Sunday, July 22, 2012

It's 1984 and Mustang was Turning 20!

1985 Ford Dealership Mustang Standee Side 1

A few years ago I attended what started out an as an auction, but  turned into a battle-of-wills marathon.
The auction was the estate of one of the most successful Ford dealers in the Midwest and it ran over with rare an unusual pieces from the business.

The sale was a two-ring nine-hour marathon of unintended memorabilia. It wasn't that the family collected Ford memorabilia. It was that they never threw anything away. 

This treasure is a never used promotion standee intended for the dealership showroom. It advertises the 20th anniversary edition of the classic 1964 1/2 Mustang pony car. The limited edition Mustang, produced in 1984, came in Oxford White with a Canyon Red interior. It had the original pony badge on the front fenders and came with a plaque engraved with the owner's name and the vehicle's production number.  Overall it is about 16 by 44 inches. Each side of the folded triangle would measure about 15 by 17 inches.

These backroom pieces are always a rare find, especially in flat unpunched condition. Neither the bottom flaps nor the side flaps have been creased. The entire unit is nicely flat and the colors are vibrant. I've chosen to keep it flat and display it on top of a shelving unit. However, carefully folded up and notched together would not significantly detract from the value.

Unusual pieces are often found at auctions. Businesses put extra items in the backroom and forget about them, sometimes for decades. Be prepared to be patient and dig through a lot of boxes. This beauty was in the barn. I'll be posting more about this crazy auction. Stay tuned, it was not your everyday sale.  Photos (c) Terri Lynn Coop 2012
1985 Ford Dealership Mustang Standee Side 2

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cop Car Cool

1987 Ford Brochure: Photo (c) Terri Lynn Coop

I like collecting advertising. The longer you read this blog and my car memorabilia collecting site you'll see that I talk about it quite a bit.

To me, advertising often captures the essence of both the item and the era. It also gives me clues about memorabilia and helps me identify mystery items (That came in blue? Who knew?) Often overlooked by collectors and pickers at auctions and estate sales, a patient and persistent shopper can come away with boxes or bags of ephemera full of surprises.

I became a collector of vintage police car advertising by accident. I was at an estate auction for a man who had been the police chief of a small town in the 1980s and 1990s and was, frankly, a hoarder. The sheer volume of boxes that came out of that small house was staggering. The entire front yard and back yard was covered in boxes of books, paper, model trains, and all manner of household goods.

Most of the buyers were there for the trains, so I was left virtually alone to pick through the boxes of paper. Before long, I started turning up all sorts of advertising and paperwork from his days as police chief. I found equipment catalogs, weapon catalogs, and an entire expanding file full of brochures for police cars, motorcycles, and ambulances.

The brochures are amazing, each a full-color capsule ofautomotive and law enforcement technology and history.

While bidding was hot for the trains, I stood by and quietly picked up most of the police paper for $1 - $2 per box. Also about a half pallet of vintage SEARS catalogs, but that is a story for another day. Auctions require feet of iron, nerves of steel, and a poker face worthy of Vegas. However, they are a great way to add to and expand a collection. 

Art of Advertising

Car and Driver Magazine, Photo (c) Terri Lynn Coop

For a car enthusiast and memorabilia collector, a gallery of art and photography lurks in every automotive magazine. New magazines have slick full-color spreads of what is new and hot.

However, in my opinion, the real treasures are between the covers of the vintage hot rod rags from the 1960s and 1970s. 

The 1960s is when advertising changed emphasis from line drawing to photography and is considered to be the "Creative Revolution" and the birth of branding. For the first time, cars and products were sold as lifestyle choices as much as products. 

And it worked. The Corvette and the Cadillac are both cars. Four wheels, seats, and chrome. However, they represent very different outlooks on life and driving. This branding is what makes advertising art fun to collect.   

Car and Driver magazine is one of my favorites. Founded in 1955 and originally called "Sports Cars Illustrated," Car and Driver showcases the best in American cars and a solid sampling of foreign cars in every issue. The magazine is a combination of reviews, buying guides, photo spreads, and advertisements printed on nice quality glossy stock.

Individual vintage issues in decent "reader" condition typically run $3 - $5 online and at collector shows. However, the key is to always check through the boxes of magazines at garage sales, especially if the sale includes tools or car stuff. I've picked up new car magazines for a dime a piece and vintage 1960s beauties for $2 for a foot-thick stack. Always check under the Popular Mechanic issues for the hidden hot rod treasures.

Don't leave inexpensive vintage magazines behind because they aren't pristine. You have to take the good with the bad. Crumpled pages, water damage, and missing covers are common. However, the prizes, the singlepage advertisements (tear sheets) are often intact and can be turned into high quality collectible art.

What is your favorite vintage automotive advertising? The indestructible VW Bug? The sophisticated luxury cars? The untamed hot rods? Let me know and I'll see what I can dig up for pictures.

Driving In Style

1963 Car and Driver, Photo (c) Terri Lynn Coop
In car culture, clothing invokes images and expectations. 

Whether it's the rugged respect and individualism of a black leather motorcycle jacket or the sleek poplin racer jumpsuit, when we see a driver in a certain outfit, we have a vision of what kind of vehicle he owns.

Clothing makers have always capitalized on this tendency. Garments and accessories like dusters and goggles had a practical application in an open top Model T or roadster. However, they quickly morphed into style statements by adding flowing scarves and stylish caps.

Starting in the post-WWII boom and the rise of car hobbyists, magazines catered to enthusiasts with advertisements from specialtyapparel makers like Vilém B. Haan and Stirling Moss. 

Whether a car collector or a memorabilia hobbyist, they promised their customers a look rife with European class and élan.

For the apparel collector, ads are a good way to identify a garment or item found at an estate sale or racks of a second-hand store. I am big on identifying and dating my purchases. I don't just want to know that I found an MG logo lighter. I want to be able to place it in the 1963 Car and Driver magazine Haan advertisement. Finding it is half the fun. Identifying it is all the fun. 
1963 Car and Driver, Photo (c) Terri Lynn Coop

Taking It to the Redline

One of the Hot Wheels from my favorite score. Photo (c) Terri Coop 

When I was a kid, every year for Christmas I asked for race cars and Legos. As a girl, I usually got dishes and dolls. So, I played with the cars the boys didn't want anymore (by the way, doll dishes make great jump ramps in the sandbox).

As an adult, the only thing that has changed is that I can eat dessert first and collect all the race cars I want.

Like most kids (grown up and otherwise), I love Hot Wheels. Mattel introduced these 1:64 scale muscle mites in the 1960s and are still going strong more than half a century later.

Like most Hot Wheels enthusiasts, I have a fondness for redlines,the original series of Hot Wheels produced from 1968 to 1977. Finding a redline Hot Wheels is finding a piece of the past and a piece of my childhood.

Most collectors can tell you where every car on their shelf came from. My biggest find or "score" of Hot Wheels redlines came from a flea market in Claremore, Oklahoma. I was out with my husband digging around when I saw several plastic silverware trays (you know what I mean, the ones in your drawer with molded compartments for each utensil) in a dealer booth. The trays were mixed with cheap toys and small appliances. They were tightly wrapped in plastic film and the hand-written tag read "TOY CARS BOX - $2.00"

Quick look.


Double take.

Closer look.

Happy Squeal!

There were five trays and they were full of redlines. About 50 in all. They weren't perfect. All were in what is called "good played-with" condition. Didn't matter. They were redlines and they were mine.

Many years later, this is still one of my favorite Hot Wheels memories. What is yours?