The Lost Art of Selling Cars

Once upon a time, carmakers didn’t spend their marketing budgets on viral Internet campaigns, microsites, or sports-stadium naming rights. There were just brochures — beautiful, elaborate, wonderfully informative brochures. Norwegian Hans Tore Tangerud (above) has been collecting them for decades and has scanned and posted several thousand on his website,

How did the project begin?
I have been fascinated by cars since I was a little kid. I visited local car dealers on my bicycle and collected brochures. When the Internet came along, I found a way to share my passion.

How long have you operated the site?
Since 1995. In the early years — before good search engines existed — only my friends knew about it.

Any favorites?
In general, I have always loved the “drawn” brochures. I like Chrysler Corporation’s the most, especially those from the 1950s, ’60s, and early ’70s. Pontiac also did some of the best illustrated brochures.

Why the love for American cars?
When I was a kid, I was 100 percent into Italian cars and design studios. But when I was about twelve, I saw my first Corvette in person. I couldn’t get that long, curvy hood and V-8 rumble out of my head. I bought my first car in 1984, a white ’74 Corvette coupe.

Has a great brochure ever convinced you to buy a car?
No, but they have surely made me want more cars than I can afford.