Road Art - Automobilia - Memorabilia - Car Enthusiasts Other Delights

We drive down the road and our senses are hit with a barrage of visual delights. For decades, we have shunned the commercial signs and now those commercial signs are coming into their own and rightfully so. For you see automobilia or whatever you choose to group these everyday roadside sign are now big business as the baby boomers delight in memories of yesteryear. Is automobile all roadside signs? Absolutely not, some collector items are gas pumps, automotive display cases and my personal favorite the love seats and couches that have been re-purposed from a car part such as a bumper (the boat lover of all things water related also delights in the seating crafted from wooden boats.) Whatever term you assign, these items are hot! Pickers are hunting feverishness for them, auction houses have found a brand new revenue stream and the car aficionado now has more toys for the toy box.

Unique Collectible Automobilia Advertising Couches

Click thumbnail to view full-size
classic car couch upholstered in an American flag designCrestliner Boat Like Couch - Crafted from Actual Boat PartsCoca Cola Couch - Crafted from a Coca Cola CoolerChevrolet couchautomobilia chairs
classic car couch upholstered in an American flag design
classic car couch upholstered in an American flag design | Source
Crestliner Boat Like Couch - Crafted from Actual Boat Parts
Crestliner Boat Like Couch - Crafted from Actual Boat Parts | Source
Coca Cola Couch - Crafted from a Coca Cola Cooler
Coca Cola Couch - Crafted from a Coca Cola Cooler | Source
Chevrolet couch
Chevrolet couch | Source
automobilia chairs
automobilia chairs | Source

Terms and Definition and Eymotology

Automobilia - a term used to denote memorabilia/collectibles within the automotive industry.

Road ArtSM - a service trademark crafted and owned by Mecum Auctions also used to signify neon signs, roadway signs, gas tanks, oil, and all things vintage or antique associated with the classic car industry.

Automobilia - this is the term seen in the industry, no trademark on file in the United States as of the date of this publication.

Automobilia is a portmanteau1 of the words automobile and memorabilia.

1What is a portmanteau? A word created from two combined words.

Petroliana - a term used to denote memorabilia within the automotive industry, according to Wikipedia:

"Petroliana is a category of collectibles that is related to gas stations or the petroleum industry. Petroliana memorabilia include items such as old gas pumps, fuel advertisements, enamel or tin signs, oil cans and tins, and road maps."

Petroliana

Furniture Married to Classic Cars Equals Automobilia

Re-purposing road art into furniture to me is the ultimate in creativity. From chairs to tables to love seats, the list is limited only by our imagination.

Envision a nautical room decked out and completed with a loveseat made from a boat hull. Take it up a notch and the boat hull is gleaming mahogany and now you truly have a work of art!

Envision a sports garage complete with a couch crafted from a Chevrolet bumper.

Add in the racing flag colors and hang bright road signs and porcelain advertising signs (typically advertising gasoline, oil and car manufacturers) and we now have the quintessential man cave.


Personal Favorite - Automobilia as Furniture

The artifacts within this collectible group are simply fascinating. I love the history, I love the strong use of bright colors and steel. I love the simple masculine lines of the signs and gas pumps.

My personal favorite is the creation of functional furniture from these pieces of pop culture art. Give me a loveseat made from a boat hull or a car bumper, bring life to a table made for gathering with bright colors and common road signs.

As the photos below clearly showcase, the ultimate status symbol has moved beyond the sports car and into the stylized garage complete with artwork with a specific name of "automobilia".

Antique Dad's Garage Sign with Red Antique Motor Car
Antique Dad's Garage Sign with Red Antique Motor Car | Source

Ultimate Status Symbol - Automobilia - The Stylized Garage

The ultimate status symbol has moved beyond the sports car and into the stylized garage complete with artwork with a specific name of "automobilia".

Repurposing Road Signs Into Functional Furniture with An Artistic Flair
Repurposing Road Signs Into Functional Furniture with An Artistic Flair | Source

When Road Signs and Art Collide

automobilia - road signs as art
automobilia - road signs as art | Source

Types of Automobilia - Types of Road Art

  • Air Pumps
  • Automotive Art
  • Gas Globes
  • Neon Signs
  • Oil Racks
  • Oil Signs
  • Original Petroliana
  • Petro Memorabilia
  • Porcelain Signs
  • Visible Gas Pumps
  • Road Artâ„¢
  • Car Ornaments
  • Car Badges

About the only item not included in automobilia is a full automobile. The list of items that are collectible goes on and on. The relative worth varies depending upon the item, the condition, the rarity, the purpose.

