Treasures: SAAB Catalog Designed by Mr. Vinson

Click to view the entire catalog in the Hagley Digital Archives.

When the child grew up, he worked for awhile in a New York ad agency where, as assistant account executive for SAAB, he actually designed a piece of automotive sales literature. Must be pretty rare; I’ve never seen it in another collection or at a flea market (A Collector’s Life, page 69).

Mr. Vinson declares this piece of trade literature designed for SAAB to be one of his rarest items. It may not be the most valuable catalog, but Mr. Vinson had a special reason for keeping this particular trade catalog close to his heart: he designed it himself.

This trade catalog is small and printed in black and white, with simple illustrations. Written on the front, “SAAB from Sweden: The Economy Car,” provides a simple slogan for the newest automobile marquee to come to America. In 1958, Saab introduced the 93B model to America, advertising it as a safe, roomy, and technological advanced passenger car. The catalog also declares that SAAB stands for “Safe and sturdy, Aerodynamic construction, Acceleration plus, and Better mpg.”

Note accompanying the SAAB catalog designed by Mr. Vinson.

By the time Mr. Vinson designed this ‘rare’ item of automotive literature, he had already been collecting automobile catalogs and related ephemera for about 15 years. A simple handwritten note in Mr. Vinson’s hand, accompanies the catalog and confirms its provenance: “This folder was designed by Z. Taylor Vinson in the spring of 1958 when he was Asst. Account Executive for SAAB at the Gotham-[Veodini?] Advertising Agency in New York City.” (Note: If anyone has insight into the name of the mentioned advertising firm, please contact us or add a comment below. We are unable to decipher it fully.)

So while it is not the most breathtaking example of automotive literature in his collection, the catalog‘s value as a research document may be greater than even the exquisitely designed Delahaye or Maybach catalogs. Not only did Mr. Vinson collect and appreciate car catalogs, but he was once a designer of them as well.

Posts on some of Mr. Vinson’s other treasures can be found here.

Robin Valencia is the Graduate Assistant for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.

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