The great auto treasure hunt

We are now in the season for auto shows and swap meets, and I have been thinking back on some of my finds at these events over the years. I’m also wondering about the great treasures that others have found. What’s your story? For me, two of my best finds have to be Studebaker catalogs that collectively span the company’s time in Indiana automotive manufacturing, 1902 – 1963.

1902 Studebaker catalog
1902 Studebaker catalog

The first is a Studebaker Electric Vehicle catalog from 1902. This catalog’s copy talks about the company’s concern about offering an electric automobile that it could recommend and not discredit its standing in the vehicle market. The Studebaker electric line offered three models: a runabout, a trap, and a Stanhope, which are well illustrated. The last page remarks on the four gold medals and two bronze medals awarded for Studebaker vehicles and tack won at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. The company produced 20 electric cars for the year.

1963 Avanti catalog
1963 Avanti catalog

My second great find is an Avanti 1962 advertising brochure at the other end of the Studebaker’s Indiana automotive story. The document is a great example of 1960’s era automotive marketing materials. This brochure’s copy is quite a contrast from that for the electric vehicles. I especially like some of the claims for performance: “More horsepower than you’ll ever need – the Avanti, with its supercharged engine and disc brakes, can accelerate from standstill to 60 mph in true competition time and stop from 100 mph in well under 450 feet – about two thirds the distance required by conventional braking systems.”

These two catalogs tell the Studebaker story at both ends of an automotive saga.

So, what’s your great swap meet find?

To find more about Indiana car culture follow this link.

Leave a Reply