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Car Guy Diary – 1/29/2014 – The Paper Trail

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You don’t have to have a car to get into the car hobby. It’s true. There are plenty of other ways to get involved with cars and trucks and unless you lose your mind with these automobile alternatives, you won’t even need a garage to keep them. One of my favorite alternatives is automotive literature in the form of dealer brochures.

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The thing that makes dealer brochures so cool, at least to me, is that they have a genuine link to the car or truck displayed on their pages. If you dig 1950 Nashes like I do, you can pick up a mint condition original dealer brochure for less than $25. When the object of your automotive affection was sitting on the dealer’s lot, this amazing piece of automobilia was sitting in a rack in the dealer’s showroom. And as amazing as it is for a 64 year old car to survive the ravages of time, it’s all the more amazing that a few sheets of paper were able to do the same thing. And yet for the price of a large pizza you can start your collection of dealer brochures with this amazing piece of automotive history.

I’ve been collecting these brochures even longer than I have had cars. Along with all the great photos, drawings, and information, you might also get a taste of what was going on in the world when the brochure was first produced. From fashion to famous folks, all kinds of ancillary information can be found within their pages.

Along with auction websites, places like and Vintage Auto Literature can make your brochure dreams come true. Swap meets and larger car shows will almost always have a few literature vendors selling dealer brochures so they can be found in many places.

If you are brand loyal like I am, you can work on getting full collections of a particular brand or model. I have a full-line Pontiac brochure for every year from 1955 through 1994. I have a smattering of other Pontiac brochures including those for specific models and body styles like their station wagons. My oldest brochure is a Pontiac piece from 1941…that’s right, a 73-year old brochure that looks very nearly like it did the day it was printed. I also have a fair collection of Rambler/American Motors brochures with a couple special pieces they produced for cars like my Marlin and one of their X-Ray comparison brochures where they compared Ramblers to other makes of cars.

These inexpensive entrances into the car hobby are great for those of us with an old car too. Displaying your old road veteran with an original brochure sitting on the dash, seat or trunk floor makes your display all the more impressive and detailed. They take up very little room and don’t cost all that much ether so if you are short on space or cash, take a look at dealer brochures and join the fun.



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