SS 100. Photos courtesy of Simeone Automotive Museum.
In addition to its automobiles, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia has an extensive collection of automotive literature, dating back to 1892 and covering over 1,400 makes. While these images and brochures can provide essential information for restorers, many are irreplaceable if lost and too fragile to handle, making them off-limits to the general public. Thanks to a new service called Car Factory Photos, high resolution digital images of these documents from the Simeone’s archives are now available for purchase.
When restoring an old car, manufacturer’s literature can be the best source of accurate information about equipment and trim on a given year, make and model. Several sites on the internet (such as OldCarBrochures.com, part of the Old Car Manual Project, and Lov2XLR8.no) contain a broad selection of OEM brochures from domestic manufacturers, but most are scanned and hosted in low res. Not every year, make and model is represented, either, and while a full-line brochure may contain images of a given-year Chevrolet Impala, for example, it may not have images of that car’s interior or engine. Finding free brochure images for a vintage Maserati or Horch online may well prove impossible.
Packard Standard Eight.
While there’s no guarantee the Simeone’s collection will have every year, make and model in its holdings, the archive is said to include over a half-million documents, covering years from the 1890s to 2000. A staggering number of manufacturers are represented as well, meaning you’ve got a better than average chance of finding obscure literature for the restoration of your Humber Super Snipe or Muntz Jet.
Those submitting an image request are asked to supply the exact year, make and model, as well as the type of image (front, side, engine, chassis or interior) required. Each image supplied costs $25.00, which covers the cost of retrieving (and in some cases, scanning) the file, which is supplied to the buyer in unedited form within roughly seven to ten business days. Images provided are licensed for personal use, and cannot be used for commercial purposes.
This Kissel D 11 chassis image shows the depth of the museum’s collection.
While those who’ve embraced the everything-is-free-on-the-internet philosophy may shun the idea of paying for brochure images, the cost of the images supplied by the Simeone’s Car Factory Photos service is negligible in light of the cost of a high-end restoration, and the service isn’t targeted to those who just want a picture of a stock 1965 Ford Galaxie for their computer’s desktop. For those needing accurate information that can’t readily be found elsewhere, the service may prove essential.
For additional information, or to request images, visit CarFactoryPhotos.org.