Vintage car manuals are more than mere service handbooks; they also offer a glimpse into a time when the automobile represented elegance and luxury, before it became an ordinary necessity. Service manuals also document the ever-changing standards in auto design, with the frequent addition of new features like cigarette lighters, FM radios, and air-conditioning units. The combination of scientific diagrams, operating instructions, and marketing devices, all simplified into layman’s terms, resulted in a novel form of consumer literature and written instruction.

Early car manuals were as much about advertising the ease and convenience of driving as they were about maintenance and repairs. The Ford Model T service handbook made operating a car as easy as possible for a novice owner, explaining all of the vehicle’s basic functions in a clear, question-and-answer format. Some of its 140 examples include queries like “How is the car stopped?” and “What about gasoline?” The Model T manual also highlighted the many rapid improvements in automotive technology, like the exciting advantages of a steam-cooled engine which were explained by the tagline “You can’t burn a boiled egg!”

After World War II, as automobiles became a symbol of middle-class success and an accepted part of everyday life in suburban America, manuals assumed a new importance. Drivers were expected to understand their vehicles and handle small repairs and trouble-shooting on their own. This knowledge became vital for the normal American male, as indicated by the reinforcement found in Ford and Chevrolet manuals from the 1940s and '50s that consistently refer to car owners, salespeople, and servicers each as an anonymous “He.”

Handbooks issued during this golden era of the automobile, from the '40s through the '60s, often featured colorful graphics and heavily-stylized artwork. But by 1970, car companies were producing designs more evocative of a “Summer of Love” concert poster than an instruction booklet, like the Plymouth Barracuda’s cover image of an attractive young couple silhouetted by a colorful, radiating heart shape. Cars could be groovy, too! However, the 1970s also brought an increasing awareness of safety features and regulations, visible in Buick’s manuals which clearly explain the best use of children’s car seats.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Old Car Manual Project

The Old Car Manual Project

Need some help with your vintage car repair? Check out this excellent trove of user-contributed car manual scans an… [read review or visit site]

Hemmings Auto Blogs

Hemmings Auto Blogs

This great (and frequently updated) blog from the folks at Hemmings Motor News is a visual feast of old and new pho… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Most watched eBay auctions    

Automobile Owners Manual Lot Look Ford Gm Honda Toyota Plus More 66 Books!!!!! Ferrari 308 Gtbi And 308 Gtsi Us Version Owners Manual And PouchLot Of 25 New And Used Owner Manuals.Resellers Lot Of 12 (twelve) New Ford Owners ManualsResellers Lot Of 13 (thirteen) Mixed New Ford Owners ManualsResellers Lot Of 10 (ten) Ford Owners ManualsBulk Lot Of Rellim, Hayne's, Gregory's, Hilliers Automotive ManualsResellers Lot Of 9 (nine) Mixed New Ford Owners Manuals1971 Vw Volkswagen Bus Pickup Owners Manual "super Rare Original Collectible"Porsche 356b Workshop Manuals1955 Desoto Firedome Sedan Original Owner Owner's Operator User Guide Manual1959-1960 Porsche 356b Owner Owner's Operator User Guide Manual 1.6lVw Eurovan Vol I &ii Repair Manual '92-'99Millenium Industries - 1971 Olds Cutlass / 442 Assembly & 71 Fisher Body Manuals1970 Buick Shop Manual / All Models / Original Service Book!!! Gs Sklark RivieraMercedes-benz Service Manual Chassis And Body Series 124, Volume 1 And 2Datsun Sports Car Model Sp(l) 311 Service Repair Manual Guc Free ShippingVintage Volkswagen 1970 Owner's Manual Vw De Luxe Sedan/convertible Oem RareKuhnhausen .30 Caliber Service Rifles Shop Manual1968 Amc American Motors Technical Service Manual With Amx Supplement2016 Ford Explorer Owners ManualMopar 1973-74 Collision Parts ManualDetomaso Pantera Shop Manual 1971-1974Ford Aust Falcon & Fairlane Xr/xt/za/zb Parts & Acc Manual 1966/67. Inc. "gt"2014 Mercedes Benz E-class Sedan And Wagon Operator Owner's Manual 1971 Volkswagen Owners ManualVintage 1941 Lincoln Body Parts List Manual Lincoln Zephyr Continental Ford Rare2014 Mercedes-benz Cla Owner's Manuals Complete 4 Items, Case Mb Mercedes Cla2501969 Vintage Mercedes Benz 220/8 220 Owners Manual P339Vintage Original Factory 1968 Plymouth Service Manual Good Shape1968 Ford F 100 250 350 Truck Original Shop Service Repair Manual 68 Original In Box! 1960 Oldsmobile Service Manual Super 88 Fiesta 98 Longroof 1948-1961 Jaguar Xk120 Mk Vii Xk140 Xk150 Xk150s Service Manual OriginalStudebaker Goldenhawk Skyhawk Service Manuals 690pg W/ Champion President PelhamHaynes Repair Manual - Porsche 914 - 4-cylinder1939 Ford Car & Trucks Mercury Lincoln-zephyr Refernce Manual Great Condition2013 Ford F150 Owner's Manual, Warranty Guide, & Quick Reference PamphletsVintage 1985 Mercedes-benz 380 Se, 500 Sel, 500 Sec Owner's Operator Manual1923 Repair Manual Star Motor Cars & Instruction,care,operation Manual Star Cars2017 17 Ford Transit Owners Manual Holden "fe" & "fc"shop Manual Aust Factory 1956/59. Rare Gmh Nasco ItemToyota 20r Engine Emission Control Repair Manual 1979 Model 2014 Corvette Owners Manual Packet Original Oem2014 Chevy Corvette Owners Manual Packet Original Oem 1941 Ford Reference Manual Cars & Trucks Salesmen Ford Mercury Lincoln-zephyr 1937 & 1941 Original Chevrolet Car & Truck Shop ManualsVw Beetle Sedan & Convertible Owners Manual Aug 1959 Edition1939 Ford Reference Manual Cars & Trucks Salesmen Ford Mercury Lincoln-zephyr How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive : A Manual Of Step-by-step Procedures For The Lot Of Sp Repair Manuals Capri, Galant Civic,viva Vintage Automotive1962 & 1963 Ford Thunderbird Shop Oem Manual 1967 Original Chevelle Owners Manual, + 2 Owner Protection Plan Manuals.1974 Vw Volkswagen Bus Type 2 Transporter Owners Manual Van2017 Chevrolet Traverse Owner's Manual & MoreRabbit/jetta Diesel Service ManualPontiac Fiero 1984-1988 New Haynes Workshop Shop Manual Service Repair1969-1976 Original Triumph Tr6 Tr 6 Owners Manual Service Guide Book2014 Dodge Avenger Owner's ManualRolls Royce Bentley Lucas Fault Manual Silver Shadow +Chiltons Toyota Repair Manual 70's Corolla Land Cruiser Fj40 Stout Crown Corona