Billed as a ‘A grand tour through classic car brochures of the 1960s to 1980s’, Auto Erotica is Jonny Trunk’s loving homage to an era of bold colours, quirky cars, and exceptional graphic design, not to mention the occasional dose of casual sexism. The automobile was always considered a very potent consumer product, something that could be made to appeal to our base instincts, aspirations, and self-image. The combination of design, style, performance, and status was compelling, and the very best car ads appealed not only to prospective owners but served to boost the ego of those drivers who had already taken the plunge and wanted retrospective justification. 

Vintage car ads in all their graphic brilliance

 A Grand Tour through Classic Car Brochures of the 1960s to 1980s
Ford Anglia, 1963, from Auto Erotica, image courtesy of Jonny Trunk / Fuel Publishing

Auto Erotica steers clear of the billboard, magazine spread or TV screen, in favour of the printed ephemera that bolstered these brands in the form of dealer display cards, manuals, booklets, and flyers. Arranged via brand, having this panoply of printed matter makes a welcome diversion from accessing it randomly via Instagram, and Trunk’s collection runs from acknowledged classics to the (un)justly overlooked.

The much-praised graphic simplicity of the era’s VW ads were no outliers; Volvo and Mercedes, among many others, gave them a run for their money (although admittedly VW’s copywriting skills were second to none). In these pages you’ll find the bold populism of Ford, the well-crafted avant-garde of Citroën, as well as eerily contemporary 1970s colour charts.

 A Grand Tour through Classic Car Brochures of the 1960s to 1980s
Simca 1000, 1969, from Auto Erotica, image courtesy of Jonny Trunk / Fuel Publishing

Produced with Fuel’s Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell, Auto Erotica has given these throwaway remnants of half-remembered car culture the presentation they deserve. There is graphic brilliance within, a rich palette of colours unlike anything on today’s roads, as well as a heart-tuggingly straightforward evocation of the desire and romance of the open road. §

 A Grand Tour through Classic Car Brochures of the 1960s to 1980s
Renault range brochure, 1972, from Auto Erotica, image courtesy of Jonny Trunk / Fuel Publishing
 A Grand Tour through Classic Car Brochures of the 1960s to 1980s

Ford Fiesta Supersport, from Auto Erotica, image courtesy of Jonny Trunk / Fuel Publishing

 A Grand Tour through Classic Car Brochures of the 1960s to 1980s

Porsche 911/912, from Auto Erotica, image courtesy of Jonny Trunk / Fuel Publishing