The dawn of the automobile age was an exciting time for America, and the classic cars built during those early years were technological marvels both practical and popular.
“It is not outside the realm of possibility that in the century soon to dawn, the horseless carriage may be as familiar on the public highway as the bicycle is today,” noted The San Francisco Call in February of 1896.
Four years later, they had indeed become more familiar because the motor car trend grew fast. As The Topeka State Journal reported at the time, “Among the recent inventions designed for utility, pleasure or comfort, none has attracted so much attention as the automobile.”
Of course, all of that attention — not to mention how these new cars made the world so much more accessible — led to a productive multi-million dollar industry. As early as the year 1902, it was estimated that there were 300 different automobile manufacturers in the United States.
On the pages within, we have dozens of classic car brands dating back to the late Victorian age, including Buick, Cadillac, Cartercar, Chalmers, Chandler, Cole, Davis, Ford, Franklin, Grant, Hudson, Kissel, Marmon, Mitchell, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Overland, Packard, Pierce Arrow, Rambler, Scripps-Booth, Stoddard-Dayton and Studebaker. (Note that these images are not modern interpretations of these cars, but authentic illustrations drawn about a century ago to advertise the automobiles or to accompany newspaper stories.)
The drawings are arranged by year, and each of the images on the pages inside was chosen from thousands of illustrations published between 1895 and 1919. They’re all printed on just one side of the paper, while page numbering and other image information appears on the reverse, ensuring the coloring side is distraction-free and would even be suitable for framing.
Note: In keeping with the original designs, the pictures are often very intricate, and there are large areas of black on certain pages. We chose not to over-simplify the artwork because of the tremendous amount of detail (and personality) that would be lost in the process. Please look at the preview pages to see thumbnails of the illustrations in this book.