CH Journal

Entry #4
Fifty-plus years ago, Topps catered to that obsession with a 66-card set of the world's sports cars, featuring well-known nameplates like Aston-Martin, Porsche and Alfa Romeo, along with some obscure brands like Denzel, Skoda and Borgward.

For kids whose primary card-collecting passion didn't involve baseball or football, this was a bit of a welcome surprise- especially those who had painstakingly built plastic models of these cars, or had posters of them stuck to their bedroom walls. You might never own a Ferrari California, but having a full-color card of it was an acceptable substitute at age 12.

The 1961 Sports Cars set included many cars to drool over, but there were also a few oddities such as the Gogomobil, Lister-Chevy, Scarab and Stanguellini. European cars dominated the set, with only a handful of American-made models included. For many collectors, this set represented the first time they'd even heard of these brands- and perhaps the last time!

Several of the cars featured were one-offs or custom-built cars that were sold in extremely small quantities. A few of them were actually prototypes for later, better-known models, and here and there you'll find "one-hit wonders"- cars that made their debut at a show or a major race; then disappeared quietly the next year.       -read more-

Entry #3
A couple of rarities from 1968 distributed by American Oil Service Stations.
Cards are 2 1/8" x 2 5/8" and were issued in perforated pairs with different sports figures.

Entry #2
The April 2005 issue of Research Technology Transporter newsletter* included a brief article about how the Connecticut Department of Transportation was using trading cards to make information on transportation research more accessible and memorable.

In an era of information overload, capturing the attention of decision makers and colleagues long enough to fill them in on important new research can be a challenge. Certainly, transportation professionals attending meetings and conferences may collect numerous handouts on innovations that can save time, money, or lives, but the information may not make it into the hands of the appropriate decision makers back home.

To make research information more accessible and memorable, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) borrowed an idea from baseball and created trading cards on key projects. Staff in ConnDOT's Division of Research developed three cards to complement the presentations made by staff members at the Transportation Research Board's (TRB) annual meeting in January 2005. The projects, conducted in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, focused on rumble strips on roadway shoulders, an alternative merge sign, and software for viewing roadway inventory photos. Designed to be easy to comprehend and inexpensive to produce, the trading cards are a convenient way to pass along quick snapshots about transportation research projects to decision makers.

One side of each card includes a color image and a simple title that captures the essence of the research topic, while the reverse features succinct statements about the research, findings, recommendations, and contacts for more information. One card, for example, highlights a ConnDOT study on the use of rumble strips. Among the conclusions listed on the card about rumble strips is that they led to a 33-percent reduction in run-off-the-road crashes on Connecticut freeways.

Another card features a project that monitored and evaluated a new type of merge sign at signalized intersections through the use of video. The card points out that the alternative merge signs were successful in improving traffic flow and safety at the test locations. A third card describes Big Picture Support, the latest feature in ConnDOT's DigitalHIWAY photolog viewing software, which enables users to access images in a photographic inventory of the State's highway system. The card explains that the new feature allows users to select a portion of a larger picture for high-resolution display in a small window without having to use drop-down menus or special buttons.

During the TRB annual meeting, ConnDOT researchers distributed the cards at a joint session of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Research and Research Advisory Committee. The researchers attending the session agreed to consider developing one or more cards on their own State DOT projects and bringing them to exchange at future meetings.

For more information, contact James Sime, manager of research, at 860-258-0309 or

Martha Soneira 202-493-3468

*The Research & Technology Transporter newsletter was published by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration as a way of communicating research, developments and technologies. Publication ended in September 2006 so the post above may contain dated technical, contact and link information.

Although they don't depict images of automobiles, I'm sure you can see the close relation to this hobby. Thought you might enjoy a rare bit of trading card history and if you have any of these, please let me know so I can add more info about them to the Cardboard Highway.


Entry #1
When it comes to Automotive Trading Cards, seems very little history is known. I've found in doing my own research that I can come up with card sets that few people even know exist. But trying to find background information about those sets is nearly impossible. One reason is that the companies that produced the sets have long since gone the way of the dinosaur. And the individuals, if you can find any names connected with the sets, seem to have completely disappeared. One thing that I have found a great resource are old magazines. Not only are they great resources for original advertisements of cards, but now and then an article can be found on the subject. Such is the case of the following short write I found in the August 1992 edition of Racing Collectibles Price Guide (Vol.3 No.8).
Automotive Card Offerings Growing Steadily
Prior to 1991, trading cards featuring cars typically were limited to those sets featuring racing cars. Few would have predicted the widespread acceptance and success "car cards" have since enjoyed. Last year alone, several vehicle related sets were released by a number of manufacturers. Among them, Performance Years Quality Card Company, Lime Rock, Inc., and Collect-A-Card Corporation. Most of the sets are available in wax pack format; leaving the collector the option of hand-collating their own set, or purchasing a hand-collated set from the card shop. The introduction of the "Vette Set" Corvette Collector Cards jump-started the car card market. The collection was an immediate hit and set a standard for quality and attractiveness for the market. Muscle Cars were next off the block in the fall of 1991, a set featuring a variety of muscle cars from the 60's and 70's. The "Dream Machines" set, showcasing high-ticket automobiles, also hit the shelves. Indications are that 1992 will be even bigger than last year, both in terms of product supply and collector demand. An American automotive icon received cardboard recognition as the legendary Ford Mustang became the subject of cards produced by three different companies: Pony Car Performance, produced by GNM Sportscards; Carroll Shelby Signature Series, by Performance Years Quality Card Comany; and Mustang Collectable Cards, authorized by Ford Motorsport. Another American favorite, the ol' Chevy, also received recognition in a limited edition set.
Additional sets available in 1992 include CMK's collector card set, "Cars of the World". The inaugural edition will be introduced in a special Collector Box containing the first 25 cards of the 4000 card set. Each subsequent edition will come complete with a certificate of authenticity. Categories within the set include "Unobtainable", "Exotic Cars", and "Sport and GT Cars". And GNM Sportscards is planning to release six sets this year - among them, "Road Warriors Past and Present", "Rapid Transit System", a collection of MOPAR muscle cars, and "The Super Collection", a series featuring the finest Chevy SS vehicles.
Says Margaret Reynolds, president of GNM, "Our concern for the collector is our motivation behind our offering limited edition cards in sets only. For example, we chose not to offer our Mustang set in wax packs to insure a limited production run. Combining a limited run with serial numbering virtually guarantees investment potential. In most cases, you can't get that with foil products."
The excitement and enthusiasm collectors have demonstrated in accepting the cards in this new genre shows that their infatuation with "automotive cards" is as real as America's enduring love for the automobile. With innovative sets and limited production runs, offering of automotive cards should continue to grow steadily to claim a place in the collecor market

Interesting article.  But did you notice that it left out the history?  Nothing about the sets from the 50's, 60's, and 70's.  Nothing about the old tobacco cards.  Nothing about the foreign sets prior to and during the time the article was published.  So why? Was it because little research had been done and just some quick bits of information had been thrown together about the card offerings of the day? Did the author, whom I might add was not mentioned, even do any research? Well, whatever the case, their news is now our history. And that short article serves as a nugget of gold for someone like myself researching the history of "automotive cards". I'm so glad it was written and published.