Pedal cars and automobila make great collectibles because they don't take up a full garage.

Cars make collectibles because they can be readily moved.

Automobilia generally speaking is heavier than most household items and are not as mobile as the automobiles.

Vintage Advertising Sign - Automobilia

Vintage Cofranc Motor Oil Advertising Sign with Brunette in Red Bikini
Vintage Cofranc Motor Oil Advertising Sign with Brunette in Red Bikini | Source

Fantasy List

People have fantasy lists of great sports cars and while I have that list that is ever changing each week, I also have a fantasy list of automobilia that I would like to own someday.

A great garage is more than a collectible, a great garage decked out in memorability is for many like myself better than a man cave, because it is the ultimate man cave.

Platinum Pieces - Neon Signs

In the world of jewelry, the most coveted item is often platinum. It is the hardest and most durable. In the world of automobilia, two items emerge as top flight items - the neon signs and the glass gas pumps. Both of these items are extremely fragile and expensive. It is not uncommon for the glass gasoline pumps to start at a low five figures and the neon signs I doubt if you are able to touch a quality piece for less than $1000. Classic cars are expensive and the automobilia is also not for those with thin wallets.

Automobilia - Neon Advertising Signs

Automobilia - colorful advertising signs in bright red, yellow and royal blue advertising both service and product
Automobilia - colorful advertising signs in bright red, yellow and royal blue advertising both service and product | Source

Glass Gasoline Pumps - Automobilia

glass gasoline pumps - automobilia
glass gasoline pumps - automobilia | Source

Automobilia

The Busted Knuckle Garage porcelain racing sign - classic automobilia
The Busted Knuckle Garage porcelain racing sign - classic automobilia | Source

Vintage/Antique Gas Pumps

Colorful Antique Gas Pumps in Red and White Various Kinds
Colorful Antique Gas Pumps in Red and White Various Kinds | Source

Chicken Coop with Vintage Advertising Signs

Chicken Coop with Vintage Advertising Signs
Chicken Coop with Vintage Advertising Signs | Source
Vintage Shell Motor Oil Advertising Sign with Green Car and Art Deco Style Gas Attendant with Art Deco Man and Woman
Vintage Shell Motor Oil Advertising Sign with Green Car and Art Deco Style Gas Attendant with Art Deco Man and Woman | Source

Various Vintage Advertising Road Side Art

Various Vintage Advertising Road Side Art Including Lighted John Deere Sign along with Gasoline Pumps
Various Vintage Advertising Road Side Art Including Lighted John Deere Sign along with Gasoline Pumps | Source

Petroliana

"When it comes to the Petroliana field, Aumann Auctions, Inc. truly brings the highway to your doorstep!"

Share Your Personal Interests

Which type of automobilia and road art inspires you?

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Automobilia Art As a Collectible

Automobilia is becoming big business. Remember the days when baseball cards were so hot? Well the market has turned and the ultimate in collectibles has become those vintage road signs.

Celebrating our culture is centric to this new collectible. Art is in the eyes of the beholder and what moves us emotionally is what we will gravitate toward. Memories from our childhood and drives with our parents spur the high demand of this emerging industry.

Whatever you call it - automobilia or road art, nostalgia is here to stay.

And What Do You Call This Art?

What term do you prefer?

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Comments 2 comments

LikaMarie 4 years ago

Love the blog... Shared on facebook. I like the old cars, and think that reassigning the designations of certain things is a creative way to recycle nostalgia in a good way. It's culture, updated.


American_Choices profile image

American_Choices 4 years ago from USA Author

LikaMarie,

Thank you so much! Classic cars and automobilia are simply fun. As an avid art collector for many years, I am glad this pop culture item has finally earned its own spot in the limelight. Celebrating nostalgia is essential to being a part of our community. Nothing to me is more American than the love of American cars which explains fully the enthusiasm for road art - simply a natural extension.

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