These are officially called "Color and
Upholstery" books or albums. Every auto maker published them
for exclusive use of their authorized dealers. They
sometimes have notations indicating the PRINTING company but
the 'publisher' (never indicated) was always the
Page counts don't
really mean much when it comes to C&U books because they
were actually seen as demonstration books. They opened in
multiple directions with pages and segments that were
intended to fold over on themselves to show a customer all
the many color & upholstery options that were available.
To understand a C&U book you need to
understand how dealers worked in the '40s to the '60s. At
that time, small dealers were the norm. Most dealers only
ever had a maximum of maybe 10 vehicles on their lot,
divided by trucks, cars, 2-doors and wagons and it was
unlikely they had the exact car you wanted on the lot. Your
new car would need to be ordered. But in what colors?
For 1956 Lincoln offered 14 DIFFERENT
combinations of interiors (all leather) for just their
convertible!! Closed Lincolns came in all cloth, cloth and
leather and all leather. Many times each type of fabric had
it own shade. (and different textures of course). Then when
considering exterior colors Lincoln offered TWO different
'corals' and TWO different 'purples/violets'!!!
To ensure that the customer received the
exact car they desired, the C&U book had samples of EACH
fabric in each color (cut from actual samples) and samples
of EACH color. To help visualize how a real car might look
in that shade, a C&U book has little transparent pictures of
each type of car that can be laid over the color chip and
the little car becomes that color! (Pretty neat actually).
There are transparencies and mechanisms that can be used to
create/simulate tu-tones and even the TRI-tone combinations
that were offered on some makes in the '50s & '60s.
C&U books were PURCHASED by the dealers
from the manufactures for hefty charges so they generally
bought only one. Then after the model year the book was
obsolete and was to be discarded. Because of their design
and use of actual fabric samples they are heavy and bulky
and difficult to save, so most all were discarded. Between
1965 and 1978(?) Ford used the same binder and dealers had
to only purchase the pages (cheaper for them), but loose
pages are impossible to save so they certainly went into the
garbage. (However, I do have some page sets that survived
because they are in the shipping BOX for the next years'
C&U books are impossible to reproduce.
Because of the need to have color chips and actual fabric
samples only surviving originals exist. As you can guess
they can get expensive to buy. '57-'58
Chevrolet/Buick/Pontiac books trade in the $500 range. The
only '56 Lincoln book I ever say sold on E-bay for $850 and
there is a 1950 Mercury C&U book on E-bay now for $1800! (It
is a dealer and he has not sold it for that, but it is the
only '50 Merc book I have ever seen.)
The color and upholstery selections that
were available on trucks were not as critical as cars until
the Bumpside years, when the Ranger and other packages began
to make trucks more car-like, so the fact that you could or
could not order some colors together would be of interest to
Pictured below is a complete C&U
book so that you can see how it works.
On the car pages there is an actual swatch
of EACH color and type of fabric. On the truck page there is
one actual swatch; the other samples are just pictures of
the upholstery material (they apparently didn't think truck buyers
needed an actual sample of each).
04, on the right is the color page opened to
the truck samples. For trucks all the samples were on just
one page. Automobile samples were large individual 'chips'.
FYI, when you see the scans of the pages themselves in the
Factory Literature Library (links at bottom of the page), you notice the book lists
the appropriate codes to order a truck in "prime". Unpainted Primer
would have been a finish available only on trucks.