Thanks to family friends who knew of my love of cars, on two separate occasions I got a large cache of old car brochures from the 1970s and 1980s, which made my addiction to vintage car literature much more acute. Thus began a wild and amazing spending spree on eBay starting in about 1999. By then, I was naturally a bit more interested in the lovely ladies featured in many of these 1970s brochures.
You see, back then, car companies weren’t in love with stark backgrounds, bland colors and bland design. Whether a BMW, Ford or Nissan, select any current sales brochure (if you can actually find one) and you are likely to see a gray car in a gray background with gray buildings and gray sky. Lame.
Who is running today’s advertising agencies? Why does everything look the same? And I don’t mean the cars themselves, I mean the brochure pictures and art. A few years back I was at Lujack Auto Plaza, the local Audi-Mercedes-Porsche dealer. I picked up a brochure for the Audi A5 coupe, a car I’ve always admired. After flipping through it and only seeing black or silver cars featured, I put it back in the rack. The entire catalog might as well have been printed in black and white, so bland were the colors. Only the orange turn signals and red taillights confirmed it indeed was a color brochure.
So it is always a pleasure to dive into my old car brochures and admire the wide color choices and upholstery styles of what once was. The models often seen in said brochures only add to the appeal.
Yes, you could get interior colors! And leather was leather then, not the poor rubberized facsimile seen on many modern automobiles. And color. Lovely, glorious color: maroon, blue, green, white, dove gray, saddle tan and red.
Even aqua velour!! Are today’s cars better than ’70s luxury yachts? By and large, yes. Safer, longer-lived in most cases, more efficient in most every case. But man, those Broughamtastic land cruisers of the Me Decade sure were snazzy, were they not? And whether or not you love these velour clad cruisers, one thing they weren’t was meek. Or bland.
And ladies were classier too–not a tattoo or nose ring in sight. And remember when people dressed up? In a world where folks wear jeans and T-shirts to weddings, I feel like a man without a country with my golf shirts, slacks and loafers. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong decade. I’m rambling…
Anyway, at least I can always go back to the ’70s with my trove of brochures. All you can do, when the flux capacitor hasn’t yet been invented.
And hey, maybe it’s for the best. As much as I love ’70s cars and ’70s TV shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed the bellbottoms, Nehru jackets and other “with-it” ’70s pop items!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I bought the first season of The Bob Newhart Show at the mall last week, and need to watch it. So until next time, keep calm and Brougham on. And always tip your bartender!