Scroll this intriguing archive of old brochures
The vast majority of car people I talk to have an appreciation for history. That fascination seems especially strong when it comes to the advertisements that were designed to sell our beloved vintage cars and motorcycles when they were new. During my evening internet scroll session last night, I stumbled upon a Norwegian website that plunged me into a rabbit hole of intrigue. Care to join?
The site appears to be the pet project of Norway-based enthusiast named Hans Tore Tangerud. The navigation is a bit clunky, but stick with it and you’ll soon be digitally sifting through a treasure trove of beautifully scanned brochures whose chronology stretches all the way to the turn of the century. When is the last time you saw a 1903 Cadillac sales brochure? For me, never.
Reading through random brochures is a truly fun way to see not only the progression of the automobile but also the evolution of the buyer, market, and country. How companies chose to sell these cars indicates the tastes and priorities of that time.
Take, for instance, the ad for the 1929 Stutz, which touts many of the same virtues that a YouTube or ESPN spot would in 2022: safety, comfort, unique style. At first glance, it sure is odd to think that a sales pitch for a Stutz Blackhawk and a Subaru Impreza boils down to the same handful of bullet points, despite the nine decades of mechanical and technological advancement that separate the two vehicles.
Grab a cup of coffee and do a little scrolling. Find the brochure for your car, or a friend’s car, or simply learn the true age of some of the features and technology many consider “modern.” If you do find a favorite spread, share it in the comments below with a quick note about what you found so neat. Give a guy some help—I can’t sit and click through them all!