big ol bow on it!

  2. No shame! That's why artandcolour is here! : )

    i have 5-6 large cartons full of dealer brochures from the late '60s until the early '80s, then I was too busy, too 'distracted' and cars got really boring by then anyway. I learned all I needed to know in magazines. I've always bought every enthusiast car magazine I could. For the past several years though, with the internet. it has to be a very special issue for me to buy a magazine about new cars. I still buy magazines about old cars every month. Those writers tend not to post online, only in print. And I save them. You can read about a 25 year old car today, and that information will still be good when it's 35 years old. New car articles tend to be all fluff and nonsense, and in 10 years who really cares.... When i sold the house 8 years ago, i gave away thousands of magazines about current cars, and I've never regretted it.

    Going out for a ride on my 'new' bike today. i'll write about it later!

  3. Another fantastic post!

    I'm finding the Jaguar brochure is catching my eye the most. The whole globe trotting / dominating effect it has is just a fantastic way to push your product.

    Oldies, and goldies!

  4. Hey Thanks, Cameron/EliteTek! and congrats again on your good news. I've got some distant cousins in Australia, Brisbane and Melbourne I believe. I've met them once, pretty snobby. Probably won't meet them again, lol.

  5. Sound like you have a great automotive brochure collection !
    Mine would probably rival yours in size but not in scope. Being Motor City born and raised, the big 3 dominate my collection. Low volume imports were a rarity around here in the 60's, and seeing as Dad started out as a Ford Engineer, we just naturally lived in the "Ford" end of town, and as you can imagine there weren't to many imports in our neighborhood. It wasn't until I started driving that I really had exposure to the overseas manufacturers. I remember when the Citroen SM won Motor Trend's car of the year award in 1972, but I was only 12. My mom got me my first subscription to Motor Trend when I was 10 and I still subscribe to it to this day - amazing....
    Thanks for the ride down memory lane, its great to share it with someone !

  6. Remember when there were Ford families or Chevy families? We were definitely a Ford family. One of my mother's cousins that would come for Thanksgiving and Christmas were Chevy people, and boy did the 'men' get into it from time to time! Even if a family today has bought nothing but Toyotas, I don't think they'd ever consider themselves to be a Toyota family. I guess that was just a quaint anachronism of the time we grew up in, but I'm glad we did!

    Going out for a bike ride now. Later!

  7. Am I allowed to comment on older posts? I don't know the rules.

    I used to beg my mother to take me to car shows. Every now and then she'd give in. I'd always leave with a big bag of brochures. Most of the shows featured the Big 3 cars, but when Buick was importing Opels, at least I'd get to sit in a Manta, Kadett or an Opel GT. Happiness.

    I have an old "Cit" DS19 (That's what my aunt called it.)now. Sadly it's up on blocks because it's so darn expensive to repair. It lost its fluids one day...just backing up out of the garage. Automotive incontinence?

    My aunt and uncle brought it back from Europe, all pea-green and white and extra-terrestrial, and for me it was love at first sight. They gave it to my mother, but I always considered it mine and now it is.

    Some day I'll find a way to fix the hydropneumatics of it and float down the road again on my way to buy a baguette and some pate.


  8. yes, you may absolutely comment on any post you wish. In fact, I love it when new people check back on old posts. I started writing this in late February this year, and there were some days when I had no 'hits' at all, and some really good posts (if I do say so myself!) went unread. I have post notification, so I always know when someone comments on any post.

    I'm so jealous of your Citroen! to say I love and admire the DS/ID line would be an understatement. Now I have to go find my old Road & Tracks. I bought all the issues from the fifties once at a yard sale, and in '55 the DS got the cover story. When I find it, which might be a while, i have hundreds of boxes of stuff in the attic. I'll post it. I can only imagine what it must have been like to drive one.

    Thanks, Marius, for looking back 'here!'